16th Black Nights Film Festival

Estonia, November 12 - November 28 2012

The jury

Janusz Gazda (Poland), Martin Oja (Estonia), Dieter Wieczorek (France)

Awarded films

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia and the city, hosting the Black Nights’ Film Festival, has a kind of Nordic Magic in its aura, especially on these darkest days of the year. It’s the end of November, just before the first snow, which usually comes right after the festival and brings again some brightness to the streets. It is however the light of films that can always act as an heartwarming and lifegiving force, offering a safe haven for moveigoers. These escapees into the imaginary, who maybe also take heed of the lonely call of the Wolf, the symbol of the festival, could be compared to moths, attracted by candlelight. Nowadays, real wolves have left the city for the Estonian woodland, but the Wolf of the Unconciousness with his touch of Darkness, is still lurking around. Spending some cosy time in the cinema during these bleak days can bring forth the meaningful contrast between the cultural borderlines of being outside and being inside, of being alone or together with others…

The Program of  Black Nights’ Film Festival has been growning with every new festival edition, reaching 270 feature films this year (2012). This figure also includes the parallel festival programs: Just Film for younger audiences and Animated Dreams for animation buffs. This year’s POFF (the Festival acronym in Estonian) celebrates its bold and beautiful ‘sweet sixteen.’

The FIPRESCI Jury, consisting of Janusz Gazda (Poland), Dieter Wieczorek (Germany / France) and Martin Oja (Estonia), saw 13 feature films from Tridens Herring Competition Program. This program has been introduced for the first time this year, in lieu of the Baltic Competition Program from previous years. From now on, Tridens Herring will present a selection of debute features (director’s first or second film) from Nordic and Baltic countries.

Ultimately, our Jury focused on three intriguing films, rising above the average level. The first two were the Polish drama Loving by Slawomir Fabicki told a strong and captivating story of a love triangle in the tradition of Kieslowski, and the German Oh Boy by Jan Ole Gerstner — an youthfully energetic, yet experienced artwork, punctuated with comic and sad moments, intertwined into a whole that is larger than its parts. It was however the third film, the Russian Daughter (Aleksandr Kasatkin, Natalya Nazarova) that was honoured with the FIPRESCI prize, which acknowledged its multidimensional treatment of real-life issues — religious extremism, clash of value systems, violence in closed societies — convincingly brought to life thanks to touching acting. (Martin Oja)

Black Nights Film Festival: www.poff.ee