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Informative plattform of International Federation of Film Societies- Féderation Internationalle des Ciné-clubs- Federación Internacional de Cine Clubes

18th PÖFF – Pimedate Ööde Filmfestival, Black Nights Film Festival

visitestoniaTallinn, 14 to 30 November 2014

PÖFF is an explorer festival, which was organically, slowly built to become a large-format festival. This year’s, i.e. the 18th PÖFF was a “non-specialized competitive festival” with the permission of FIAPF. As the 15th member of the elite league of the A category film festivals, PÖFF is the youngest one and had the smallest budget as well. Festival director Tiina Lokk emphasized they would leave the glamour for the big ones, PÖFF will focus on the filmmakers and the quality of the films.

The competition programs involved films of all genres from slow, micro-realist films to Hollywoodian superproductions on a high level of quality. The Wolf award was given for the first time; the international jury led by Kati Outinen awarded it to Lucifer by Gus Van Den Berghe. The Belgian director turned his special kind of vision with amateur actors of a Mexican village, showing a really original and interesting acoustic world.

risttuulesThe International Federation of Film Societies (IFFS-FICC) jury – along with the international and the FIPRESCI ones – chose the Don Quixote award-winning film from the international competition films. The jury composed of Raivo Raam (Estonia), Odd Vaagland (Norway) and Rita Boronyák (Hungary) awarded In the Crosswind (Risttuules), Martti Helde’s first feature film. “The film exposes a new way of making a movie on a topic that caused so much pain to a nation. The dignity and hope exposed in the text are deeply moving and the film offers help to heal the wounds of history,” was the justification of our decision. In the night of 14 June 1941, more than forty thousand Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, so called “anti-Soviet elements” were deported to Siberia. The story is based on an abducted young woman’s diary. In Estonia, every family was affected by the “June deportation” in some way. In the Crosswind was also awarded the grand prize of Tridens Estonian Film Festival and the prize for the best director of photography (Erik Põllumaa). Estonian citizens are deeply committed to the independence of their State and the protection of their national language. They are proud of their government composed of very young politicians, but at the same time they criticize them really hard, too. They do not like the name “Baltic States” because it reminds them of the Soviet regime. At the same time, they form their everyday and cultural life in the spirit of the collaboration, of the Baltic Chain of Freedom of 1989. The Estonians do not throw away anything from their past that has a value.

In that spirit, this year, the Polish film industry was in the focus of the PÖFF, and Zanussi’s world-famous actress Maja Komorowska received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Next year, Georgia’s filmmaking will be in the spotlight. The festival is an excellent forum of both the Estonian and the world’s filmmaking. The contemporary Estonian films are excellent, despite of the fact or precisely because only 3–6 films are made each year. Knowing well PÖFF’s films should be very useful for the film club organizers because the festival screens and awards admirable and important opuses which counterbalance the commercial mainstream.

Tallinn is an ideal festival venue, the Estonians are good organizers and very friendly hosts. The European values are always kept in mind and the government highly supports education and culture, following the example of Finland. The results can be seen in the air of the streets, in the ubiquitous civilized manners of everyday life. Since 2014, this small country of 1.3 million people has a Class A film festival, too. The festival’s dedicated team of volunteers is composed of students, lawyers, busy IT managers, tour guides (all professions are personal experience). They take days off for the duration of the festival – more than two weeks! – and spend 18–20 hours a day there working, helping. As they say, they are expecting the event that fill them with life, they adore the films and all these unknown people.

Rita Boronyák

– Jury pictures here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/44530972@N04/15880530251/lightbox/

– Festival photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/poffihunt/sets/

– Festival report on website mandarchiv.hu:

http://mandarchiv.hu/cikk/3531/Szuksegbol_erenyt__Tallini_fesztivalbeszamolo

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