Friday, 06 November 2020 19:00
Estonian Life No. 44 2020 - Vincent Teetsov
The shadow of the coming winter has already swiped its cold hand through the month of November with the first snowfall in Toronto. In the Northern Hemisphere, it's becoming rapidly darker and gloomier. As always, this prompts people to engage in more indoor activities, and this ultimately leads to watching more films. It's a time to be especially introspective and appreciate what people have made throughout the year.
In the spirit of this time, when the sun makes itself scarce, Estonia's most prestigious film festival is named Pimedate Ööde Filmifestival
(Black Nights Film Festival).
PÖFF was founded in 1997 and started out by showing mostly films from northern Europe. Soon, the festival expanded its global range of films shown, through which it has become one of the most recognizable events in the film world of northern Europe. The festival is also run alongside Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event, a massive film and audio-visual industry summit and trade fair, which takes place towards the tail end of the festival. The summit is accessible this year through paid online programming (https://industry.poff.ee/accreditation-2-2/
Since 2011, PÖFF has stood out with 13 other competitive international film festivals that are recognized by the Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films
(International Federation of Film Producers Associations), or the FIAPF. Among these 14 festivals are the Berlinale, Venice International Film Festival, and Cannes Film Festival. PÖFF has also been recognized by FIAPF as an A-list festival since 2014.
This year, for the 24th edition of PÖFF, the festival has placed an emphasis on “New German Cinema.” 12 German movies were selected for this focus, including Und morgen die ganze Welt
(“And Tomorrow the Entire World”) by director Julia von Heinz. The film is a contemporary depiction of a young woman who is swept up in fervent activism and the violence between Antifa and neo-Nazis.
PÖFF also has a dedicated Baltic Competition, with 14 Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian films. Tiina Lokk-Tramberg, the Festival Director of PÖFF, describes this segment as “an exciting and exhaustive cultural and cinematic overview of what the latest of the cinema of three Baltic countries has to offer” that mixes “festival hits with fresh finds.” One Estonian movie being shown is Manfred Vainokivi's Mephistopheles
, a documentary about the famous (and controversial, as indicated by PÖFF) Estonian art historian and critic Linnar Priimägi.
Another film to look out for is Viesturs Kairišs' historical drama Pilsēta pie upes
(literally “City on the River”, presented in the festival as Sign Painter
), about a man who paints and repaints signs amidst the eras before, during, and after the Second World War in Latvia. It's a story that examines if and how love and people shift through tumultuous changes of power.
The festival's opening ceremony will take place on November 12th at Coca Cola Plaza in central Tallinn, while screenings will take place at venues across Tartu, Ida-Virumaa, and Tallinn until Sunday November 29th.
While most of our readers won't be in attendance in person, it's interesting to see what filmmakers have been creating recently and what is showcased in what has been a very challenging year for the arts. We can certainly look out for these films in the future as they become more publicly available.
Written by Vincent Teetsov