PÖFF announces first 4 premieres

Take a look on the teaser selection for the 2023 Official Selection Competition programme!

The sneak preview includes new works from Ukraine, Netherlands, Belgium and Mexico. According to Festival Director Tiina Lokk, all four films deal with highly topical and relevant issues that affect and connect us all here and now. "A sharp social perspective will also characterise the rest of the main competition programme, which will provide a cross-section of today's major issues. I believe we have put together a very strong and interesting programme of auteur films of which we can be proud," she said.


Oxygen Station | World premiere

Ivan Tymchenko's second feature is a multi-layered poetic drama based on the life of Mustafa Jemilev, Soviet dissident, human rights activist and leader of Crimean Tatar nation. The events take place in the summer of 1980, when Jemilev serves a four-year exile in the settlement Zyryanka, north-eastern Siberia. He works at the oxygen station - a place symbolizing the total lack of oxygen in the USSR. According to Tymchenko, the film is an inspiring story for contemporary audiences since it reminds us of the inhumane regime that the Russian-Soviet terrorist organization was and still is.

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Oxygen Station. Photo: film still

Amal | International premiere

Jawad Rhalib's social drama Amal tells a story of a teacher in a Brussels school who encourages her pupils to cultivate a love of reading and freedom of expression, even if it means putting herself in danger. Her daring teaching practices will change her pupils. The Belgian-Moroccon filmmaker's fiction features and documentaries have tackled themes of human rights and social realism, and have been screened at numerous international film festivals. In 2020, his documentary Fadma: Even Ants Have Wings won Amnesty International Human Rights Award at Durban Film Festival in South Africa.


Amal. Photo: film still

The Man from Rome | International premiere

The film unfolds a story of skeptical priest Filippo who is sent to the Dutch border community to investigate a supposed miracle. As he gets closer to a resolution of the case, he also gets entangled in a series of apparently miraculous events, bringing down his certainties about his calling as a priest and as human being. Jaap van Heusden has been writing and directing films that resonate the great themes of our time (immigration, mental health and the implosion of the great institutions) by telling deeply personal stories. His films have competed at Tribeca, Cannes, AFI Fest, Rome, IDFA, SXSW, Melbourne, Tehran, Rotterdam.


The Man From Rome. Photo: film still

Bad Actor | World premiere

Jorge Cuchi's nuanced, incisive and thrilling drama is set in the post #MeToo era that is all about consent, and a search for truth and justice in a case of sexual assault. On a film shoot, actress Sandra Navarro accuses actor Daniel Zavala of abusing her during a sex scene. Daniel proclaims his innocence, Sandra decides to press charges, while the production tries to prevent the incident from turning into a scandal. Cuchí's debute 50 or Two Whales Meet on the Beach premiered at the 35th Venice Film Critic’s Week and scooped several awards thereafter. This includes Just Film Youth Jury Best Film Award at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in 2020.

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Bad Actor. Photo: film still


Oxygen Station, 2023, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Sweden, Slovakia, director: Ivan Tymchenko. World premiere

Amal, 2023, Belgium, director: Jawad Rhalib. International premiere.

The Man from Rome, 2023, Netherlands, Germany, director: Jaap van Heusden. International premiere.

Bad Actor, 2023, Mexico, director: Jorge Cuchi. World premiere

The 27th edition of Tallinn Black Nights will continue with 5 competition lines: Official Selection, First Features, Baltic Competition, Rebels with a Cause and Critics’ Picks. This year’s Baltic Competition will screen fiction films and documentaries, considering also Baltic co-productions. Rebels and Critics' Picks competitions will continue to represent their respective niches - experimental works and arthouse approaches.

The festival will take place from the 3th until the 19th of November, while the festival’s industry platform Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event will run from 13th until the 17th of November.
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival with Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event and with the two sub-festivals, Just Film and PÖFF Shorts, has grown into one of the biggest film festivals in Northern Europe and the busiest regional industry platforms. The festival is an important meeting point for a rapidly growing number of industry professionals from around the globe.


Press materials for the announced 4 films can be found HERE.


International communication: Eliisa Pass - eliisa.pass@poff.ee
Estonian communication: Tiit Tuumalu - tiit.tuumalu@poff.ee