Tallinn Black Nights launches a new side-festival in Eastern Estonia

Taking place in two cities – Narva and Kohtla-Järve – in the prominently Russian-speaking region Ida-Virumaa in Eastern Estonia, the new festival KinoFF will hold special focus on Russian cinema.

According to the head of the festival Darja Saar, the programme will consist of around 20 films and the festival will invite some of the filmmakers to present their films in person. The programme, curated by the programmers at the Black Nights Film Festival, is currently under consideration.

From the 15th until the 17th, taking place during the first weekend of the Black Nights film festival KinoFF holds screenings in the Apollo cinema of Narva, the third-largest city in Estonia by population. Narva is situated on the eastern border with Russia, thus marking the eastern border of the European Union with Russia.

For the period from the 22nd until the 24th of November, during the second weekend of Black Nights, KinoFF moves to Kohtla-Järve, the fifth largest city in Estonia and the historic centre of the country’s controversial oil shale mining industry – the central source of energy for the country.

Ida-Virumaa has seen the launch of several initiatives to boost film production: in 2013 the county launched Estonia’s first cash rebate initiative, the Viru Film Fund and a few years ago OBJEKT startup business incubator opens its doors, currently also offering studio facilities for post-production services.

The city Narva is also currently seeking to become the Culture Capital of the European Union in 2024, KinoFF being part of the programme.

Jana Pavlenkova, the Narva 2024 organisation committee member expressed high hopes for the region’s future when it comes to film: “Being located halfway from Tallinn to Saint Petersburg, Narva has the potential an ideal location for Russian and European cooperation. We hope that it will be one of the most attractive filming locations for international coproductions Estonia has to offer in the future.’ She went on to add: ‘KinoFF will be an ideal way to involve the local film audiences into achieving these aspirations.’

According to the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival director Tiina Lokk, the festival hasn’t been able to screen films in the region after becoming an A-category film festival in 2014, to comply with the rules of the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (aka FIAPF). ‘We’ve been asked several times why we stopped screening there. This inspired us to launch a side-festival that is not officially part of the Black Nights programme, enabling the people of Ida-Virumaa to see films that don’t reach the cinematic distribution in the area,’ she added.

KinoFF is organized by the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and the Russian branch of the news portal Delfi. The festival is funded by the cities of Narva and Kohtla-JärveApollo Kino being the major cinema partner.

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