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Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival: November 2017

Most curious film festival in the ranks of A-list festivals around the globe

6 min read

Why should you visit Tallinn at the end of November, at the darkest time of the year when there’s only six hours of light? Because that’s when filmmakers and fans from around the world gather for the Black Nights Film Festival aka PÖFF and make Tallinn one of the most vibrant and ‘coolest’ places to be.

PÖFF is one of the largest film festivals in Northern Europe, attracting an attendance of 80 000 and 1000 film professionals and press from all around the world in 2016. It is a cinephile’s dream, screening an extensive and diverse selection of world cinema at various locations in Tallinn and Tartu. The colorful events programme turns cinemas, bars, restaurants and nightclubs into buzzing celebrations of culture and entertainment.

Animated Dreams

Animated Dreams 

“Tallinn Black Nights is fairy-tale festival with a start-up vibe” – Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter

Introducing the very best of world cinema

What does Tallinn have in common with cities like Tokyo, Moscow, Shanghai and San Sebastian? They all host an internationally acknowledged competitive film festival. Since 2014 PÖFF has shared the honor of being a non-specialised competitive feature film festival with14 other festivals around the world, including the big three Cannes’, Berlin and Venice. It gives the festival a privilege to organise international competition programmes that include exciting world and international premieres, and give talented filmmakers the opportunity to introduce themselves and their work to audiences in person.


Sleepwalkers  © Marko Kivimäe

The 2017 programme includes:

  • Official selection, 12-15 exciting world or international premieres from all over the world, from which the international jury chooses the winner of the Grand Prix and other awards.
  • First Feature Competition, 12-15 world or international premieres by talented debuting filmmakers who’s next film you will be dying to see. Also evaluated by an international jury.
  • Estonian Film Competition – showcasing the best of current Estonian cinema.
  • Several non-copetitive programmes such as Panorama and Forum with more than 100 films which introduce new discoveries and a colorful selection of the best picks from other film festivals.
  • Midnight Shivers – a feast for all horror, fantasy and genre buffs.
  • Doc@PÖFF – exploring the hot topics of the world.
  • Fashion Cinema – all the latest gossip and the inspiration from the world’s catwalks and streets.
  • A special programme introducing the film culture of the country/region of focus this year – Flanders.

And much more…

Tartuff 2016

Tartuff 2016 

Exploring the variety of film: the three sub-festivals

The three independent sub-festivals which all take place during the main festival, explore the many faces of cinema, adding around 400 short films, animations, as well as youth and children’s cinema to the mix.

Animation Film Festival Animated Dreams (20-24 November)  presents the inspiring and mind-bending world of animated films, while also introducing the works of talented Estonian animators.

Don’t miss out on:

  • Cineconcerts, exhibitions, lectures.
  • Tours to legendary Estonian studios.
  • Parties with the lively animation community.
  • Several competition programmes and retrospectives and the unique SHUT UP! programme for animations without any dialogue or voice-over.
Industry@Tallinn Storytek

Industry@Tallinn Storytek 

As a reflection of the PÖFF itself, the Children’s and Youth Film Festival Just Film (17 – 26 November) offers almost exactly the same, only to younger audiences.

As one of the biggest of its kind in Northern Europe, Just Film has it all:

  • An international youth competition programme with a youth and children’s jury
  • Child rights’ programme with a notable education sidebar
  • An exciting and extensive documentary showcase that ranges from extreme sports to science
  • Special screenings in cool locations such as the Tallinn zoo
  • Parties, dance shows and much more.


International Short Film Festival Sleepwalkers (17 – 21 November) offers a selection of the best Live Action, Experimental and Documentary short films from across the world. Instead of a regular cinema screening where you get one story, a Sleepwalkers screening offers you four, each about the same length as an average human dream, making it a uniquely intense experience.

The festival highlights include:

  • 4 diverse competition programmes
  • The legendary and always surprising Night Cinema
  • Special screenings in cool locations across the city, such as the pop-up cafe cinema in the hip Telliskivi Creative Quarter.

Connecting talent and shaping the future: Industry@Tallinn

Industry@Tallinn is one of the best kept secrets in the Estonian conference sphere. It serves as a gateway for global audiovisual industries in to the Baltic, Nordic and CIS region as well as being the event where the audiovisual industry meets new technology, gaming and venture capital.

The hottest topics of 2017 are the following:

  • Industry@Tallinn has been chosen to host the Estonian EU Presidency audiovisual, media and film visionary conference on 27-28 November in Tallinn bringing executive-level decision makers of EU to Tallinn.
  • Storytek Forum and IP accelerator mapping the future business and creative industry strategies.
  • Co-production markets and several works in progress showcases
  • A 48-hour hacakathon to create game prototypes based on films.

The city wholeheartedly embraces the festival. I was thrilled to meet with some really inspiring filmmakers, producers, musicians and entrepreneurs. – Jarod Neece, SXSW

Just Film - Edge of Seventeen Premiere

Just Film – Edge of Seventeen Premiere 

PÖFF during the year

PÖFF’s team also organises two other film events with a niche selection. The Haapsalu Horror & Fantasy Film Festival which will take place between the 28th and 30th of April and focuses on the best films from the darker side of cinema. Fantasy and horror, modern shockers and forgotten classics, filmmaker and country retrospectives, and celebrated guests – it all happens in the unique setting of Haapsalu, a picturesque seaside town in Western Estonia.

For six sunny days in the summer, 7th -12th of August, the Town Hall Square in Tartu is turned into the biggest open-air cinema in the Baltic, with more than 1600 seats and huge screen showing new films and classics, all exploring the topic of love. The magic begins at sunset. It’s called TARTUFF – Tartu Love Film Festival.

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