Tallinn Black Nights Festival Unveils First Features Competition Lineup

The White King - Still 1 - H 2016
Courtesy of Edinburgh International Film Festival

The first features competition of debut directors includes films from 13 countries.

The Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival on Friday unveiled the first of its two official competition lineups, announcing the 13 titles that will make up this year's first features program.

The slate includes five world premieres, including Stefano Amatucci's Caina, a drama set in a dystopian near-future where the bodies of dead refugees washing up on European shores has become a major industrial waste-disposal problem for the locals.

Also marking their debut in Tallinn will be: Hadi Ghandour's The Traveller, the story of a happily married traveling salesman who begins to question his values, and his loyalty to his wife, while on a business trip to Paris; Austrian first-timer Tereza Kotyk's Home Is Here, a drama about a daughter of immigrants who begins to secretly visit a wealthy home, where she rearranges the owner's prized possessions; Kira Kovalenka's experimental Sofichka, the story of a woman in the Abhkasian region on the Black Sea whose life is caught up in the political whirlwind of history; and Navid Danesh's Duet, a drama about a divorced Iranian couple whose chance meeting in a bookshop sets off a wave of memories and emotions.

“We weren’t looking for flawless direction, rather a unique cinematographic vision, someone who makes you feel that you will definitely want to see her/his next film as well,” said Tallinn festival director Tiina Lokk, commenting on this year's selections. “What we have on our hands is an extremely satisfying mix of original stories presenting a wide range of genres, from very strong drama to sci-fi to crime thriller to — my big surprise — action.”

Action is part of the lineup in the form of Holy Biker, the directorial debut of Brazilian filmmaker Homero Olivetto, described as a mash-up of Mad Max, 1960s B-movies and Alejandro Jodorowsky's cult 1970 Western El Topo. Other genre efforts include The Red Captain from Slovak producer-turned-director Michal Kollar, a crime thriller set in Bratislava, Slovakia, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent break-up of Czechoslovakia; and The White King from directors Alex Helfrecht and Jorg Tittel, an English-language adaptation of the dystopian sci-fi novel from Hungarian writer Gyorgy Dragoman.

Also in the first features competition lineup this year are Chilean drama The Cockroach from directors Francisco Hevia and Vinko Tomicic; Augusto Sandino's Colombian feature Gentle Breath; Paris La Blanche from helmer Lidia Terki; and Wedding Dance, a drama about the clash between the modern world and tradition in contemporary Turkey from director Cigdem Sezgin.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Michal Kollar as a Czech, not Slovak, director.