Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

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Black Nights Film Festival
LocationTallinn, Estonia
Founded byTiina Lokk-Tramberg
AwardsGolden Wolf/ Wolf
DirectorsTiina Lokk-Tramberg
No. of films528 films from 73 countries (2023)[1]

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, or PÖFF (Estonian: Pimedate Ööde Filmifestival), is an annual film festival held since 1997 in Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. PÖFF is one of the largest film festivals in Northern Europe. In 2014 it was upgraded to an A-list festival by FIAPF.[2]

PÖFF includes two sub-festivals that take part concurrently with the main program: Children’s and Youth Film Festival Just Film, and PÖFF Shorts. Running concurrently with the festival is Industry@Tallinn and the Baltic Event Co-Production Market, the biggest audiovisual industry meeting in the region.

PÖFF also manages two off-season events: the Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival taking place every April and Tartu Love Film Festival tARTuFF, taking place in August.


Starting in 1997 with 4,500 attendances, PÖFF was originally primarily a showcase for Nordic films. By the FIAPF classification, it was a Eurasian festival and didn’t have the right to put together competitions without any borders, neither geographical nor by topic.[3][4][5]

As a result of its rapid growth, PÖFF was recognized by FIAPF in 2011 and upgraded to an A-list festival in 2014 by FIAPF, making it the first festival in Northern Europe to gain a Competitive Feature Film Festival accreditation, joining only 14 other major world festivals including Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Karlovy Vary, Warsaw, and San Sebastian.[6][4][7]

Today PÖFF is the largest film gathering in Northern Europe. During its 19th edition in 2015, the festival screened more than 600 films (including 250+ feature-length films from 80 countries), bringing over 900 screenings to an audience of over 80,000 people, including over 700 accredited guests and journalists from 50 countries. In 2010 the festival hosted the European Film Awards ceremony in Tallinn, and in 2015 the European Film Forum conference was held in co-operation with the European Commission.[5]

Every year, the Black Nights Film Festival employs more than 300 volunteers. They help with ticket sales, checking tickets, escort of delegations, work at information desks, etc.[8]

Some notable filmmakers, actors, and industry professionals who have visited PÖFF include Aki Kaurismäki, Krzysztof Zanussi, Olga Kurylenko, Sergei Loznitsa, Lee Joon-ik, Jos Stelling, Jan Troell, Catherine Breillat, Roy Andersson, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Neil Jordan, Philip Glass, Lukas Moodysson, Michael Nyman, Jerzy Stuhr, Tom Schilling, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Isaach de Bankole, Pavel Lungin, Fiona Shaw, Ross Partridge, and Mikael Persbrandt, along with many others.


Industry@Tallinn consists of the International Sales and Distributors Meeting Point; the European Genre Forum, a creative camp for genre professionals promoting project and skills development; and two works in progress panels, the presentations of regional upcoming films from Baltic, Finnish and old CIS countries, and international screenings ranging from Asia to Latin America. For 2017 the festival has teamed up with the Culture Ministry of Estonia to co-host and co-curate the Estonia’s European Union Presidency Conference Pictured Futures: Connecting Content, Tech & Policy In Audiovisual Europe.[5]

In addition, two sub-festivals take part concurrently with the main program: Children’s and Youth Film Festival Just Film, and PÖFF Shorts, dedicated to short films and animations. BNFF also organises two smaller off-season events: the only genre film event in the Baltic countries Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival taking place in April every year and Tartu Love Film Festival tARTuFF, taking place in August.[5]

The festival, its sub-festivals and the audiovisual industry platform Industry@Tallinn hosted around 1200 film professionals and journalists in 2018.


Tallinn Black Nights' industry program, consisting of the Industry@Tallinn industry summit and the Baltic Event Regional Co-Production Film Market, is a platform aiming to connect filmmakers and their projects with producers and sales agents.[9]

Just Film[edit]

Just Film – Youth and Children's Film Festival. Official website Just Film is the largest children's and youth film festival in the region. The festival includes a youth and a children's programme, an international youth film competition programme as well as ECFA competition programme, a children's rights programme, and two programmes of documentaries - one about lifestyle and sports (Doc@Just) and the other about science (Science360). The festival is truly designed for its young audiences; the best films are selected by juries of local youth, and the festival blog is filled by young film critics posting their daily reviews of films.

PÖFF Shorts[edit]

PÖFF Shorts is a shorts and animation film festival that includes several competition programs judged by international juries.


Official Selection[edit]

  • Grand Prix for the Best Film
  • Jury prize for Best Director
  • Jury Prize for Best Script
  • Jury Prize for Best Actress
  • Jury Price for Best Actor
  • Jury Prize for Best Cinematographer
  • Jury Prize for Best Music
  • Award by the jury of International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI)
  • Cross Religion award presented by spiritual leaders of largest congregations in Estonia

The First Feature Competition[edit]

Year Film Original Title Director(s) Nationality of Director
2016 Holy Biker Reza a Lenda Homero Olivetto Brazil
2017 The Marriage Martesa Blerta Zeqiri Kosovo
2018 Head Above Water Marche ou crève Margaux Bonhomme Norway
2019 Stories from the Chestnut Woods Zgodbe iz kostanjevih gozdov Gregor Božič Slovenia
2020 Great Happiness Ji le dian Yi-ao Wang China
2021 Other Cannibals Altri Canniballi Francesco Sossai Germany
2022 The Land Within The Land Within Fisnik Maxville Switzerland, Kosovo
2023 The Moon Is Upside Down The Moon Is Upside Down Loren Taylor New Zealand

The Baltic Film Competition[edit]

  • Best Baltic Film
Year Film Original Title Director(s) Nationality of Director
2022 Poetas The Poet Giedrius Tamosevicius and Vytautas V. Landsbergis Lithuania
2023 Smoke Sauna Sisterhood Smoke Sauna Sisterhood Anna Hints Estonia

Additional Awards for Feature-Length Films[edit]

  • Audience Award
  • Rebel with a Cause Award
  • Award for Best Asian film by the jury of Network for the Promotion of
  • Asian Cinema (NETPAC)
  • Bruno O’ya Award
  • Lifetime Achievement Award

Grand Prix winners[edit]

Year Film Original Title Director(s) Nationality of Director
2004 Shiza Shiza / Шиза Gulshat Omarova Kazakhstan
2005 Shanghai Dreams Qīng hóng / 青紅 Wang Xiaoshuai China
2006 Dark Blue Almost Black Azuloscurocasinegro Daniel Sánchez Arévalo Spain
2007 Takva: A Man's Fear of God Takva Özer Kızıltan Turkey
2008 Hunger Steve McQueen United Kingdom
2009 Ajami Ajami / عجمي / עג'מי Scandar Copti Israel
Yaron Shani
2010 My Joy Schastye moyo / Счастье моё Sergei Loznitsa Ukraine
2011 A Simple Life Táo Jiě / 桃姐 Ann Hui Hong Kong
2012 House with a Turret Dom s bashenkoy / Дом с башенкой Eva Neymann Ukraine
2013 The Great Beauty La grande bellezza Paolo Sorrentino Italy
2014 Lucifer Gust Van den Berghe Belgium
2015 The Throne Sado / 사도 Lee Joon-ik South Korea
2016 A Quiet Heart Lev shaket / לב שקט מאוד Eitan Anner Israel
2017 Night Accident Tunku Kyrsyk Temirbek Birnazarov Kyrgyzstan
2018 Wandering Girl Niña Errante Rubén Mendoza Colombia
2019 Kontora コントラ Anshul Chauhan Japan
2020 Fear Страх Ivaylo Hristov Bulgaria
2021 Dear Thomas Lieber Thomas Andreas Kleinert Germany
2022 Driving Mum Á Ferð með Mömmu Hilmar Oddsson Iceland
2023 Misericordia Misericordia Emma Dante Italy


23 (2019)[edit]

The 23rd edition went from 5 November to 1 December 2019.

  • Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival main program, 15 November - 1 December 2019
  • PÖFF Shorts, 19–27 November 2019
  • Children and Youth Film Festival, Just Film, 15 November - 1 December 2019
  • Industry@Tallinn, 25–29 November 2019


  1. ^ "Full 2023 program announced for Estonia's Black Nights Film Festival". 27 October 2023.
  2. ^ "Accredited Festivals". Fiapf. 2024-02-09. Retrieved 2024-02-10.
  3. ^ "Tiina Lokk-Tramberg: "We have always tried to keep the interests of the films and the filmmakers above our own"". Barcelona Film Commission. 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2024-01-24.
  4. ^ a b Fox, Jennifer (2023-11-02). "The Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival brings delightful evenings in November". Estonian World. Retrieved 2024-01-24.
  5. ^ a b c d "Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary". Film New Europe. 2016-10-10. Retrieved 2024-01-24.
  6. ^ "International Federation of Film Producers Association homepage". Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) announces the full line-up of the Official Selection Competition". Film New Europe. 2023-10-13. Retrieved 2024-01-24.
  8. ^ https://poff.ee/ru/artikl/pof-fi-article-19/ https://2019shorts.poff.ee/uudised/tule-poffile-vabatahtlikuks
  9. ^ Economou, Vassilis (2022-11-08). "Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event reveals its Works in Progress projects". Cineuropa. Retrieved 2024-01-24.

External links[edit]