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The First Feature Competition programme tickets are on sale!
25.10.2018
PÖFF

Representing 19 countries in 5 continents, offering a variety of genres and stories that come in the form an Ukrainian eastern, a Kyrgyz musical epic, a Basque drama thriller depicting a historical bloodbath of 1976, a romantic Hindu road movie or a Moroccan dystopian science fiction... It's safe to say the First Feature Competition of the 22nd Black Nights FF offers something enough to discover for most cinematic tastes!

Entering its fourth year, this programme was created to find and support talented filmmakers that are making their first big step as directors. We are on the lookout of both, artistic braveness but also the desire and courage to shed light on the world we live in from a fresh angle. These are filmmakers who’s next film you’ll be dying to see.

The First Feature Competition jury that will announced in November, will hand out three awards: Best Film and two Special Jury Prizes given to two films the jury decides to highlight for outstanding artistic achievements in a particular field. Past winners of the First Feature Competition’s Best Film award are a Thousand Kinds of Rain (director Isabel Prahl, 2017, Germany), Duet (director Navid Danesh, 2016, Iran) and Delivery (director Martin Meija Rugeles, 2015, Colombia).

FILMS IN COMPETITIONA March to Remember (Spain)























International Premiere

Spanish director Victor Cabaco introduces A March to Remember, a thriller set in tranquil provincial capital in Basque country in 1976, where a workers’ strike suddenly escalated into a bloody conflict with police forces. The story ollows a radio journalist and his politically active daughter, who becomes the prime suspect as the instigator of the riots.

Víctor Cabaco has worked as an assistant director on numerous short films, as well as on the full-length features Sabotage (1999) and Ouija (2003).

Read more and buy tickets here!

As I Fall (Norway)















International Premiere

Inspired by the director’s personal experiences, As I Fall is the feature debut of Magnus Meyer Arnesen. The story follows a young heroin addict on his way to the bottom, when he’s suddenly reconnected with his eight-year-old son, giving him a new purpose in life.

Arnesen has travelled to festivals and won awards with his short film Sing me to Sleep. As I fall was shot by Estonian DOP Ivar Taim who won the Best Cinematography award last year in the Official Selection of Black Nights with The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow.

Read more and buy tickets here!

Catharsys or the Afina Tales of the Lost World (Morocco)














World Premiere

Shot in eight countries and six languages, the Morocco-Italy-Serbia co-production, directed by Yassine Marco Marroccu, is an allegorical sci fi story set in a dystopian world, mirroring true historical events and political situations such as the 9/11 terrorist attack aftermath, global climate change, etc.

Maroccu’s first short film Gnawas was invited to several international film festivals, for his short film Entropya he received the grand prix at Algiers Short Festival in 2013, among other prizes.

Read more and buy tickets here!

Cronofobia (Switzerland)



















International Premiere

Switzerland is represented by Cronofobia, directed by Francesco Rizzi, an engaging psychological drama about alienation and impossible love. The story follows a man with a suspended identity, trying to connect with a woman who is struggling with a complicated form of grief.

The film stars Vinicio Marchioni (20 Cigarettes) and Sabine Timoteo (Love, Money, Love; Chronicles of Melanie) who have won awards for acting at Venice IFF and Locarno IFF respectively.

Read more and buy tickets here!

Erased  (Slovenia-Croatia-Serbia)

















International Premiere

Director Miha Mazzini presentst he kafkaesque story sees a woman stuck in a machine of state bureaucracy, trying to fight for the rights of her newly born child and her own citizenship. The film is based on an actual historical situation in 1992, when the breakup of Yugoslavia drove the Slovenian state to revoke the citizenship of nearly 26 thousand people leaving them without any civic rights.

Read more and buy tickets here!

Head Above Water  (France)



















International Premiere

Set in a picturesque Frence small town in the Alps,  Head Above Water follows enthusiastic teenager Elisa, who is stranded living at her parents’ house after the sudden departure of her mother, a move that leaves Elisa and her father to take care of Elisa’s older sister, Manon, who has mental and physical disabilities.

Director Tatiana Margaux Bonhomme is a professional photographer and director whose short films have screened at festivals throughout Europe. The film stars Diane Rouxel (The Wild Boys) and Cedric Kahn, whose own film The Prayer won the Silver Bear at Berlinale this year.

Read more and buy tickets here!

Hello Arsi  (India)















International Premiere

Indian film Hello Arsi chronicles a day in the life of a young man and woman, strangers who have just met on a highway, sharing a car ride and a conversation that stretches on, as both of them hope to find something emotionally meaningful in the situation. It is a portrait of a society in flux, as the recent and rapid socioeconomic changes in India (and elsewhere) have changed the social networks, ways of human interaction and the meaning of home, threatening individuals with urban loneliness of epidemic proportions.

Hello Arsi is presented posthumously after the sudden, tragic demise of director Sambit Mohanty’s (1962-2017) last year, right after completing shooting. He was involved in the Film Society Movement and the co-founder of the Inscreen Film Society in Bhubaneswar.

Read more and buy tickets here!

Kejal (Iran)



















World premiere

Kejal
, the feature debut of the Iranian director and actor Nima Yar (Salehiyar), is a thrilling drama about a 26-year-old Kurdish woman taking on what is traditionally considered as a ‘man’s job’ in the smuggling community that operates on the dangerous Iraq-Iran border, fighting traditional gender norms of the region.

Read more and buy tickets here!

Lifeboat (Denmark)



















International Premiere

The Danish director Josefine Kirkeskov and her all-female film crew present the international premiere of the psychological drama, a story about a Danish couple facing emotional and moral dilemmas after picking up a Lebanese refugee while on their romantic sailing holiday near the island of Lesbos. Sofia Helin (The Bridge), Sverre Hagen (Kon-Tiki) and Sebnem Hassanisoughi (Wounded Love)  make wonderful roles as the three protagonists.

Read more and buy tickets here!

Lonesome Collectors (Mexico)



















International Premiere

Mexican director Axel Muñoz Barba studies themes of urban loneliness in Lonesome Collectors, a tale of a socially dysfunctional young man and a woman whose relationship begins as the man discovers that the woman shares his hobby to secretly enter people’s houses to steal their intimate belongings.

The director has made three short films and worked as a sound artist on dozen of films, winning an Ariel Award for Güreos (2014). Black Nights presents the international premiere, following the world premiere at Guanajuato IFF.

Read more and buy tickets here!

Lorik (Armenia)















International Premiere

Representing Armenia, Lorik is an eccentric portrait of a lonely, egocentric theatre actor, thrown into a fantastical series of events after hearing the news of the closure of his workplace. Unexpectedly, he finds himself plunged into the realities of people he knows: his drunkard neighbor, a shy and awkward young woman, a critically-ill girl - a process that starts to teach the cynical man the virtues of compassion and selflessness.

Director Alexey Zlobin has staged numerous theatre performances and worked as an actor on the screen. He has also worked as an assistant director for directors such as Aleksandr Sokurov and Sergey Bodrov.

Read more and buy tickets here!

Roads in February (Canada)



















International Premiere

Canadian director Katherine Jerkovic presents a story of a teenager, who, driven by childhood memories and the hope of a reencounter, visits her paternal grandmother in a village in Uruguay. She is soon faced with a struggle to reconcile her parents decision to leave decades ago with the bitterness that is stirred up in the old woman who never saw her son again.

The director’s short and experimental films have been presented in many venues and festivals, including Toronto Images Festival, Anthology Film Archives (NYC), Instants vidéo de Marseille, etc. The film arrives to Black Nights for its international premiere after screening at Toronto IFF.

Read more and buy tickets here!

Sasha Was Here (Lithuania-Finland)





















World Premiere

Sasha Was Here, directed by Ernestas Jankauskas, is set during the span of one day, telling the story of  a young couple spending time with a potential adoption child under circumstances they did not anticipate, putting their relationship and perceived values of parenthood and family to the test. This is first time Lithuania is represented with a majority co-production in this programme.

Read more and buy tickets here!

The Song of the Tree (Kyrgyzstan-Russia)


















European Premiere

Employing a visually rich, pseudo-historic take on the past of Kyrgyzstan while not forgetting the local traditions of folklore and storytelling, The Song of the Tree offers a musical epic and a romantic parable of a man whose family falls from grace after a tribal feud in a nomadic village.

Director and scriptwriter Aibek Daiyrbekov has previously shot several short films and TV series in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. The film has previously screened at Moscow IFF and Busan IFF.

Read more and buy tickets here!


The Wild Fields (Ukraine-Switzerland)

International Premiere

The Ukrainian-Swiss co-production is a stylised take on the eastern genre, set in the war-torn Donbass region. The 30-year-old Herman is forced to return from the city to take over his brother's gas station that the local mafia is interested in acquiring for their own business.

Director Yaroslav Lodygin’s short films have been extremely popular with web audiences and one of them, Drifter was screened at the Ukrainian Panorama at Berlinale in 2011.

Read more and buy tickets here!


Wasted Eggs (Japan)



















World Premiere

Japanese director Ryo Kawasaki presents the world premiere of Wasted Eggs, a witty, minimalist drama about the 30-year-old Junko who is considering becoming a ovum donor. At the registration briefing she is reunited with her lesbian nephew Aoi, who has similar plans. Moving in together, the two will experience, in their own way, the significance of being a non-birthing woman in the traditionally closed Japanese society.

Read more and buy tickets here!

Why Don’t You Just Die (Russia)

















International Premiere

Russia will be represented by the genre film Why Don’t You Just Die. Director and screenwriter Kirill Sokolov’s feature debut is a stylised, dark action comedy about a group of people brought together in the apartment of police detective Andrei: his resentful daughter, an angry thug and a cheated cop. Each one of them have a reason to want revenge. The film, produced by White Mirror Film Company’s Sofiko Kiknavelidze (The Land of Oz) has won the Best Film award at Vyborg Film Festival.

Read more and buy tickets here!

Yung (Germany)


International Premiere

German director Henning Gronkowski will present his film Yung, a hyper realistic, vibrant and utterly intriguing take on Berlin’s hedonistic subculture, documenting the the lives of four millennials making a living with crack and webcam porn and spending a better part of their lives at parties. The production companies are Gronkowski’s own company G.G. Production and Anatol Nitschke from deutschfilm who has also co-produced Berlinale’s Silver Bear Winner Victoria (2015).

Read more and buy tickets here!
OUT OF COMPETITIONThe Pact

Presented out of competition, the Spanish psychological thriller The Pact from director David Victori, who created the webseries Zero, after securing the patronage of Ridley Scott and Michael Fassbender by winning a short film festival in 2012. The story follows a mother (played by Belén Rueda) who, desperate to save the life of her comatose daughter, agrees to take part in a dark pact.


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