The Official Selection tickets are on sale!

Here they are at last! 

The 19 films that will be premiering from the 22nd until the 29th of November, competing for the grand prize and several other awards of the festival!

19 films from 19 different countries, covering 6 continents with only Antartica left out. 

11 world, 4 international and 4 European premieres. 

19 awesome films representing 19 original artistic voices, all created with a unique touch, representing a specific culture and vision. 

Let's dive in!


European Premiere
Director Asoka Handagama

Offering a captivating cinematic puzzle rich in psychoanalytical traits, the film follows a film director who receives a call from a former classmate, telling him a fragmented story how she has been involved in a triple homicide and is now waiting for her fate in a local prison.

Sri Lankan auteur Asoka Handagama’s films have been screened at numerous big festivals (Cannes, Toronto, Jeonju) and have won awards at several, including the Sebastiane award at the San Sebastian IFF (with the film Flying with One Wing) and three awards at the Tokyo IFF (with films Flying with One Wing; Him, Here, After; This is my Moon). This is his second time in the Official Selection of the Black Nights after his film Let Her Cry competed in 2015.

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AWAKEN (United Arab Emirates-US)

World Premiere

Director Tom Lowe

Shot in 35 countries (including Estonia) over the course of six years, AWAKEN is a technologically innovative, non-narrative film, studying man’s relationship with technology and the natural world. The film uses several pioneering technical feats such as aerial timelapses to create an immersive visual and sonic experience.
Director Tom Lowe, who has worked with AWAKEN’s executive producers Terrence Malick (on Voyage of Time) and Godfrey Reggio (on Visitors), has previously completed one medium-length film, Timescapes.

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KADAKH (India)

International Premiere
Director Rajat Kapoor

Offering a drama comedy with a dark premise - a suicide - Kadakh is a satirical portrait of the carlessness of urban upper class Indians. The arrogant yuppie Sunil and his wife must deal with a dead body of Sunil’s lover’s husband, who ends his life in their apartment right before Divali, the biggest Hindu celebration, is about to kick off at their place.
Director Rajat Kapoor has been active for the last three decades as a director, actor and producer, winning several awards with his films, for example Raghu Romeo which won prizes at the Dhaka IFF and the Bombay IFF, as well as the National Film Award for the best Hindi film.

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European Premiere
Maghzhaye Koochake Zang Zadeh
Director Houman Seyedi

In this rare Iranian action drama, director Hooman Seyedi’s intense narrative follows two brothers on the criminal path - the meth lab gang leader Shakoor and the softer younger brother Shahin - unhappy about being number two but unable to find the backbone to grow into his shoes.
Presenting his fourth film, Hooman Seyedi has won awards at several renowned film festivals such as the Busan IFF’ New Currents Award and the Asian New Talents Award at the Shanghai IFF, all with his film Thirteen (2014).

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SLAM (Australia)

World Premiere
Director Partho Sen-Gupta

Ricky, a young Arab Australian whose peaceful suburban life is turned on its head when his sister Ameena disappears without a trace. In a climate of distrust and xenophobia, she, a politically active outspoken word artist, is soon suspected of having joined the ranks of ISIS in Syria. Slam offers an engaging multi-perspective on life in a post-facts world in a 24-hour media cycle spin.

Director Partho Sen-Gupta’s second film Sunrise travelled to numerous festivals, including Tribeca, the Busan IFF, BFI London and the Sitges IFF, while his first film Let the Wind Blow won awards at the Hong Kong IFF and the Durban IFF, having premiered at the Berlinale.

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STILL RIVER (Greece-France-Latvia)

World Premiere
Still River
Director Angelos Frantzis

Anna and Petros are a Greek couple who recently moved to an industrial Siberian town on account of Petros’ work, are shocked to discover Anna is pregnant with no prior intercourse. Looking for a logical explanation to their situation, Petros starts distrusting Anna, who chooses to embrace the pregnancy, turning to religion to cope. Set against the striking frozen landscapes of Siberia, Still River is a haunting, touching suspense drama about the conflict of the rational and the spiritual.

The director and co-scriptwriter Angelos Frantzi’s previous films have been screened and have won awards at several international film festivals (the Rotterdam IFF, the Torino IFF, the Hong Kong IFF, the Sitges IFF, the New Horizons FF, etc.).

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SUNBURN (Portugal)

World Premiere
Un Golpe de sol
Director Vicente Alves do Ó

Set in a posh rental villa on a scorchingly hot summer day, Sunburn is a stylishly shot tale about four friends waiting for a fifth. As the day passes, we learn through dramatic encounters about a complex web of relations between them, with the mysterious David in the centre, who has left an unforgettable emotional impact on all of the others in the past. 

This is the fifth film by Portuguese filmmaker Vicente Alves do Ó whose previous films have been screened and have won awards at international festivals like Bogota and Guadalajara.

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International Premiere
Povestea unui pierde-vară
Director Paul Negoescu

Approaching his subjects with woody-allen-like tongue-in-cheek humor and lightness, Romanian director Paul Negocescu in his third film follows Petru, a math professor experiencing a mid-life crisis, preparing to leave Irina with whom he is in an open relationship. His perspective will see a radical shift when he finds out that she is pregnant.

The director’s short films have been awarded and selected at major international film festivals, including Cannes’ Semaine de la Critique (2012), the Berlinale (2008, 2009 and 2010), the Karlovy Vary IFF and the Rotterdam IFF. His first feature film A Month in Thailand premiered at the International Critics’ Week of the Venice Film Festival and was awarded the FIPRESCI prize at the Sofia International Film Festival.

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International Premiere
Zwei Herren im Anzug"
Director Josef Bierbichler

Set in Bavaria during the summer of 1984, an embittered father and his estranged son are staying behind after the guests of the funeral of their wife and mother leave. The father, having never felt a connection with his son, decides to tell his life story and his perspective on the shattering epochs of the 21st century in the German history he has witnessed. The son responds with his own version of the events and together they bring their individual and shared moments back to life.

Before his second film after a 21-year hiatus, Josef Biercbichler has worked with directors like Werner Herzog (Woyzeck) and Michael Haneke (White Ribbon) during his long career as an actor.

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European Premiere
Director  Adrian Panek

Creating stark metaphors for the traumas of World World II and the Holocaust, Polish director Adrian Panek’s thriller follows eight children who have escaped from a concentration camp during the aftermath of the war, hiding in a secluded villa from the bloodthirsty hounds that have been released by the SS officers before retreat.

This is the director’s second feature film, for which he has just won the Best Director award at the Polish Film Festival.

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WINTER'S NIGHT (South Korea)

European Premiere
Director Woojin Jang

A middle-age couple, Eun-ju and Heung-ju, visit an old temple 30 years after having spent their first night there together. On their way leaving the place, Eun-ju discovers she has lost her phone and decides to return there alone. As the night goes on, the couple’s sleepless winter night turns into roaming around the temple, encountering several friends from the past, and a young couple who are very much like Eun-ju and Heung-ju 30 years ago.

In his third film, South Korean director Woo-jin Jang has woven a quietly enchanting story that seems to flirt with time and memory manipulation. His previous films A Fresh Start and Autumn, Autumn have been screened at the Locarno IFF, the Berlinale Forum, the Mar del Plata IFF and the Hong Kong IFF, and won awards at the Busan IFF and the Jeonju IFF.

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International Premiere
Pour vivre ici
Director Bernard Emond

Monique, having lost her husband after a long and happy marriage, feels the need to leave home and the countryside to avoid an emotional breakdown and loneliness and to reconnect with her son and daughter. After witnessing how entangled both are with their careers and social affairs she embarks on quiet journey, backwards in time, with a mission to visit her childhood homes, hoping to find solace and reclaim the will to move on with her life.

Bernard Émond’s previous films have screened, among other places, in the competitions of Locarno IFF and Cannes Critics Week, with The Legacy (2009) winning awards at Locarno and Toronto IFF, while also screening at PÖFF.

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World Premiere
Streha mes reve
Director Robert Budina

Herding sheep in the picturesque Albanian Alps, Besnik, a devoted Muslim and talented woodcarver with a slight mental disorder, finds his life thrown out of balance after the death of his father, and the return of his multi-faith family, who are set on taking the old house. Another potential conflict looms over a discovery in the old village church, where a new revelation threatens the equilibrium between the local Muslim and Catholic communities.

This is director Robert Budina’s second feature film, his first - Agon - having been selected as the country’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.

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BAD POEMS (Hungary)

World Premiere
Rossz versek
Director Gábor Reisz

33-years old Tamás is heartbroken after his girlfriend breaks up with him in Paris and wallowing in self-pity, he takes a trip down memory lane to figure out what went wrong with the relationship and himself in general. Offering a playful collage of memories from different periods of his life with the four different characters of himself in dialogue, the film manages both, to provide an subjective insight into its protagonists psyche and that of the society that surrounds it - Hungary.

Director Gábor Reisz’s first film For Some Inexplicable Reason premiered at Karlovy Vary IFF and won awards at Torino IFF, Sofia IFF and several other festivals, it went on to compete in 20 festivals. Bad Poems is his second feature film.

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World Premiere
The Guest
Director Hadi El Bagoury

A liberal Islamic scholar, Dr. Yahya, is on trial after being accused of anti-religious attitudes. In the midst of his problems, the trial and his wife's cancer diagnosis, he prepares to invite Osama, an assistant professor at the university who is asking for his daughter's hand in marriage, but this guest comes with a gift that no one expected. Succeeding in witty, humorous dialogues, the films also builds an aura of growing uncertainty, as it gradually reveals unexpected revelations about the characters and their intentions.

Director Hadi Elbagoury, who has a background in TV, has also directed two films that were box office hits in Egypt and several other Arab countries, including the thriller Warda (2014) and the romance Hepta: the Last Lecture (2016) that brought him the best director award at the Arabian Cinema Awards.

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World Premiere
Ihmisen osa
Director Juha Lehtola

One of Finland’s most celebrated actors Hannu-Pekka Björkman shines as the bankrupt protagonist of this warm comedy-drama, holding a full time job as a swindler to keep the facade of the successful businessman he used to be, trying to fool both society and his family. 

Director Juha Lehtola is an award-winning theatre director, playwright and TV series director, whose first film Boy Upside Down was nominated for several Jussi Awards (the Finnish ‘Oscars’).

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TWO FRIDAS (Costa Rica-Mexico)

World Premiere
Dos Fridas
Director Ishtar Yasin

Director Ishtar Yasin presents her second film, a drama with roots in the historic character of Judith Ferreto, the nurse of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, who spent her latter days in Costa Rica. The film depicts a collection of her memories that gradually becomes indistinguishable from the ‘present’, often veering into surrealistic imagery. 

Yasin’s first film, The Path (2008) premiered at Berlinale and went on to win 15 international awards, including one at Mar del Plata IFF.

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World Premiere
Til vi falder
Director: Samanou Acheche Sahlstrøm

Mourning the loss of their 10-year-old son, Adam and Louise return to their apartment in a quaint Spanish coastal town to try to and find closure and rebuild their love for each other, only to encounter more pain.

Danish director, Samanou Acheche Sahlstrøm, had his debut and break-through with Into Your Arms (2015), winning the Dragon Award at Göteborg Film Festival, the film also competed at Cairo IFF and Mumbai FF. Until We Fall is his second feature film.

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WANDERING GIRL (Colombia-France)

World Premiere
Niña errante
Director Rubén Mendoza

Four girls, step-sisters from different mothers, are united by the death of their father who had been a casanova. They embark on a journey to take the youngest of them to live with an aunt in the countryside. Director Ruben Mendoza’s second film is a free flowing road film and a coming of age story of a girl put on the road by the love of her sisters whom she never knew existed. 

Wandering Girl is Mendoza’s eighth feature-length film, four of them being documentaries. The latest of them, Miss Maria, Skirting the Mountain (2017) was nominated for the Sebastiane Award at San Sebastian IFF and screened at more than 70 festivals.

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