The inaugural edition of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (BNFF) was held in 1997. Originally, the festival primarily showcased films made in the Nordic countries. Over the years, it has expanded to screen films from all over the world, from Asia to Latin America. For example, the 2015 edition featured films from 80 different countries. However, the focus still is on films from the Baltic Sea region and former Soviet states.
The BNFF runs three competitive programs. They are International Competition, the Tridens Estonian Feature Competition, and the Tridens First Film Competition. The top award of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival is the Golden Wolf. The statuette is given to the producer and director of the best feature film screened in the International Competition program. Separate awards are given to the best actor and actress, for the best cinematography. There’s a Special Jury Prize, too.
Along with its competitive programs, the festival hosts a series of non-competitive screenings and retrospectives, a panorama of the best films of the year, and other special programs. Besides, the BNFF organizes Industry@Tallinn, a summit for film professionals that runs concurrently with the festival. The summit features a co-production and film market, lectures, presentations, and training workshops for filmmakers and film producers.
The structure of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival also includes three sub-festivals that typically overlap the main event. They are animation film festival Animated Dreams, children and youth film festival Just Film, and international short film festival Sleepwalkers. Each of them has established itself as one of the biggest events of its kind in the region. The BNFF also runs two smaller specialized film festivals – the Haapsalu Horror & Fantasy Film Festival (HOFF) and the Tartu Love Film Festival (tARTuFF).
Photo: Pöffi Hunt