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Shorts programmes

Shorts Animation Competition

Navigating through the animation shorts lineup is an international journey you cannot afford to miss out on – whether you have your passport with you or not. 
The films talk to each other through images and words, both shorter and longer (this year even impressively longer). The interplay between the narrative and the experimental, the ordinary and the extraordinary really sets the tone. The animated experiences may be intense, meditative, or playful. Make no mistake, all of them portray characters and situations beyond the obvious.
These voices need to be heard on the big screen with your eyes alert, your heart pounding and your brain relaxed. Get on board.

Shorts Live-Action Competition

To put together a programme is an exercise in both frustration and joy. The frustration comes when having to say ‘no’ to films that are enjoyable and unique. The joy is being able to select a few films to show in front of audiences eager to discover new things.
With over 3000 eligible submissions to the live action section and very few spaces to accommodate – this year we have 40 shorts in our competition programmes – the frustration levels were high, with so many great films having to fall by the wayside. 
But the joy is also in abundance. The films presented in the Live Action and New Talents Competitions represent some of the best short filmmaking from across the world and will be sure to excite and delight all those who take the plunge.

Shorts New Talents Competition: Animation

There’s a burst of new, international animation talents out there with secured cinematic viewpoints and a readiness to question, explore, make fun of and present new aesthetic solutions to time-honored representational topics. Films are challenging; by turns contemporary and nostalgic, and giving intimate and overwhelming accounts of a world seemingly falling apart. European countries (and especially this year Central and Eastern European countries) converse creatively with Asian and US animation directors. They prove that contemporary artistic identity is complex, never to be pigeonholed; just watch its beats delicately weaving the programme.

Shorts New Talents Competition: Live-action

It often happens that the best ideas come from people who haven’t been plagued with years of expertise that could easily tip them into cynicism. Instead, we might find the deepest insights ever caught on camera from filmmakers who are young or only starting out their journeys.
“New Talents” is a display of raw talent, innovation and unparalleled skill where the films from new emerging filmmakers are already on the cutting edge of cinema as they showcase the people who will take the film industry into its future.

Shorts National Competition

Like all great national cinemas, films from Estonia retain something that is culturally specific whilst also managing to resonate with international audiences. The National Competition for this year highlights many of the strengths of Estonian films and filmmakers.
Estonian films – in particular animated ones – have always had the particular, distinctive sense of being eerie, abstracted, and, at the same time, finely-tuned, alert and relevant. The films selected not only intensify the claim, but really imbue the Estonian landscape with international topics, directors and approaches. In each film there’s a clever re-negotiation of your own place in space – and what you do to deserve it.

Rebels With Their Shorts

The very art of making a short film is in itself often an act of rebellion. The medium tends to lie outside the typical modes of industrial filmmaking with the relative lack of commercial viability more than made up for by the opportunities to experiment and push the boundaries of traditional cinema. Each of the films presented here not only embody rebellion in terms of form and content but also provide the audience with an opportunity to catch an early glimpse of those filmmakers whose bold and provocative stance will continue to break the rules over the coming years.
These films will take part in Rebels With A Cause, a competition section of the Black Nights Film Festival dedicated to films that defy the traditional modes of filmmaking. Each short will be eligible for the Rebels With Their Shorts prize.


We have bad news. No matter how hard you try, you can never escape reality. 
However, the good news is that you can still completely change your perception of it. Short documentary films are, perhaps, the most effective medium to expand your understanding of the vast and unknown world. After all, they give you the chance to step into the shoes of your real-life neighbours without having to stay there for too long.
A fair warning to you that this selection of live action and animated documentaries might inspire empathy and even a wanderlust of sorts. Until then, do sit back and watch the stories unfold.

Shorts Kids Programme

Raising a child is no easy feat. It is a lifelong process that continues to test your courage, endurance and patience as you do your best navigating through a variety of daily challenges ranging from temper tantrums to self-proclaimed parenting experts.
And yet, it can also be an incomparable joy to share the beauty of this world with children. A beauty beyond standard TV programming or YouTube videos, or hours of the same old computer-generated movies caretakers have to sit through and often end up involuntarily memorising.
We invite you to build different kinds of memories with PÖFF Shorts’ children’s programmes, which offer a much needed change and excitement (and most importantly, food for thought) for people of all ages.

Shorts No Limits

Pull yourself together and dare to dislodge and reassemble everything you know with an offering of black comedies, surrealist provocations, erotic shorts and more in our No Limits programme – a fun and fearless exploration of how far, low, deep and weird we can go.
Includes hit screenings like The Rejected Shorts Picture Show and Late Night Love catered especially for the most adventurous among us.

Night Cinema

Once a year, there comes a dark November night where we dare not sleep, for it would be a crime to pass the Night Cinema dreams which one could never witness in the comfort of their own bed.
In a cosy industrial-romantic atmosphere you get to experience the only screening of its kind, where short films are shown from late night to early morning. In a programme that fuels and recharges, you will find Vitamin Pill comedies, music and dance films, short horror stories and a lot of madness.

Shorts Panorama

In this day and age, images that invoke fishing might seem inappropriate, but we mean the best when we say the Panorama programme casts a wide net in order to get to the specific. 
The result is an intriguing mix of human stories, global issues and the universal. 
Influenced by what we believe is important to highlight, as well as the Black Nights Film Festival’s region of focus, Panorama illuminates the current state of affairs with an agenda to provoke and inspire. 
This year’s programme includes a retrospective of Arabian filmmaking, transgender histories, a tribute to living puppets and a rather dystopian view of international relations gone awry.


© 2019 NGO Black Nights Film Festival

Register Code: 80044767 / KMKR: EE100520914 / IBAN: EE791700017002751609