Shorts @ PÖFF 2020


The films in the animation competition invite an out-of-the-box cognitive attitude in almost unique settings, from faraway galaxies to ordinary flats and schools and hospitals; they won't offer an escapist route, but they will still lead us to a road aesthetically and narratively worth following. For the first time in the history of the festival, the competition programme also hosts its children's animation category.


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.


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 Alternatives

Who says popcorn can't be smart? With clever genre shorts, quality dance films and unexpected perspectives to the world around us, the Alternatives is a fun and fearless exploration of how far, low, deep and weird we can go.

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.

Night Cinema

In a programme that fuels and recharges, you will find refreshing comedies, short horror stories and a lot of madness.

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.


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.