13 October 2023
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, running 3 - 19 November, will present a wide selection of Czech features and shorts, including a couple of brand new titles screened in world premiere. Endless Summer Syndrome by Kaveh Daneshmand and Mr. and Mrs Stodola will be premiered in the First Feature Competition, Her Body by Natálie Císařovská will be screened in Critics' Picks Competition, Czech minority co-productions Forever Hold Your Peace and Oxygen Station landed the slots in the Official Selection and I Don't Love You Anymore by Zdeněk Jiráský, Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light by Filip Pošivač and minority co-production Role Model by Nejc Gazvoda will play in Just Film, children and youth festival, which is part of Black Nights. Baltic Film Competition features minority co-production documentaries The Ice That Still Supports Us by Arko Okk and Eastern Front by Vitaly Mansky and Yevhen Titarenko. Twelve short films were selected for PÖFF Shorts. Altogether 22 Czech and co-production films will be shown at the festival.
Endless Summer Syndrome, a directing feature film debut of Kaveh Daneshmand, an Iranian filmmaker based in Prague, is a thriller set in the French countryside and focuses on a mother of two adoptees, who is tipped off about the possible affair her husband may be having with one of their children and her sense of duty takes a macabre turn. The film, produced by director himself and Gem Deger, who also star in the film, through their production outfit Libra Rising together with Cedric and Eva Larvoire and Jordi Niubo (i/o post), was presented last year in Karlovy Vary IFF's Works in Progress in 2022. The world sales and festivals are handled by alief.
Director Petr Hátle (The Great Night) will present in Tallinn the world premiere of his fiction feature debut, Mr. and Mrs. Stodola, which follows a story of a couple of serial killers in a romantic relationship. During an unsuccessful burglary attempt, Jaroslav accidentally kills his old neighbour. His wife, Dana, concocts a plan to make the murder seem like an accident. Another neighbour stands in the way, however, whom they also have to eliminate. Dana convinces Jaroslav to help her. They attempt to use this incident to solve some of their financial problems. With the vision of easy money, the Stodolas start killing elderly and lonely people in the surrounding villages, Dana being the leader and Jaroslav the follower. Initially, they proceed to cover up the murders as accidents or suicides and the police do not do much to prove otherwise. When they finally are convicted by the investigator, who connect all the dots, Jaroslav puts all the blame on himself. Mr. and Mrs. Stodola is produced by Tomáš Hrubý of nutprodukce in co-production with Slovak nutprodukcia and Czech Television. Czech Film Fund support the film in both developement and production, altogether with EUR 326,600.
Director Natálie Císařovská will present in Tallinn in the Critics' Picks Competition the world premiere of her feature film debut Her Body. The Czech-Slovak film, inspired by real life story of a young athlete in the 1990s, tells a story of Andrea, a young, top high diver, is training for the Atlanta Olympics. Her parents and coach – but especially Andrea herself – value success and performance above everything else. Her athletic career, however, unexpectedly comes to an end due to an injury. Because her body is the only tool she has used for success, Andrea finds a new use for it – in the porn industry. She soon gains fame, independence, and the freedom to finally do what she wants. But in the end, she is forced to slow down. The film deals with the question of the freedom to do what one wants with one’s own body, as well as exploring the limits and frontiers that encroach upon that freedom. Well-established Czech producer Viktor Schwarcz and his Cineart TV Prague stands behind Her Body, co-produced by Czech Television and Slovak SilverArt. The Czech Film Fund supported the film throughout the year in both development and production stages, altogether with EUR 313,200.
Oxygen Station by Ivan Tymchenko, was one of the first four films announced to premiere in the Official Selection, main competition section of the festival. The film is inspired by the life of Mustafa Jemilef, Crimean Tatars’ rights activist and political prisoner, who was deported to Siberia by USSR in 1980s. The film is a co-production of Ukraine, Czech Republic, Sweden and Slovakia. The Czech co-producer is Alžběta Janáčková and her Silk Films and the film received EUR 80,000 from the Czech Film Fund in the minority co-production program.
Moreover, Ivan Marinović's Forever Hold Your Peace, made in co-production of Montenegro, Czech Republic, Croatia, Serbia, North Macedonia and Slovenia, was selected to screen in world premiere in the Official Selection as well. The story of Dragana, the bride, who announces two days before her wedding on the idylic Montenegrin peninsula that she can’t go through with it, although everything is ready, and all the invitations have been sent out. Momo, the meek and narrow-minded groom, is helpless in the face of Dragana’s painful, uncompromising, and overwhelming decision. Leso, the merciless patriarch of the groom’s family, offers the rebellious bride a solution: go through with the bloody wedding and the day after, go wherever you want. She accepts. Momo remains hopeful, learning about this agreement only after they both say “yes”. The traditional wedding consists of a series of absurd activities, playful friends and family members soaked in alcohol, and is topped off with gunfire and dynamite. Producer Veronika Kuhrová and her Analog Vision, the Czech co-production company, received the support of EUR 140,000 from the Czech Film Fund. In addition, director Ivan Marinović has a strong connection to Czech Republic as he graduated from Prague's FAMU in 2011.
Czech post-production house Studio BEEP joined the production of documentary The Ice That Still Supports Us, directed by Arko Okk, which is set to premiere in the Baltic Film Competition. The film takes place on the northern coast of Estonia, where the use of ice roads in winter is a centuries-old tradition. According to it, the ice road is opened every year for cars and pedestrians. But the ice road is like a ghost road – no one knows when and where it will exactly appear. The Estonian-Czech-Lithuaninan-Finnish co-prodution was supported by the Czech Film Fund also within the minority co-productions scheme with EUR 18,000. In addition, the Baltic Film Competition will also showcase Vitaly Mansky's and Yevhen Titarenko's documentary Eastern Front depicting the events on the front line after the start of the war in Ukraine, premiered earlier this year at the Berlinale.
Just Film, Tallinn's sub-festival focusing on films for children and youth, will present Zdeněk Jiráský's unconvetional road movie about two teenagers on the run I Don't Love You Anymore, just awarded in Warsaw, Role Model by Nejz Gazvoda, co-produced by Evolution Films on the Czech side, and animated festival hit Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light by Filip Pošivač awarded in Annecy.
The Animation, Kids Animation and New Talents Competition programs of PÖFF Shorts, another sub-festival of Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, feature altogether eight films. About a Cow by Pavla Baštanová, Doubt by Adela Križovenská, Electra by Daria Kashcheeva, Lights by Jitka Nemikisinová, My Name is Edgar and I Have a Cow by Filip Diviak, Paradise on Earth to See by Vojtěch Novotný and Stuck Together by Anna Wowra will all compete for the awards of the festival. In addition, Alžbeta Mačáková Mišejková's Don't Blow It Up is featured in the Toddlers' Screening of Just Film, Dede Is Dead, one of this year's festival darlings, will be presented in the Panorama program titled My Dogs and Other Animals, Rising Above by Natálie Durchánková, nominated this year for a Student Oscar, is part of Animated Documentaries program and Carp Xmass by Anna Heribanová and Scale, a minority co-production short film by Joseph Pierce, are featured in the genre showcase Midnight Madness.
03 November 2022