At a time when most events are canceled, the Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) kicked off on Thursday, November 12, with an online cinema available for movie watchers, boasting the full programme of more than a 100 movies.
While many culture events have had to make cuts in their programmes in the fall, PÖFF can go forward without taking too big a loss. But this can all change in a day.
PÖFF director Tiina Lokk said: "In this form, where the virus is harassing you from left and right - then yes - we have not paid the fee we planned for yet, all our sections are the same and as I just said, I saw the entire programme a month and a half ago and I saw the mash-ups and scenes just now and thought to myself: I have the most interesting programme of the last five years."
The Black Nights Film Festival has traditionally seen hundreds of foreign visitors, but this year's event will see far fewer visitors. Some 90 foreign visitors are expected for the movie festival.
Lokk said younger people are more eager to travel and older filmmakers would rather choose to skip the event: "It is a total headache and the number is always swinging, the 90 are the ones representing movies. Usually, they travel with someone and an entire group of 25 people would arrive in earlier years. I am given a table each morning that shows how many guests we have and whose sessions I must speak at, that number is constantly changing."
Belgian director Ann Sirot's "Madly in Life" is one of the movies premiering at PÖFF. The director is also one of the few travelers to have already arrived in Estonia.
Sirot emphasized that when compared to infection rates in Belgium, life in Estonia is almost close to normal. "If you are walking on the streets here, people are not wearing masks, restaurants are open, cafes are open. If you walk on the streets of Tallinn, while people are disinfecting their hands, life goes on almost normally. Life in Belgium is not going forward as normal, almost everything there is restricted, life in Estonia seems luxurious," Sirot said.
For many festival-goers, the largest problem is what movies to choose from the seemingly endless programme. Long-time PÖFF fan and volunteer Jette Karmin confirmed that her preparations take a long time. "I am perhaps too thorough, I go through most trailers, all 200 of them and then make my choices. Luckily, PÖFF has seprated categories, where you can see if you want a vitamin bomb, special programs from certain countries or fresh comers and go from there," she said.
As a parent, Karmin likely would not have made it to the cinemas this year, but PÖFF's online service offers a great solution. "Otherwise I would have maybe had the first year, where I would have missed PÖFF entirely. Thank goodness that this online cinema exists and I can watch from home, otherwise it would have been sad, November is such a sad and dark time and PÖFF gives it so much."
The Black Nights Film Festival was opened with a ceremony on Thursday, November 12, and is set to run from November 13-29. Read more on the festival here.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste