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Introduction to the film festival

Black Nights Film Festival (aka PÖFF – Pimedate Ööde FilmiFestival) takes place annually at the end of November in Tallinn, Estonia. It is the only FIAPF-accredited competitive feature film Festival in Northern Europe.Black Nights Film Festival holds four competitive sections, as well as non-competitive sections, altogether more than 200 features and documentaries, showcasing new discoveries and a selection of the best picks from other film Festivals, with special programmes for various sub-genres. Due to the current situation in the world, the Festival also reserves the right to organise the Festival online.

The Festival consists of a cluster of events: the main Festival, sub-Festivals for youth and children’s films, short films and animations, along with an extensive industry programme, turning Tallinn and Tartu into a buzzing, yet relaxed celebration of film culture and attracting an attendance of more than 71 200, visited by 1547 film professionals and press from around the world in 2021.

26th Black Nights Film Festival (11.11 – 27.11 2022)

Awards

Official Selection – Competition
• Grand Prix for the Best Film (Grant of 20,000 Euros, shared by the Director and Producer)
• Best Director (Grant of 5000 Euros)
• Best Cinematography (Grant of 1000 Euros)
• Best Script
• Best Actor
• Best Actress
• Best Original Score
• Best Production Design

First Feature Competition:
• The Award for the Best First Feature Film (Grant of 5000 Euros, shared by the Director and Producer)
• Two Special Jury Prizes
A film in this competition is eligible for one award within the competition

Rebels With A Cause Competition:
• The Award for Best Film (award for Director)
• The Award for Best Short Film (award for Director)

Baltic Film Competition:
• The Award for Best Baltic Feature Film (Grant of 3200 Euros shared by the Director and Producer)

Additional awards presented:
• Lifetime Achievement Award
• Audience Award (Grant of 3 000 Euros, the award for Director)* Award can be presented for either film from the main Festival and/or Just Film Festival programme
• Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) Award
• International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Award
• Cross Religion award presented by the spiritual leaders of the largest congregations in Estonia
• Bruno O'Ya Stipend for Internationally Acknowledged Estonian Talent (with the scholarship of 1000€)

Rules

Genre :Action Comedy War Science fiction Ethics Terror Thriller Violence Adventure Crime Family Music Love Magic Fantasy Shootout Suspense Youth Inspirational Literary Biography Western Drama others Documentary
Subject :Unlimited
Video Format :MPEG4 DCP

1 INTRODUCTION
Black Nights Film Festival (in Estonian as PÖFF – Pimedate Ööde filmifestival) aims to present a comprehensive selection of world cinema to Estonian, Baltic and North European audiences.

The 26th edition of the Black Nights Film Festival will take place from 11th-27th November 2022, in Tallinn, its main place of establishment, with sidebar screenings in the cities of Tartu, Narva, Kohtla-Järve and Jõhvi.
The Festival is recognised by FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) and since 2014 accredited to organise an international non-specialised feature film competition along with 15 other film festivals around the world (including Berlin, Cannes, Karlovy Vary, Moscow, Venice, San Sebastian, Warsaw, Tokyo, and others).
Black Nights Film Festival also holds specialised competitive sections, non-competitive sections, as well as sub-festivals for youth films, short films and animations.
The Festival is organised by the non-profit organisation MTÜ Pimedate Ööde filmifestival (in English NGO Black Nights Film Festival).
MTÜ Pimedate Ööde filmifestival (in English NGO Black Nights Film Festival)
Telliskivi 60a/2, 10412
Tallinn, Estonia

Black Nights Film Festival Programme Overview
The Black Nights Film Festival programme includes three competitive sections and various non-competitive sections for feature films.

1.1 Official Selection – Competition (17th – 25th of November 2022)
The Official Selection – Competition is an international non-specialised competition presenting feature-length (60 minutes and over) films from around the world completed after the 15th of September 2021.
Priority will be given to films with a World or International Premiere. The minimum premiere requirement is a European Regional Premiere. European films and co-produced films presented in their country of origin remain eligible.
The Festival will not accept films in the Official Selection – Competition that has been in competition at another festival accredited by FIAPF as a Competitive Feature Film Festival. The Festival reserves the right to evaluate eligible films for the competition on a case-by-case basis.

Awards presented:
• Grand Prix for the Best Film (Grant of 20,000 Euros, shared by the Director and Producer)
• Best Director (Grant of 5000 Euros)
• Best Cinematography (Grant of 1000 Euros)
• Best Script
• Best Actor
• Best Actress
• Best Original Score
• Best Production Design

A film in this competition is eligible for a maximum of two awards (including Grand Prix) within the competition. The Grand Prix and Best Director award and their grants cannot be given to the same film.

1.2 First Feature Competition (17th – 25th of November 2022)
The First Feature Competition is an international competition for debut films. The competition presents feature-length debut (60 minutes and over, first-time feature film directing status) films from around the world completed after the 15th of September 2021.
Priority will be given to films with a World or International Premiere. The minimum premiere requirement is a European Regional Premiere. European films and co-produced films presented in their country of origin remain eligible.
The Festival will not accept films in the First Feature Competition that has been in competition at another festival accredited by FIAPF as a Competitive Feature Film Festival. The Festival reserves the right to evaluate eligible films for competition on a case-by-case basis.

Awards presented:
• The Award for the Best First Feature Film (Grant of 5000 Euros, shared by the Director and Producer)
• Two Special Jury Prizes
A film in this competition is eligible for one award within the competition

1.3 Baltic Film Competition (19th – 25th of November 2022)
The Baltic Film Competition presents feature (documentaries and animation included) length (60 minutes and over) films from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, or with significant participation from one of these countries completed after the 15th of September 2021.
Priority will be given to films with a World or International premiere, but films which have previously premiered in Estonia are also eligible. The participation of the film in any other competition of the Festival does not exclude the eligibility for Baltic Film Competition. The Festival reserves the right to evaluate eligible films for the competition on a case-by-case basis.

Award presented:
• The Award for Best Baltic Feature Film (Grant of 3200 Euros shared by the Director and Producer)

1.4 Rebels with a Cause Competition (17th – 25th of November 2022)
Rebels with a Cause Competition programme showcases the untraditional means of expression of filmmaking, as well as innovative narrative or dramaturgy, symbiosis with other forms of art, and new takes on technical solutions or in esthetics. The Competition incorporates both a full feature and a short film section. The films must be completed after the 15th of September 2020. The minimum premiere requirement is a European Premiere.
Priority will be given to films with World, International or European premieres. The Festival reserves the right to evaluate eligible films for the competition on a case-by-case basis.

Awards presented:
• The Award for Best Film (award for Director)
• The Award for Best Short Film (award for Director)

1.5 Additional awards presented
• Lifetime Achievement Award
• Audience Award (Grant of 3 000 Euros, the award for Director)* Award can be presented for either film from the main Festival and/or Just Film Festival programme
• Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) Award
• International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Award
• Cross Religion award presented by the spiritual leaders of the largest congregations in Estonia
• Bruno O'Ya Stipend for Internationally Acknowledged Estonian Talent (with the scholarship of 1000€)

1.6 Non-competitive programme
Films submitted for the non-competitive programme, or not selected for competitions, can be invited to other sections with a minimum requirement being their Estonian Premiere. There is no geographic restriction for films in non-competitive sections. The films must be completed after the 15th of September 2021.

The non-competitive programs are the following:

1.6.1 Current Waves
The program offers a panoramic view of the trends and currents of world cinema, including a selection of festival favorites and fresh films that have caught the eye of the Festival’s programme team.

1.6.2 #PÖFFTRENDING
The haute couture of culture documentaries and features, exploring topics such as art, fashion, urban culture, etc, offers a fresh perspective on contemporary cultural phenomena and trends.

1.6.3 Doc@PÖFF
A selection of the latest documentary highlights, regardless of their geographic origin or topics.

1.6.4 Midnight Shivers
Over-the-top fantasy spree, the cream of the crop of recent horror and fantasy cinema.

1.6.5 TV Beats
A programme dedicated to fresh drama series, aimed at highlighting the increasingly blurry line between the small and the big screen.

1.7 Programming
The Programming Committee, headed by the Festival Director, selects films for the competitions and non-competitive programmes. The committee also determines the programme schedule and sets the screening order for all films.
Each competition film may be screened a minimum of two (2) times and a maximum of five (5) during the Festival, including press screenings. Consent from the applicant will be asked for any extra screening. The Programming Committee reserves the right to not comment on its decisions as well as the final line-up of the Festival.

1.8 Juries
The Festival Director appoints all the members of the juries for the international competition programmes. No jury member can be involved in the production or promotion of any of the films in the competitive programmes.

1.9 Film delegations
For competitive programmes, the Festival will invite a delegation of up to three representatives per film (the Festival will offer three free accreditations and if needed discounted accreditations). The Festival will cover the round trip airfare as well as accommodation at the Official Partner Hotel and accreditation for one delegate, with a preference given to the Director and/or the Main Cast member. Additionally, the Festival will cover the accommodation at the Official Partner Hotel and accreditation for one extra delegate and the accreditation for a third delegate.
For non-competitive films, the Festival reserves the right to invite guests upon the decision of the Programming Committee. Detailed terms and conditions for film delegates are provided on a non-disclosed one-to-one and guest agreement basis.

1.10 Film submission entry procedures
Applicants for Competitive and Non-Competitive Programmes are requested to submit through 

Entry applications submitted by post, e-mail, or any other form except the online submission form are not considered eligible for selection, unless with prior agreement with the Festival Programming Committee.
Submission applications are accepted from March 2022.

The Festival Director and the Programming Committee reserve the right to waive submission fees for selected applicants, to not comment on their decisions regarding waivers.

The Festival reserves the right to select films received at any time and through any means, or process and to refuse late submissions.

By submitting a film to the Festival the applicant agrees by the submissions deadline to:
Fill in and submit the entry form via the Festival’s online submission form.
Provide a screening link and password via the online submission form or e-mail (the link needs to be visible for at least four programmers or more if needed).
Acknowledge that “selected” status on the online submission or any kind of automated letter from the submission platform form does not guarantee confirmation of the submitted film to the Festival.

1.11 Confirmation of films and reimbursement
Upon selection of a film, the Festival will contact the applicant via email and will request to fill out a binding entry form.
If the applicant provides misleading information about debutant or premiere status the Festival Director and the Programming Committee reserve the right to withdraw the film from the competition and overall programme.

The applicant agrees that confirmed titles may not be withdrawn from the Festival programme after their participation has been officially confirmed and the producer or producer’s authorised representative has verified the confirmation of the film to the programme.
If for exceptional reasons, the film has to be withdrawn three weeks or less before the opening of the Festival, the applicant agrees to reimburse all costs to the Festival related to the confirmation and programming of the film including the screening fee (when applicable), print delivery and handling costs as well as associated travel costs for the film delegation.
The invoices for the film rights or print loans should be issued and delivered for payments no later than two months after the end of the Festival. The Festival does not accept or reimburse invoices issued after that date.

Upon confirmation of the film to the Festival’s competitive or non-competitive sections, the applicant agrees to:
Deliver additional promotional materials (biography, filmography and headshot of the Director, high-resolution stills of the film, synopsis, logline/tagline and genre of film, list of technical and artistic credits, list of all production countries in order of contribution and large format print quality poster art-work). Full electronic press kits are preferred.

The approved requirements of the promotional photos for the Festival are the following:
Film stills:
Format: landscape (16:9), .jpg (.png, .tiff)
Size: 1920 x 1020 px minimum
Minimum of 3 stills.
Director’s portrait image:
Format: square (1:1), .jpg (.png, .tiff)
Size: 500 x 500 px minimum

Film poster:
Format: portrait, .jpg (.png, tiff)
Aspect ratio: 1,45 (recommended)
Size: 555 x 800 px (recommended)

Film trailer/teaser:
Provide an HD resolution trailer or an HD teaser clip of the film either as a public link to a downloadable and embeddable video on YouTube or Vimeo or as a separate file. The Festival should receive the trailer or teaser latest by the 1st of October, with an allowance to upload on the Festival’s online channels.

Promotional video material:
Provide a set of at least four different HD resolution excerpts of three-minute maximum length each to enable the promotion of films by television stations and in creative promotional video montages minimally a month before the Festival.

Materials for local translation:
Provide subtitle files with time-codes and/or dialogue lists in the original film language and in English, spotting list, and a screener of the finalised version of the film.

The Festival reserves the right to use all provided promotional materials for publicity purposes and printed materials, including the Festival catalog, press releases, website, social media channels, and promotion in media.
The Festival will provide a CineSend link for uploading the DCP, a Google Form for film and credits information and a link for uploading the promotional materials.

The Festival does not accept deliveries in physical format (hard disk drives, memory sticks, etc) if not agreed otherwise prior to the Festival.

The materials required by the Festival for its press releases, catalog, website, and other information/promotion channels (synopsis, technical and artistic credits, bio-filmographies, pictures of the director/s and film stills) and materials for local translation need to be provided to the Festival by the 19th of September 2022, or within 7 days of confirmation of the film.

If the applicant doesn’t provide the materials required by the Festival by the date set in regulations or by the date agreed with the Festival beforehand, The Festival Director and the Programming Committee reserve the right to withdraw the film from the competition.

1.12 Technical requirements and guidelines for film formats

1.12.1 SCREENINGS IN CINEMAS
The accepted screening format for all films in competition and non-competition sections is DCP. Provided DCPs must be DCI compliant (http://www.dcimovies.com/) and adhere to all applicable conditions below.

The Festival will provide a CineSend link for uploading the DCP and it should be uploaded no later than 24th October 2022. DCPs must be provided with the correct naming according to the ISDCF DCP Naming Convention.

All films selected for the Festival must be provided with English subtitles unless they are already in English. All the films from the Official Selection Competition and First Feature Competition, as well as a selection of films from other sections are translated into Estonian.

The Festival prefers to transfer local subtitles onto DCPs for ensuring the best possible screening experience. For that purpose DCPs must meet the following requirements: provided screening DCPs must be unencrypted, or with DKDM for Festival lab, as original language versions (OV) with separate accompanying subtitles as version-file packages (VF).
If the transfer of translated subtitles onto the DCP is not agreed with the representative of the film, the translations will be shown electronically.

All screening copies for all sections, if provided with any subtitles, must have the subtitles on the active picture area and not in the letterbox area. Please note that the image may be cropped by up to 3% during projection, due to the position of the projector and the venue’s characteristics, therefore a good safe area for the subtitles would be at least 5%. Dubbed language copies are also refused.

The Festival reserves the right to demand new DCP packages free of charge in case of non-compatible DCPs, broken hard drives, or other quality standards are not met. These include wrongly placed or missing subtitles, or wrong soundtracks.

Unencrypted DCPs are strongly preferred. In the case of encrypted DCPs, the Festival requires Distribution KDMs (DKDM) for laboratory testing or in previously agreed cases, one test KDM per film free of charge for quality assurance and technical testing for our test-screen. For quality assurance reasons KDM or DKDM is requested to be valid from the date the DCP arrives at the Festival but not later than one week before the Festival starts till 1 day after the Festival. ​​All DKDMs should follow the KDM Naming Convention.

The producer or film representative is requested to provide appropriate screening KDMs valid from 7 days before the start of the Festival and 1 day after the Festival, but no later than 72 hours prior to screenings, and 48 hours after the screening. The cost of generating all KDMs will also be the responsibility of the producers or representatives of the film.

If the Festival is provided with broken or wrongly assigned KDMs, appropriate new KDMs must be provided free of charge by the film submitter or representative. Quality assurance purpose DKDM is not exempt from providing screening KDMs if not agreed upon otherwise.

The Festival supports 2K and 4K content. However, not all screens have a 4K screening capability. The Festival therefore cannot guarantee that all 4K films will be screened in a 4K resolution.

We can accept high-frame-rate (HFR) or 3D DCPs, however, we are only able to screen them in selected cinema halls. Please notify the Festival office if you are planning on presenting a high-frame-rate DCP.

If agreed previously with the Festival technical department, DCP can be handed in on a physical hard drive. DCPs must be provided and shipped on industry-standard protected hard drives. Consumer-grade hard drives and memory sticks are not permitted.

Video formats and 35mm prints are accepted only with prior acknowledgment from the Festival. All video files will be converted into DCPs by the Festival appointed lab to ensure the best possible image and sound quality during playback. Only ProRes, ProRes 444, ProRes HQ are accepted video formats in these cases. Tapes or Blu-rays are not accepted as screening formats unless there are no alternatives and with prior acknowledgment from the Festival.

Detailed technical guidelines will be available along with the Festival regulations on the Festival website from the 1st of June 2022 and also provided along with a confirmation entry form.

The Festival reserves the right to refuse and withdraw the screening of the film from the competition or any other section if all requirements are not followed.

1.12.2 ONLINE SCREENINGS
Festival uses a VOD platform with Studio Grade DRM for screening films online.

1.12.2.1 Online screenings for film professionals and international press members only (ProScreen)
Screenings for the jury, accredited film professionals, and international press members are accessible globally via Festival accreditation.

All films that agree with online screenings must present the film in H264, 1920x1080p video format with stereo sound. In this case, we recommend a clean film file without hardcoded subtitles. The subtitles, if needed, must be presented as SRT or XML timed subtitles.

Detailed technical guidelines will be available for download along with the Festival regulations on the Festival website from 1st of June 2022 and also provided along with a confirmation entry form.

1.12.2.2 Public online screenings
Public screenings for audience in Estonia are geo-blocked outside of Estonia and can be limited to an agreed size of the audience.

All films that agree with online screenings must present the film in H264, 1920x1080p video format with stereo sound. In this case, we recommend a clean film file without hardcoded subtitles. The subtitles, if needed, must be presented as SRT or XML timed subtitles.

The Festival reserves the right to refuse and withdraw the screening of the film from the competition or any other section if all requirements are not followed.

Detailed technical guidelines will be available for download along with the Festival regulations on the Festival website from 1st of June 2022 and also provided along with a confirmation entry form.

1.13 Delivery of materials
All costs related to the shipping of publicity materials (posters, brochures, etc.) or any screeners are paid for by the submitter or film representative. Submitted preview copies may be returned to the submitter or forwarded only at the submitter’s expense.

All packages must be clearly marked with the title of the film, the sender’s / submitters name, return address, and telephone number as well as the Festival address:
Black Nights Film Festival

Costs related to the shipping of the physical DCP to the Festival are paid by the Festival unless otherwise agreed upon. Return shipping costs are covered by the Festival unless a screening copy is being sent to the next Festival for screening.

The Festival will return or forward the screening copies within 30 days from the end of the Festival unless instructed otherwise by the submitter or film representative. Returns before the Festival closing date must be agreed upon at least three weeks before the Festival, and cannot be guaranteed after that.

The Festival covers all expenses connected to the storage and insurance of the screening copies during the duration of the Festival.

In the event of damage to a copy during the event, the Festival limits its responsibility to the cost of having a new standard copy made at current laboratory rates.

1.14 Using the Festival logo
Films that have premiered at the Black Nights Film Festival are required to use the official logo of the Festival in their film’s publicity and promotional materials as well as add it to the DCP. We ask not to modify or alter the logo without prior written permission from the Festival.

Evaluation

  • Overall rating
Jury Profile
Jury Name Judge photos Jury Profile

Authorization type

    Proxy Submission

Duration (several sessions)

    26

Film Festival Features

  • Red Carpet
  • Celebrity Guest
  • Film Screen
  • Cash prize
  • Trophy
  • Copyright transactions
  • Prize
  • Certificate

Dates & Deadlines

  • 2022-03-01
    Submission start time

  • 2022-06-29
    Regular Deadline

  • 2022-08-15
    Extended Deadline

  • 2022-08-22
    Final submission deadline

  • 2022-08-22
    Submission end time

  • 2022-10-14
    Finalist notification start time

  • 2022-10-14
    Finalist notification end time

  • 2022-11-11
    Award ceremony start time

  • 2022-11-27
    Award ceremony end time

Categories and fees

  • Official Selection – Competition
    Video length :60 - 200
    The Official Selection – Competition is an international non-specialised competition presenting feature length (60 minutes and over) films from around the world completed after 15th of September 2020.

    2022/06/29
    Regular Deadline

    Standard: 90 Dollar

    Student: 90 Dollar

    2022/08/15
    Extended Deadline

    Standard: 105 Dollar

    Student: 105 Dollar

    2022/08/22
    Final submission deadline

    Standard: 125 Dollar

    Student: 125 Dollar

  • First Feature Competition
    Video length :60 - 300
    The First Feature Competition is an international competition for debut films. The competition presents feature length debut (60 minutes and over, first time feature film directing status) films from around the world completed after the 15th of September 2019.

    2022/06/29
    Regular Deadline

    Standard: 90 Dollar

    Student: 90 Dollar

    2022/08/15
    Extended Deadline

    Standard: 105 Dollar

    Student: 105 Dollar

    2022/08/22
    Final submission deadline

    Standard: 125 Dollar

    Student: 125 Dollar

  • Baltic Film Competition
    Video length :60 - 300
    The Baltic Film Competition presents feature length (60 minutes and over) films from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or with significant participation from one of these countries completed after 15th of September 2019.

    2022/06/29
    Regular Deadline

    Standard: 90 Dollar

    Student: 90 Dollar

    2022/08/15
    Extended Deadline

    Standard: 105 Dollar

    Student: 105 Dollar

    2022/08/22
    Final submission deadline

    Standard: 125 Dollar

    Student: 125 Dollar

  • Non-Competitive Programme
    Video length :60 - 300
    The non-competitive sections showcase new discoveries and a selection of the best picks from other film festivals, with programmes for genre films, documentaries, and themed sections for fashion, sports and more. We accept feature length (60 minutes and over) films from around the world completed after the 15th of September 2021. Films eligible for the non-competitive programme are feature length (60 minutes and over) either fiction or documentary from around the world completed after the 15th of September 2017 with a minimum requirement being their Estonian premiere.

    2022/06/29
    Regular Deadline

    Standard: 90 Dollar

    Student: 90 Dollar

    2022/08/15
    Extended Deadline

    Standard: 105 Dollar

    Student: 105 Dollar

    2022/08/22
    Final submission deadline

    Standard: 125 Dollar

    Student: 125 Dollar

  • Just Film youth and children’s film festival
    Video length :60 - 180
    Just Film youth and children’s film festival。

    2022/06/29
    Regular Deadline

    Standard: 82 Dollar

    Student: 82 Dollar

    2022/08/15
    Extended Deadline

    Standard: 100 Dollar

    Student: 100 Dollar

    2022/08/22
    Final submission deadline

    Standard: 117 Dollar

    Student: 117 Dollar

  • Rebels with a Cause Competition
    Video length :60 - 200
    Rebels with a Cause Competition programme showcases the untraditional means of expression of filmmaking, as well as innovative narrative or dramaturgy, symbiosis with other forms of art and new takes on technical solutions or in esthetics. The films must be completed after the 15th of September 2020. The minimum premiere requirement is a European Premiere. Priority will be given to films with a World, International or European premieres. The festival reserves the right to evaluate eligible films for the competition on a case by case basis.

    2022/06/29
    Regular Deadline

    Standard: 90 Dollar

    Student: 90 Dollar

    2022/08/15
    Extended Deadline

    Standard: 105 Dollar

    Student: 105 Dollar

    2022/08/22
    Final submission deadline

    Standard: 125 Dollar

    Student: 125 Dollar

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