The EurAsia competition programme returns to the POFF for an eighth year running. This year it has what seems to be the optimum number of films – 18. That is how many films vie for awards at major festivals; sometimes the number there is even fewer.
Black Nights has positioned itself as a festival that takes place in northeastern Europe. And indeed that is where we are – in the somewhere between the festivals in Warsaw, Stockholm, St. Petersburg and now – likewise an annual event – the Riga Arsenals film festival. The Tridens Baltic competition programme should offer a good view of what is happening in that part of the world in the sphere of film. EurAsia has a total of two Estonian films this year and both have important things to say. It is a shame nothing of the same calibre was found from our southern neighbours this year.
Naturally audiences will cheer a Polish film, which brings us the postwar conflicts familiar to us from the Estonian drama “Tuulte pesa”, plus border-related ethnic problems; Britain’s “We Need to talk about Kevin” will remind Estonians of the phenomenon of the film “The Class”; while Russia’s “Elena” and its analysis of the morality of different generations is reminiscent of our own society. But part of an international festival is about introducing new films into circulation. A Kazakh film will make its world premiere here; and an Uzbek film, its international debut.
All of the films are fresh, current. The ones from Ukraine, Romania, India, Iran and Iceland are the first full-length features by their respective directors. On the other hand, Japan’s Shinya Tsukamoto had a previous entry competing in Tallinn back in 2005 and Philippine director Auraeus Solito, in 2006. The oldest director this year is the Chinese filmmaker Ann Hui (64) and the youngest is the 30-year-old Bengali filmmaker Aditi Roy. Besides Hui and Roy, two other films were made by women directors.
Of the 16 Oscar nominees for best foreign language film in POFF programme, we chose only three for EurAsia: the Estonian, Chinese/Hong Kong and Icelandic entries (to be precise, we chose the films before they were nominated).
For those who follow festival history, I would add that the POFF is the oldest one with an EurAsia competition programme. Astana in Kazakhstan introduced such a programme in 1998, but there was a hiatus that lasted until 2005, which was when Turkey’s Antalya Golden Orange festival introduced its own. POFF had the first EurAsia competition programme in 2004.
EurAsia competition programme host