Humanities Blog

Rahul Sharma: a broader overview of PÖFF in the weekly newspaper Sirp

From programming to publishing: LVF’s Roadmap in 2022 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF).


The Literature, Visual Culture and Film Studies interdisciplinary program gave us the opportunity to closely work with the 22nd Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (known as  PÖFF in Estonian). For the “Practical Training” component as part of our program, we were put in touch with Simona Sternberg (programming coordinator) and Tiina Lokk-Tramberg (Tallinn Black Night Film Festival’s director).

Over the course of our summer break, we watched around 100 films that featured in the sections “Official Selection” or “First Feature Competition.” We were asked to write a few lines about each of them, in order to suggest whether or not they would aptly fit in the programming sections of the festival. We did not just respond critically to each of them but also gave our emotive responses, juxtaposing the mindset of a film scholar to that of a cinemagoer. Amalgamating these rather contrary responses (critical and emotional) helped us create a balanced praxis, in terms of judging the works, which encompassed several continents and deployed varied styles. Our suggestions were taken into consideration when the final selections were made by the programming committees - responsible for different programs.

As a reward for our work over the summer, Tallinn Black Night Film Festival awarded us a free pass to attend as many screenings as possible during the course of the festival which lasted from 11th to 27th November. After attending several screenings and having watched several films over the course of the internship, I decided to write an article about the festival, along with Iveta Aare (currently pursuing PhD in English Studies, but graduated from LVF in 2022). Our professor, Teet Teinemaa, helped us contact Sirp’s editor-in-chief, Tristan Priimägi. (Sirp is a leading cultural newspaper in Estonia that promotes film, literature, arts and languages). Instead of individualized film reviews, Sirp wanted us to produce a larger yet concise overview piece in order to highlight various films that played across Black Nights Film Festival. Thematically, we explored films that touched upon themes of rural communities, children’s tragedies, abuse and trauma, youthful love and anxiety as well as natural disasters.

The article was originally written in English. Tristan Priimägi helped us translate our work into Estonian for Sirp.

Link to the Article