Tallinn announces Official Selection

UK director Gerard Johnson shows Muscle

by Amber Wilkinson

Craig Fairbrass in Muscle
Craig Fairbrass in Muscle Photo: Courtesy of Tallinn Black Nights
British director Gerard Johnson (Tony, Hyena) will be among the filmmakers vying for the Grand Prix at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival this year, as Muscle makes its international premiere in the Official Selection.

The thriller, starring Cavan Clerkin and Craig Fairbrass, follows a shy call centre worker, who joins a gym to improve his lot, only for his personal trainer to insinuate his way into his life.

The Estonian festival completed its competition line-up yesterday, with films screening from five continents, including seven world, five international and one European premiere to the previously announced eight films. They include Irish actor-turned-director Tom Sullivan's Monster (Arracht), a historic drama set in 1845, that sees a fisherman go on the run for crimes he didn't commit.

Among the established names competing this year, are Wayne Wang - who brings Coming Home Again to the festival - and Konstantin Lopushansky, who previously won the Eurasian Competition with The Role and this year brings Through Black Glass.

Festival director and head of programme Tiina Lokk said: "From sweeping historical dramas and artsy genre exercises to author drama in its purest form, we can say that this is a selection that really encapsulates what we are after with our selection philosophy - fresh takes on old tropes, creative voices breaking apart from the traditions of their geographical context, mixed with audience and critic-pleasing quality. In the midst of it all, a filmmaker who has been one of my personal heroes since his breakout films in the Nineties."

The Official Selection - competition has been run in its present form since the festival received it’s ‘A-category’ status from FIAPF in 2014.

The programme will be overseen by an international jury of film industry professionals, that will be announced in November. They will hand out the following prizes: Grand Prix for the Best Film (grant of €10,000 euros from the City of Tallinn, shared by the director and producer); Best Director (grant of €5,000 euros); Best Script; Best Actress; Best Actor; Best Cinematographer (grant of €1000 from Angel Films); Best Music.

The first screenings of the Official Selection will run between the November 20 and 29th in the latter stages of the festival, which kicks off on November 15.

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