Countdown to goEast Opening: From Genre Cinema to Human Rights Advocacy
At its 16th edition goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film (20 to 26 April) is placing central socio-political questions squarely in its focus. The festival, hosted by Deutsches Filminstitut, will show the best current film productions from Central and Eastern Europe, a total of 100 films from 25 countries, including one world premiere, two international premieres and 21 German premieres, as Festival Director Gaby Babic shared at a press conference today, Thursday, at Wiesbaden’s Caligari FilmBühne. She was also happy to announce the start of a new project aimed at young filmmaking talent.
The festival week will kick off on Wednesday, 20 April, at 9:30 PM at Caligari FilmBühne with Academy Award winner Danis Tanovic’s newest film DEATH IN SARAJEVO (Bosnia-Herzegovina/France, 2016), which was honoured with a Silver Bear at this year’s Berlinale. Lead actress Snežana Vidovic and co-producer Adis Djapo will be on hand for the screening and take questions from the audience and film critic Rudolf Worschech (epd Film) directly following the film.
Once again this year the festival has placed many topics on its agenda that are as exciting and relevant from a socio-political point of view as they are from a cinema-tic perspective. Festival Director Gaby Babic gave a preview of the programme at the press conference: „Our Competition for Fiction Features and Documentaries features 16 thematically and stylistically multifaceted and promising productions. From gripping thrillers and extravagant musicals all the way to arthouse fare, our programme has everything. Generational conflicts make themselves felt as a recurrent theme. ‘Eastern genre cinema’ is one of our focuses this year and offers our audience here the opportunity to explore widely unfamiliar terrain. We are also taking up the banner against the phenomenon of focussed misanthropy directed at groups, otherwise known as ‘othering’. We’re showing around 20 films on this complex set of issues and are very excited to launch the project OPPOSE OTHERING! together with Foundation ‘Remembrance, Responsibility and Future’ (EVZ).”
Claudia Dillmann, Director of Deutsches Filminstitut, called attention to the special significance and political necessity of the festival: „With the founding of goEast, we were driven at the time by the idea of creating a deeper understanding of the cultural and political landscapes of our neighbours to the East. These days we are not merely acting as intermediaries between Eastern Europe and a native German audience any more. Much more so than that, the festival has developed into an important platform for all of the cultures of Central and Eastern Europe, one where all participants very deliberately seek out dialogue with one another. Especially regarding sensitive topics such as the continuing conflict between Russia and Ukraine or misanthropy directed at groups, which – both here and there – has been particularly in the spotlight over the past months due to migration issues.”
Rose-Lore Scholz, Head of Cultural Affairs for the Hessen State Capital of Wiesbaden, praised the festival’s ambitious programme: „goEast has put together an impressive festival once again this year with an eclectic selection of the region’s best film productions and an equally impressive commitment to socio-political issues. Cultural co-operations between Western, Eastern and Arab filmmakers are being encouraged and projects in the area of filmmaking as human rights advocacy are being supported. Filmmakers and festivalgoers receive the opportunity to participate in cultural exchange. The State Capital of Wiesbaden has supported this engagement from the beginning and wishes all festival attendees stimulating intercultural encounters and pleasurable cinematic experiences at Caligari FilmBühne.”
Dr. Helmut Müller, CEO of Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, explained: „goEast is an innovative film festival with an excellent programme. How innovative it is, well the next days will testify to that. With our eyes on the future, Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain is delighted to realise the East-West Talent Lab together with goEast. In addition to diverse workshops and opportunities for network building, this comprehensive development programme for young filmmaking talent offers young filmmakers the possibility to present their work and project ideas in public – and to receive valuable feedback from a jury made up of renowned representatives of their fields.”
Awards with a Total Value of 45,000 Euros
A five-member international jury will award prizes within the Competition for Fiction Features and Documentaries with a total value of 21,500 euros: the Award for Best Film (10,000 euros), the Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director (7,500 euros) and the Award of the Federal Foreign Office for Cultural Diversity (4,000 euros). In addition, a jury representing FIPRESCI will present the International Film Critic’s Award (FIPRESCI Prize).
Presiding over the fate of the entries to the Competition will be an international jury, whose members were revealed by Festival Director Gaby Babic during the press conference: The jury will be chaired by Slovenian director and cameraman Karpo Godina, one of the most important representatives of the Yugoslav Black Wave, which was the subject of the goEast Symposium in 2013. Godina will be supported by film scholar Ewa Mazierska, Miroslav Mogorovic, the Serbian producer of NO ONE’S CHILD, winner of the Award for Best Film at goEast 2015, Berlinale Shooting Star Tihana Lazovic from Croatia and Lenka Tyrpakova, programme director of the „East of the West” section at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
In the Experimental Film and Video Art Competition a three-member jury will present the Open Frame Award, which is endowed with prize money in the amount of 5,000 euros. The best pitch in the framework of the East-West Talent Lab will be honoured with the goEast Development Award, with prize money in the amount of 3,500 euros. For the newly launched development project OPPOSE OTHERING! the five best film ideas presented by the participating directorial teams will receive production grants of 3,000 euros each.
An Overview of the Highlights of the 16th Edition of goEast
The festival is deepening its commitment to supporting young filmmaking talent and offering no less than three development projects for its 16th edition: the newly launched OPPOSE OTHERING!, Young Filmmakers for Peace and the established East-West Talent Lab. The whole programme for the section Beyond Belonging also revolves around the topic of othering: Under the title „Us and Them? Otherness and Othering”, 20 films will examine various manifestations of misanthropy directed at groups. This year’s Portrait features cult classics from Poland: The retrospective is dedicated to Juliusz Machulski, director, screenwriter and producer of some of the most successful Polish productions of the past 35 years. The Symposium is also devoted to genre cinema: With the title „In the Shadows: Crime and the Daily Grind in Central and Eastern European Genre Cinema post 1945”, the section will tackle Germany’s favourite genre – in its Eastern European manifestation – and will show unique takes on the crime film that have remained widely unknown and underappreciated in these climes. In addition, the Specials section offers an extensive selection of diverse events, starting with the beloved Sunday Matinee, with this year’s guest of honour, Academy Award winning Czech director Jiri Menzel.
To celebrate the occasion of the Polish director’s 90th birthday, goEast is showing four films from old master Andrzej Wajda. Moscow-based human rights lawyer Svetlana Sidorkina will report on the case of the imprisoned Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov and the situation of political prisoners in Russia at a solidarity event. And lastly, goEast promises a very special cinematic experience with its Drive-In Cinema at Wiesbaden’s Dern’sches Gelände.
goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film is hosted by Deutsches Filminstitut and supported by numerous partners. The festival is primarily funded by the Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts, the State Capital Wiesbaden, Foundation „Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” (EVZ), Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland, BHF-BANK Foundation, the Adolf und Luisa Haeuser-Stiftung für Kunst und Kulturpflege, the Federal Foreign Office, the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation, Deutsch-Tschechische Zukunftsfonds, Krušovice and Renovabis. Media partners include among others 3sat, the FAZ, hr-iNFO and sensor.
goEast Festival Office