BERLIN: Veteran Polish director Agnieszka Holland delivers a strong Berlin competition entry with Mr Jones a Polish, UK, Ukrainian coproduction that is sure to draw widespread attention because of the true story it’s based on as well as the renown of its director.

BERLIN:German director Angela Schanelec’s Berlin Golden Bear contender I Was At Home But/ Ich war zuhause, aber is a small scale domestic drama about a middle-class family in crisis.  The Berlinale main competition slot will bring more followers to this director whose previous films have already done the rounds of the festival circuit. But a German female director in the main competition in the Berlinale is already a reason to focus attention on a film that is sure to divide critics and audiences between those who will consider it pretentious and those who are ready to see a more profound meaning behind its basic storyline.

BERLIN: German Turkish director Faith Akin has scored a slot in the competition lineup with The Golden Glove, a grim, violent story that reconstructs the case of 1970s serial killer Fritz Honka.  Akin is a favourite with festival audiences and a winner of the Berlinale Golden Bear in 2004 with his film Head-On but this unremittingly dark story based on Heinz Strunk’s 2016 crime novel, about a socially depraved, violent criminal, driven by misogyny, sexual greed and sentimentality will leave many of Akin’s fans scratching their heads and wondering where the humour, charm and irony of his previous films has gone.

MOSCOW: The Secret of a Leader (Kazakhstan) directed by Farkhat Sharipov took home the Golden George for Best Film at the 41st Moscow International Film Festival, but there was no doubt that the star event of the festival was the gala screening of Ralph Fiennes’s Nureyev biopic White Crow with the director in attendance.

CANNES: Films from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland were selected for Cannes’ Cinéfondation competition. Majority and minority coproductions from Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina were selected for Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week, and also for France’s Association for the Diffusion of Independent Cinema (ACID).

BUCHAREST: Romanian writer/director Corneliu Porumboiu enters Cannes’ competition for the first time with the Romanian/French/German coproduction The Whistlers/La Gomera starring Vlad Ivanov. La Gomera is the only film from CEE countries selected in the Cannes’ lineup. The Official Selection was announced on 18 April 2019.

MOSCOW: The Oscar nominated Cold War directed by Pawel Pawlikowski won awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Cinematography at the second edition of the East West Golden Arch awards, a new prize launched last year for films from the 32 countries of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

MOSCOW: Latvian director Dāvis Sīmanis has scored a slot in the main competition for the 41. Moscow International Film Festival with The Mover / Tevs Nakts. The film, set in Riga against the backdrop of WWII, is about a Latvian worker who shelters Jews during the German occupation.

ST PETERSBURG: A colloquium on contemporary Russian film organised together with FIPRESCI took place from 13-15 November 2017 at Lenfilm Studios in the run-up to the St Petersburg Cultural Forum which took place on 16-18 November this year.  The event took place within the framework of the forum.

BERLIN: The 69th Berlin Film Festival (7-17 February 2019) awarded its top prize in the main competition to the French/Israeli/German coproduction Synonyms directed by Nadav Lapid. The last Berlinale under outgoing festival director Dieter Kosslick was a strong year for German films, which won prizes as the producers or coproducers of not only the Best Film but also the Silver Bear –Alfred Bauer Prize, the Best Doc Prize and the Best First Feature Prize.