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Annual gathering accompanied by award ceremony: The FilmFestival Cottbus and connecting cottbus provide insight into the year ahead in Berlin

Festivals 2017-02-17

This Wednesday the FilmFestival Cottbus and the East-West co-production market connecting cottbus (coco) celebrated the onset of the new year at the traditional East European Brunch, held to coincide with the Berlinale, within the framework of which two awards were conferred.

Events were kicked off with the conferment by Dr. Gertraude Müller-Ernstberger,
director of the Munich based Agency for Film and Television Rights (GWFF), together
with FilmFestival Cottbus Programme Director Bernd Buder, of a scholarship to the value
of 4,500 EUR to Radka Babincová. The twenty-three-year-old Slovak, currently a student
of production at the Academy of Performing Arts (VŠMU) in Bratislava, can point to
experience in the fields of short film, content development and film distribution. “I'm
overwhelmed by the conferment of this award. The scholarship will help me to fulfil my
dream of studying at the University of California's (UCLA) School of Theatre, Film and
Television after graduating in Bratislava”, said the happy scholarship holder, who went
on to thank the FilmFestival Cottbus and the GWFF for the award.
Prior to this opening award ceremony Bernd Buder, following on from welcoming
speeches from Brandenburg State Secretary Martin Goholt (Plenipotentiary of
Brandenburg to the Federation and Commissioner for International Affairs) and
Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg managing director Kirsten Niehuus, gave those
present a brief preview of this year's 27th festival programme. Alongside the three
competition categories, feature film, youth film and short film, which will again
encompass the fascinating diversity of East European cinema, the festival will feature
ten additional programme sections aimed at audiences both young and old. The
FilmFestival Cottbus will furthermore again bridge the gap between international cinema
and regional filmmaking. “This year the FilmFestival Cottbus intends to place particular
emphasis on history and politics”, explains Bernd Buder with reference to this year's
Specials: “The 'Focus' will take a look at the Vietnamese diaspora in (Eastern) Germany,
Poland and the Czech Republic, thus reflecting on a significant chapter from the history
of migration that covers diverse forms of migration such as flight from violent conflict
and economically-motivated migration. Further Specials sections will be dedicated to
Belarus, home to a little-known film industry that is currently witnessing the growth of
an independent scene, as well as the multicultural region of Upper Silesia, long
characterised by a traditionally pronounced sense of regional identity. To mark the
occasion of the centenary of the October Revolution the film series 'Fraternal Kiss!
Vision and Everyday Existence of the Socialist Age', which will be taken on a nationwide
tour in the run-up to the festival, looks at how Eastern Europe's filmmakers havereflected on the contradictions between socialist utopia and everyday life, as well as
ideology and a longing for freedom, beginning with the onset of the Cold War. The need
to scrutinise and reflect on system-induced deficiencies is especially acute at a time
when facts are trampled underfoot and populist governments with an open disdain for
the rule of law are on the rise.”
As has now become tradition, the East-West co-production market connecting cottbus,
which takes place parallel to the FilmFestival Cottbus, also handed out an award: the
Special Pitch Award went to Jan P. Matuszyński from Poland. Having featured with his
debut film THE LAST FAMILY in the Feature Film Competition of last year's 26th
FilmFestival Cottbus, he was awarded the Award for Best Debut Film, financed by the
BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and the Film University Babelsberg and worth a total of 3,000
EUR. The accolade was accepted on Matuszyński's behalf by his producer Leszek Bodzak.
The Special Pitch Award furthermore offers the winner the chance to attend coco 2017
(9-10th November), where he and a producer are to present the director's latest project.
connecting cottbus, one of the industry's longest established co-production markets, has
long established itself as a centre of expertise for those interested in exchanging
experience and knowledge on East-West feature film co-productions. This year coco is
due to present ten carefully curated film projects, all of which either originate in Eastern
Europe or bear relation to the region. In the words of coco director Rebekka Garrido: “a
number of coco films have gone on to be real success stories, with several featuring at
the Academy Awards. Amongst recent Oscar submissions, THE HIGH SUN, A GOOD WIFE
and KILLS ON WHEELS really stood out from the crowd. We are all very much looking
forward to the 19th coco, to take place in November 2017.”
The 27th FilmFestival Cottbus will take place between November 7th and 12th 2017. Last
year, over the course of six festival days, a total of over 200 films from forty-five
countries drew in excess of 20,000 visitors to screenings and the festival's supporting
programme. The FilmFestival Cottbus is generously supported by the Federal State of
Brandenburg, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the city of Cottbus, as well as the
European Union's Creative Europe – MEDIA-Programme, the German Federal Foreign
Office and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).

Last modified on 2017-02-17