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goEast 2018: Cinema in a Changing Europe

Festivals 2018-04-03

goEast Competition // Jury // Awards

Curtain up for Małgorzata Szumowska’s MUG, the opening film of the 18th edition of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film in Wiesbaden, Germany. The polish director’s film is screening out of competition, though it fits seamlessly into the Competition program, goEast’s centrepiece, which showcases socially critical, personal, epic and absurd cinema from Central and Eastern Europe. “Artistic diversity, courage and originality are characteristic for our Competition program,” says festival director Heleen Gerritsen. “In spite of increasing nationalism in many countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Cold War rhetoric going back and forth, I see many countertrends in the region’s cinema, for instance an astonishing number of transnational co-productions were submitted this year, incidentally also including many strong films from female directors.” All of the productions featured in the Competition tell of individuals attempting to assert their identities in times of change.

Awards and Jury
In the Competition as usual 16 films will be competing against one another, ten fiction features and six documentaries. 14 productions will be celebrating their German premieres at goEast. An international, five-member jury will determine the winner of the awards: the Golden Lily 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). Oscar® nominated Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi will serve as 2018’s jury president. Further members of the jury are Gennady Kofman, artistic director of Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival from Ukraine, Slovakian producer and director Peter Kerekes, Polish film actor Mateusz Kościukiewicz and Russian-born filmmaker, screenwriter and VJane Elena Tikhonova. FIPRESCI will be represented by their own dedicated jury, which will honour the best fiction feature and best documentary respectively with the International Film Critic's Award.

The complete film program is now available as download PDF:
http://archiv.filmfestival-goeast.de/downloads/goEast_Program_2018_web.pdf

goEast Competition
The Polish production ONCE UPON A TIME IN NOVEMBER (PEWNEGO RAZU W LISTOPADZIE, POL, 2017) by director Andrzej Jakimowski uses documentary images from Warsaw marches staged by right-wing extremists as a backdrop for the portrayal of one family’s social decline. The absurd found-footage satire OUR NEW PRESIDENT(RUS/USA, 2018) shows the US-American presidential campaign from a Russian perspective, in a collage composed of bizarre excerpts from state television broadcasts and YouTube fragments. Director Maxim Pozdorovkin previously made the documentary PUSSY RIOT, A PUNK PRAYER, among other films.
In the documentary THE OTHER SIDE OF EVERYTHING (DRUGA STRANA SVEGA, SRB/FRA/QAT, 2017) director Mila Turajlic reflects on the legacy of the Serbian civil war and links the country’s story with that of her own family history. The film won the main award at the 2017 edition of IDFA, the world’s largest documentary film festival.
The debut film FALLING (STRIMHOLOV, UKR, 2017, directed by Marina Stepanska) is a drama set in post-revolution Ukraine characterised by interwoven generational conflicts and characters in search of love and identity. A further debut film in the program: the Kosovar-Albanian LGBTQ drama THE MARRIAGE (MARTESA, RKS/ALB, 2017) by director Blerta Zeqiri. The film’s main character is faced with a tough decision: whether to continue to hide his own sexuality from the outside world and get married, or follow his former lover abroad. “Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo only agree about one thing: there’s no place for homosexuals in their society,” as the director puts it.
Based on a true story, the fiction feature THE MINER (RUDAR, SVN/DEU, 2017, directed by Hanna Slak) focuses on the discovery of a massacre which took place sixty years ago. In the main role: Leon Lučev. The historically weighty family drama AURORA BOREALIS (HUN, 2017) by grande dame Márta Meszaros, to whom goEast devoted 2017’s Homage, starts off in present-day Austria and Hungary and then sets out on a cinematic journey – back to the time of the Soviet occupation.
Other productions featured in the section also focus on unusual life paths. The black comedy MIRACLE (STEBUKLAS, LTU/BUL/POL, 2017, directed by Egle Vertelyte) is set in the post-Soviet desolation of the early 1990s. The life of kolkhoz director Irena is turned upside down by the sudden appearance of a flamboyant American entrepreneur. Director Bohdan Sláma is competing for the second time at goEast: in his tragicomedy ICE MOTHER (BABA Z LEDU, CZE/SVK/FRA, 2017) widow Hana breaks out of the monotony of her sad everyday existence and discovers the joy of ice swimming in winter. The documentary A WOMAN CAPTURED (HUN/DEU, 2017, directed by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter) offers a disturbing look at the everyday life of a domestic slave – right in the middle of Europe. A powerful portrait, representing the struggle of the estimated 1.2 million individuals held as slaves in private European households. In the unusual thriller SVETA (KAZ, 2017, directed by Zhanna Issabayeva) a deaf Russian woman in contemporary Kazakhstan sheds the role of the victim and takes revenge on society. 
THE DEAD NATION (TARA MOARTA, ROU, 2017, directed by Radu Jude) combines photographic portraits, diary entries from a Jewish doctor and excerpts from radio broadcasts into a collage on life and increasing anti-Semitism in Romania in the period between 1937 and 1946. THE ANCIENT WOODS (SENGIRE, LTU/EST/DEU, 2017) is a poetic nature film about the hidden life to be found in one of Europa’s few remaining primeval forests. Director and cameraman Mindaugas Survila’s lovely film gets along just fine without music or voice-over commentary. In REZO (ZNAESH‘, MAMA, GDE YA BYL, RUS, 2017) fancifully animated images are combined into a rapturous whole to relate the story of Revaz “Rezo” Gabriaze’s life in Georgia. Colourful characters such as Stalin, Lenin and even a prisoner of war from Wiesbaden make appearances in Rezo’s childhood memories. The film was directed by his son Levan Gabriadze and produced by Timur Bekmambetov (NIGHT WATCH).
A sombre fairy tale atmosphere reigns in NOVEMBER (EST/NDL/POL, 2017, directed by Rainer Sarnet). In a pagan village, werewolves, ghosts and the plague are running rampant and b-movie actor Dieter Laser (The Human Centipede) appears here in a supporting role as a German nobleman. Multi-award-winning cameraman Mart Taniel shot the story in high-contrast black and white. Russian director (with Uzbek roots) Rustam Khamdamov also chose black and white for his surreal folktale THE BOTTOMLESS BAG (MESHOK BEZ DNA, RUS, 2017). Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s RASHOMON served as inspiration for tales read by a Russian lady-in-waiting that lead deep into an enchanted Medieval forest, which is simultaneously the scene of a mystifying murder.

The cinematic narrative styles of the films featured in this year’s goEast Competition are as diverse as the societies from which they originate. An exciting race is guaranteed!

Save the date: On 12 April at 11 a.m., the goEast press conference will take place at Caligari FilmBühne in Wiesbaden.