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goEast 2018: Films from Estonia, Hungary and Serbia Win Big

Festivals 2018-04-25

Main Award for NOVEMBER, Best Director goes to Bernadett Tuza-Ritter for A WOMAN CAPTURED

The 18th edition of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film came to a successful conclusion on 24 April with an extensive awards ceremony at Wiesbaden’s Caligari FilmBühne. Following an exciting week of cinema, virtual reality, lectures, discussions and workshops featuring 103 films and over 200 guests from the international film scene, the winners of the competitions were honoured at the festive event, where awards representing a total value of 30,000 euros were presented. 

The Golden Lily, the Award for Best Film, went to NOVEMBER (Estonia, Netherlands, Poland 2017, Director: Rainer Sarnet; Production: Katrin Kissa). The five-member jury headed by Ildikó Enyedi explained its decision with the exceptional, outstanding realisation by the director, for the courage of the producer to fight for this vision. “For the powerful vision, the true poetry, the free humour, and to the whole team believing in it and giving their talent and passion, the Award for the Best Film goes to the film NOVEMBER”, according to the jury. Rainer Sarnet's dark folklore fairy tale in high-contrast black and white receives prize money of 10,000 euros.

Director Bernadett Tuza-Ritter won the Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director, endowed with prize money of 7,500 euros, with her film A WOMAN CAPTURED (Hungary, Germany 2017). In particular, the jury emphasized the accuracy and wisdom of the selection for the best expression to tell the story. “For the bravery of the minimalistic approach, and for directing in a tender and a patient way not only the film, but also the life of the protagonist, the Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director goes to Bernadett Tuza-Ritter.”

Festival director Heleen Gerritsen emphasised: “I am enthusiastic about the loyal goEast core audience, who met with great passion in the cinema, participated in film talks and was very open-minded about our innovations such as virtual reality. As a new director, you feel right at home. Every evening, star directors, young filmmakers, documentary filmmakers, animation artists, VR artists and festival guests from various countries met at the festival center and talked and celebrated with vodka until late at night. goEast is really a festival of encounters!”

The film THE OTHER SIDE OF EVERYTHING (Serbia, France, Qatar 2017; Director Mila Turajlić) on the protests that led to the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević won the Award of the Federal Foreign Office for Cultural Diversity (4,000 euros). According to a statement from the jury, the film captures a deeply personal story. “The film gives a unique view into the life of a strong woman swimming against the tide. It draws attention to an important topic of today:  the fragility and vulnerability of democracy.”

In addition, the jury honoured REZO (Russia 2017; director: Levan Gabriadze) with honourable mentions. “The heart-warming family story set among the waves of the history of the 20th century, told with humour and humanity. The form of the film fits the topic brilliantly.”

The International Film Critic's Award (FIPRESCI Prize) went to ICE MOTHER (Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, France 2017; director: Bohdan Sláma) in the fiction feature category. A middle-aged widow breaks the constraints of stifling conventions and enjoys her discovery of another life-style. “The mise en scène of her hilarious choices, with its strong echo of the absurd, leads to surprising changes.” The social satire inspires with its vitality, so the jury.

A WOMAN CAPTURED (Hungary, Germany 2017, director: Bernadett Tuza-Ritter) won the FIPRESCI prize for best documentary. The film about the exploitation of an unpaid servant in a latter-day family is a striking portrait of a brave woman’s struggle for freedom. “We have chosen this German-Hungarian production because of the coherence of its point of view, for its artistic rigor and its social impact.”

Artist duo Denis Semenov and Natalia Severina won the Virtual Reality Competition’s Open Frame Award, made possible with the generous support of BHF BANK Foundation for their work NOMINAL EMPIRE (Russia 2018). The prize is endowed with 5,000 euros. The jury statement states: "The imaginative engagement with one's own history is consistently translated into expressive pictorial worlds. The viewer has the opportunity to gain aesthetic experience in a postmodern world and to move freely in the dystopian mind-set of the makers.” With the first place the jury honours the exceptional conceptual and technical achievements of this artist couple.
An honourable mention was received HERE AND THERE (Belarus 2017) by Kiryll Halitsky. The threatening victory of everyday life over the creative work of an author will be implemented excellently.

The project RETURN MY HANDS by Konstantin Selin was awarded the goEast Development Award (3,500 euros) with the kind support of Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, for the best pitch at the East-West Talent Lab. The protagonist of RETURN MY HANDS uses his skills as a surgeon specialised in fingers and limbs to attract an audience for his filmmaking. "Two opposing worlds: microsurgery and filmmaking – Konstantin Selin's view on the Russian health care system is humorous and disturbing”, explained the jury. An honorable mention was given to INHABITANTS by Mery Aghakhanyan. Strong in both social relevance and visual style, this documentary project brings us to the forgotten inhabitants of an Armenian container settlement for displaced persons.

The 18th edition of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film took place from 18 to 24 April in Wiesbaden, Germany. Among the festival’s many highlights were personal appearances by internationally celebrated filmmakers such as Boris Khlebnikov, Ildikó Enyedi and Ābrams Kleckins. Under the title “Hybrid Identities – Baltic Cinema”, this year’s goEast Symposium was also met with great interest by both film scholars and the general public alike.

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An overview of all goEast 2018 prize winners:

Best Film
NOVEMBER
Estonia, Netherlands, Poland 2017; Director: Rainer Sarnet; Production: Katrin Kissa

Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director 
A WOMAN CAPTURED
Hungary, Germany 2017; Director: Bernadett Tuza-Ritter

Award of the Federal Foreign Office for Cultural Diversity
THE OTHER SIDE OF EVERYTHING
Serbia, France, Qatar 2017; Director: Mila Turajlić

International Film Critic's Award (FIPRESCI Prize) – Feature Film
ICE MOTHER
Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Franc 2017; Director: Bohdan Sláma

International Film Critic's Award (FIPRESCI Prize) – Documentary
A WOMAN CAPTURED
Hungary, Germany 2017; Director: Bernadett Tuza-Ritter

Open Frame Award
NOMINAL EMPIRE
Russia 2018; Denis Semenov and Natalia Severina

goEast Development Award
RETURN MY HANDS
Konstantin Selin