Short of three months before the 28th FilmFestival Cottbus (FFC) opens on 6 November 2018, the opening film and the majority of the programme have already been confirmed. The passing of the official submission deadline on 1 August rang in the last round of viewings and selection of potential festival films. Once the final programme selection has been determined, the seven-strong team of researchers and curators will have watched a total of about 700 films.
COLD WAR | ZIMNA WOJNA is the opening film of the 28th FFC. Director Paweł Pawlikowski tells an emotional story laced with innuendo that is set in the Cold War period and influenced by his parents’ personal history. COLD WAR won him the Award for Best Director at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, among others. Pawlikowski was the first Polish film maker to win the Academy Award in the category Best Foreign Language Film in 2015 with his drama IDA.
“High-quality films illustrating the range of contemporary Central and Eastern European cinema obviously are given centre stage also in this year’s issue of the FilmFestival Cottbus”, says Programme Director Bernd Buder. The competitions Feature Film, Short Feature, U18 Youth Film and Cottbus Filmshow are augmented by the film series Spectrum, Russkiy Den, Polskie Horyzonty, Homeland | Domownja | Domizna, National Hits and Children’s Film. The festival’s main programme additionally features focus areas reflecting highly topical, political and social developments.
For instance, the film series Close Up UA presents the contemporary Ukrainian cinema that illustrates the process of a difficult search of identity in a country that is in a state of war, yet is at the same time heading for Europe.
With Regio Silesia, the FFC focuses on a region characterised by considerable structural change: Silesia. “For Lusatia”, explains Bernd Buder, “taking a look at Upper Silesia is clearly of interest here, where coal mining is being replaced by the development into a site for the service industry, electrical industry, the arts, culture and tourism.”
A series of films from various former socialist countries titled The Friend as Enemy investigates the mystery of what motivates people in authoritarian systems to abuse the trust of others, to spy on them and to betray loved ones.
The 28th FFC also focuses on the film country Georgia. “What is noticeable regarding contemporary Georgian feature and short films is the comparatively high number of female directors and figures of identification who address relevant contemporary topics”, Bernd Buder comments.
A selection of important films moreover familiarises FFC audiences with István Szabó’s oeuvre and outstanding films that had a determining influence on him. The Hungarian director and Honorary President of the FilmFestival Cottbus celebrated his 80th birthday in February 2018. Szabó was the first Hungarian film maker to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1982 with his drama MEPHISTO.
In the context of the 28th FilmFestival Cottbus, on 8 and 9 November, the East-West co-production market connecting cottbus (coco) will take place for the 20thtime. Over 120 feature film projects from 29 countries have been submitted, of which ten projects in their development stage and five post-production stage projects will be selected by mid-September.