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07-11-2010

FNE at Cottbus: White, White World takes Cottbus Main Prize

Written by Cathy Meils

COTTBUS, GERMANY: White, White World, a Serbian/German/Swedish coproduction directed by Oleg Novkovic and a powerful statement on post-war Serbia, won the main prize of the 20th Cottbus Film Festival (2-7 November 2011, www.filmfestivalcottbus.de). The Hungarian/Dutch/Austrian coproduction Adrienn Pal (www.kmhfilm.hu), which was awarded the first FNE/Visegrad Prix in October, earned three awards, including best director for Agnes Kocsis, best actress for Eva Gabor, and the prize of the Ecumenical Jury. Estonia's Taavi Eelmaa took the best actor award for The Temptation of St. Tony (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) directed by Veiko Ounpuu. The Hungarian film Vespa (www.tivolifilms.com) directed by Diana Groo and screening in the Spectrum section, won the prize for intercultural communication.

Festival manager Andreas Stein told FNE that festival attendance showed a rise this year, with several films playing to sold out audiences. The temporary closing of Cottbus's historic cinema in the city center, the oldest in Germany, saw some screenings moved to a suburban mall cinema; however, Stein said, next year the refurbished historic site will reopen with two screens, a welcome boost for a festival that has earned its spot as one of the leading festivals in the region.

A large part of that reputation rides on Festival Director Roland Rust's determination more than 12 years ago to bring together German and Central European producers under the forum of Connecting Cottbus (www.connecting-cottbus.de), now the dean of pitching forums for CEE films.

Both the Cottbus Festival and Connecting Cottbus signaled a shift in the "East European" moniker this year. Rust repositioned Cottbus as the "globalEAST" festival, noting what he termed the "easternization" of the world and adding CEE influenced films from territories as diverse as Bollywood and Brazil. Connecting Cottbus artistic director Gabriele Brunnenmeyer (in her final year in that position) expanded the forum to include pitches from the Middle East (Israel) and Central Asia (Azerbaijan), choosing projects that resonated with German and CEE producers and funders. The city of Cottbus did its part, too. Visitors to early editions of the festival would scarcely recognize the crumbling and faded East German town of 20 years ago in the polished facades of this now-lovely destination spot.

The remainder of the festival awards follow:

International Film Guide Inspiration Award: Tilva Ros (Serbia)

Special Mention: Another Sky (Russia)

Short Film Main Award: Sea of Desires (Russia)

Special Prize (short film): Music in the Blood (Romania/France)

GWFF Promotion Prize: Anastasia Posnova

DEFA Foundation Prize: Tales of Defeated (Israel/Germany)

Cottbus Discovery Award: Tales of Defeated (Israel/Germany)

Audience Award: The Light Thief (Kyrgyzstan/Germany/France/Netherlands)

FIPRESCI Prize: Another Sky (Russia)

Debut Film Prize: Another Sky (Russia)

German/Polish Youth Competition: All That I Love (Poland)

EY 2010 Special Award: Hanoi Warsaw (Poland)