26. FilmFestival Cottbus | Award Winners

    Ivan I. Tverdovskiy takes the Main Award at the 26th FilmFestival Cottbus

    The 26th FilmFestival Cottbus culminated on Saturday with the conferment of its much-sought after LUBINA awards, as well as prize money amounting to an approximate 80,000 EUR.

    On the occasion of the festival's 26th anniversary Dietmar Woidke, Minister-President of the Federal State of Brandenburg, stressed the continued relevance of the FilmFestival Cottbus: "This year the festival's outstanding selection of films has again impressed visitors and film critics alike, thus providing renewed justification of its reputation as the leading festival of East European Film in Europe. As well as providing an impressive overview of contemporary East European filmmaking, the festival furthermore serves as a cultural ambassador for the federal state of Brandenburg."

    The festival's Award for Best Film, worth 25,000 EUR and financed by the Munich-based Agency for Film and Television Rights (GWFF) was this year won by Ivan I. Tverdovskiy with ZOOLOGIYA/ZOOLOGY, the story of zoo employee Natasha who finds herself transformed into an animal of sorts, as she grows a tail which proves a source of excitement, uncertainty and terror amongst her contemporaries, whilst throwing up questions that neither institutionalised religion nor medicine are able to find answers to. In the words of the international festival jury: "The Main Prize for Best Film goes to a film which perfectly unites high artistic achievements and an exceptional sensitivity for human values. Using a strong metaphor, it tells us an original and emotional story about loneliness, love, hope and lust for life in a society full of bigotry, prejudice, insensitivity for the others. With lots of humor, irony and true emotions, this extraordinary film gave us a different perspective on humanity."

    The Special Award for Best Director, worth 7,500 EUR and financed by Berlin- Brandenburg Broadcasting (rbb), went to Szabolcs Hajdu for ERNELLÁÉK FARKASÉKNÁL/IT'S NOT THE TIME OF MY LIFE. The jury declared: "We admired
    the art of showing us the complicated and fragile construction of family abysses, and the high class of leaving us, at the end, in a state of hope."

    The Outstanding Actress Award, financed by the City of Cottbus to the value of 5,000 EUR, was awarded to Natalia Pavlenkova in recognition of her performance in ZOOLOGIYA/ZOOLOGY. The Outstanding Actor Award, similarly valued at 5,000 EUR, an amount donated by the Sparkasse Spree-Neisse, was conferred to Dawid Ogrodnik for his performance as Tomasz Beksinski in OSTATNIA RODZINA/THE LAST FAMILY.

    In the Short Film Competition SINYT/THE SON, directed by Hristo Simeonov, took the Main Award, worth 1,500 EUR and financed by Druckzone, Cottbus. The jury praised: "The film reveals its own inner dramaturgy only rudimentary. Instead of drawing upon conventional paradigms, the film approaches, in an almost casual documentary manner, a life constrained by natural and creaturely conditions only. The cautious observation of the son and his family is nothing other than poetry." The category's Special Award, worth 1,000 EUR and likewise funded by Druckzone, was conferred to Vadim Valiullin, the director of KREDIT/CREDIT.

    The U-18 Youth Film Competition, overseen by a six-member jury of schoolchildren from the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland, was won by GEWITTERZELLEN/STORM CELLS, a film of psychological nuance in which a young man unexpectedly reappears in the life of his biological mother. Director Jakob Schmidt took the Award for Best Youth Film, worth 3,000 EUR and financed by the Cottbus-based Association for Film and Media Pedagogy. The jury thus justified its decision: "We have chosen this film not only because of its extraordinary aesthetics, but also because of the great storytelling which captured us from the beginning to the end. The film left us in a state of emotion and suspense that was difficult to shake."

    A total of 18 awards were conferred at the 26th FilmFestival Cottbus. As well as the above-mentioned, further award-winners include director Rusudan Glurjidze, who won the DIALOGUE-Award for Multicultural Communication for SKHVISI SAKHLI/HOUSE OF OTHERS. The award, which amounts to 3,000 EUR, is financed by the German Federal Foreign Office.

    The Award for Best Debut, worth 3,000 EUR and jointly financed by Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU)  and the Konrad Wolf Film University, Babelsberg, went to Jan P. Matuszynski's OSTATNIA RODZINA/THE LAST FAMILY, an intimate portrait of a family of artists that spans two generations. Honorable Mention also went to Estonian production THE GHOST MOUNTAINEER, whilst the Ecumenical Jury Award, created by SIGNIS and Interfilm, was conferred to Attila Till for TISZTA SZÍVVEL/KILLS ON WHEELS.

    PLANETA SINGLI/PLANET SINGLE proved particularly popular amongst this year's festival visitors. Director Mitja Okorn took the Audience Award, valued at 3,000 EUR and financed by daily regional newspaper the Lausitzer Rundschau.

    Over the course of seven days the 26th FilmFestival Cottbus played host to almost 200 productions from a total of 45 producing nations. One-off programme sections such as the Cuba Focus and the "Specials" Programme Section "Exploring the Past: German-Czech-Polish History Through the Ages" generated a vibrant, creative exchange of ideas that transcended borders. This year attended by more than 20.000 visitors, the festival once again provided proof of both the appeal and diversity of East European cinema. In addition the festival was able to serve an approximate 600 accredited industry guests as a leading platform for those interested in East European
    film, which provides both incomparable networking opportunities and an accurate overview of current industry trends.

    The 27th FilmFestival Cottbus is due to take place between November 7th and 12th, 2017.

    The 26th FilmFestival Cottbus was generous supported by the Federal State of Brandenburg, the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the City of Cottbus, the German Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.