FESTIVALS: Eleven CEE films awarded at19th Cottbus festival

By FNE Staff
    ORDINARY PEOPLE | OBICNI LJUDI from Serbia is the winner of 19th FilmFestival Cottbus.

    The International Jury awarded director Vladimir Perisic as well as the producers Anthony Doncque and Milena Poylo with the LUBINA - the Main Prize for Best Film. The award is endowed with 18.000 Euro, donated by Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten (GWFF). ORDINARY PEOPLE is about a special operations unit in an unnamed war-zone, who is killing civilians. In its statement the jury points out the „extraordinary artistic value of the film, including all the components of a really great work: a strong story, outstanding director's and DP's work, wonderful acting and the astonishingly refined construction of the film".

    "The decision was fast and of one voice", says MOSFilm-producer Kira Saksaganskaya, member of the International Jury. "This film includes all components of a really great film: strong story, outstanding director's and DP's work, wonderful actors' work and astonishingly refine construction of the film."

    The same film also received the LUBINA for an Outstanding Actor: Relja Popovic from Serbia convinced the jury portraying a young soldier, who naivly joins up an elite unit and is ordered to commit war crimes. The jury is honouring Popovic's "minimalistic and instinctive way of acting, providing us with profound insight into the inner world of the main character". His female counterpart Anna Karczmarczyk from Poland takes home the LUBINA/Award for an Outstanding Actress. The young Polish plays a school-girl who wants to belong the the popular MALL GIRLS | GALERIANKI and pays a high price for her newfound popularity. The jury is impressed by Karczmarczyk's „ability to show us the powerful evolution of the character from a kid to a woman in a great growing up story".

    Two films and three directors are sharing the Special Prize for Best Director, endowed with 7.500 Euro: Zvonimir Juric and Goran Devic from Croatia for THE BLACKS | CRNCI and Aleksey Mizgirev from Russia for BUBEN BARABAN. "The two excellent films have different approaches by their directors", the jury explained their choice. "One of them - BUBEN BARABAN - is an example of classical Chekhovian style cinema, revealing the story by focusing on the main character; while the second film -THE BLACKS - is a brave experimental puzzle, showing us outstanding ensemble work by the actors. The prize is donated by Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg RBB. The International Film Guide Inspiration Award goes to Elchin Musaoglu from Azerbaijan for THE 40TH DOOR | 40-CI QAPI. The International Festival Jury consisted of Pinar Erincin (Germany), Kira Saksaganskaya (Russia), Srdan Golubovic (Serbia), Roman Gutek (Poland) and Robert Stadlober (Germany).

    The Jury of the Short Feature Competition voted for Pici Papai's COMING OUT | VALLOMAS as winner of the Main Prize, endowed with 2.500 Euro. Sasa Ban's INTERIOR, APARTMENT, NIGHT | INTERJER, STAN, NOC receives the Special Prize. The short feature THE PALM LINES | PALMELE gets a Special Mention. The Jury Short Feature Competition consisted of Milena Gregor and Robert Gwisdek from Germany and Jan Naszewski (Poland).

    The jury of the Prize for Best Debut Film decided in favour of Katarzyna Roslaniec' drama MALL GIRLS.

    The Croatian war drama THE BLACKS | CRNCI is the winner of the FIPRESCI Prize.

    The Prize of the Ecumenical Jury goes to Aleksey Mizgirev's BUBEN BARABAN, with a Special Mention for Elchin Musaoglu's THE 40th DOOR | 40-CI QAPI.

    The Jury Féderation Internationale des Ciné-Clubs FICC awards the Don Quijote Prize to Artan Minarolli for the Albanian drama ALIVE!, Aleksey Mizgirev's BUBEN BARABAN receives a Special Mention.

    The DIALOGUE-Prize for Intercultural Communication, donated by German Foreign Ministry and chosen by the Dialogue-Jury, is for director Mira Fornay's Czech-Slovak co-production FOXES | LISTICKY.

    Ardak Amirkulov´s new adaption of Chenghiz Aitmatov´s classic GOODBYE, GULSARY! | KOSH BOL, GULSARY! received the Audience Award.

    The awards were presented on the evening before the last festival day. The 19th FilmFestival Cottbus concluded on Sunday, November 15th, 2009.

    Setting a new record of 18.900 visitors the 19th FilmFestival Cottbus is closing down this Sunday, Nov 15th. In addition to thousands of cinema guests there were more than 600 guests of the international film scene attending the festival, amongst them more than 130 film makers as well as many producers.

    "We're no longer a sepcial-interest-section", said Festival Director Roland Rust. "Meanwhile Cottbus may be regarded as home of Eastern-european film." The Festival Director was especially content with the huge variety of the programme, reflected also in the awards: „The Festival shows, that in Eastern European cinema not only one or two countries have great cinematographies, but that there is a great variety in film making countries. Countries like Azerbaijan and Albania, who are among the award winners this year, have caught up to the international film scene." This year, there were more programm units, Rust continued.

    Parallel to the film festival the agency pool production was staging the East West Co-production market Connecting Cottbus. „Also in this year a high professionality and a personal atmosphere were combined", concludes artistic director Gabriele Brunnenmeyer. „The 14 presented ideas for feature films showed an astonishing variety of personal handwritings. Accordingly high was the interest of producers and financeers. This gives us reason to hope, that also from this year's market many projects will be realized."