blogEast is a project of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film. The blog was created during the first Corona wave in Europe as a solidary mouthpiece for film (culture) creators from all over Europe. In the coming weeks, blog posts will be published that highlight cinematic as well as political and social facets of today's situation, but also offer a way to distract from the omnipresent discussion about infection figures and vaccination progress. blogEast is supervised and edited by the goEast team and accompanies the digital festival in Wiesbaden.
goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film lives not only from its films, viewers and up-and-coming talents, but also from the numerous guests from the film industry, who travel to Wiesbaden year after year. Some of them have visited the festival so frequently that they gained a seat at the goEast regulars' table. However, since the nearest corner pub is closed, we now introduce our regulars here in a virtual round.
Adilkhan Yerzhanov is among the most interesting and at the same time, most productive filmmakers in Kazakhstan, who has become a true goEast regular. His feature film debut CONSTRUCTORS had its world premiere in Wiesbaden in 2013. Ever since then he has moved on to other platforms for his premieres, like Cannes, Venice or San Sebastian, but he was a contestant in our last three goEast-competitions in a row as well. This year three of his films will be screened: YELLOW CAT (2020), the opening film of the festival, features a beautiful homage to cinema and the power of images - a rather important and timely topic - his emancipatory drama ULBOLSYN (2020) is part of the competition line-up and his early experimental short BAKHYTZHAMAL (2007) can be seen in the Symposium programs. That's a premium pack of Yerzhanov films right there. The time will come soon to start preparing his goEast Portrait and present his large oeuvre in a retrospective....
Latvian filmmaker Laila Pakalnina has been a faithful supporter of goEast from the very beginning. In 2017 this friendly and productive collaboration culminated in her presidency of the international goEast-jury which awarded the Serbian tragicomedy REQUIEM FOR MRS J. (REKVIJEM ZA GOSPOĐU J, 2017) with the main award, the Golden Lily. But of course, her own films are present at goEast as well, in the symposium, in the competition, in short or feature-length form: her work enchants the Wiesbaden audience with their partly experimental and magic playfulness in the use of cinematic language. This year we will screen IN THE MIRROR (SPOGULĪ, 2020): a wonderful innovative modern rendition of the fairytale Snow White. Highly recommended!
This years goEast-audiences can expect a masterclass of a slightly different nature. After Sergei Loznitsa, Ildiko Enyedi and Václav Marhoul talked about the tricks of their trade, it is now time to dedicate ourselves to experimental film, with Hungarian filmmaker Péter Lichter. With his cinematic experiments Lichter has been a regular guest at goEast - last year his exploration of the horror genre THE PHILOSOPHY OF HORROR (PART I-III) (A HORROR FILOZÓFIÁJA (PART I-III), 2019) was part of the program. Apart from his masterclass, this year the adaptation of Márió Z. Nemes' hungarofuturist work Barokk Femina will be screened. A fascinating , literally multi-layered, piece of work.
Šarūnas Bartas is one of the most prominent contemporary voices of Lithuanian cinema. Already in 2006, goEast dedicated its Portrait section to the filmmaker - a section which was introduced in 2005- proof for our festival's connection to Bartas and his importance in Central and Eastern Europe cinema. Now, 15 years later, we are proud to present the German premiere of his latest work IN THE DUSK (SUTEMOSE, 2020). Awarded with last year's pandemic Cannes label, Bartas makes his way into Lithuanian history and overwhelmed with unique visual language.
Love or hatred – when it comes to the divide between Renata's admirers and critics, there is no in between. Without a doubt she is one of contemporary Russia's most eccentric and iconic actresses, directors ánd socialites, who over the course of her 30+ year career, managed to create and refine her own image and has been uncompromising in pursuing her own definition of (Russian) femininity in her work: A definition which goes beyond popular feminist discourses, can lead to much irritation, yet always remains playful and ironic. Her relationship with openly lesbian rock singer Zemfira, a frequent collaborator on Renata's films, has frequently attracted Russia's tabloid press. THE NORTH WIND (Russia, 2021 – shown in the goEast section BIOSCOP) is based on a play, with which she made her directing debut in the theatre in Moscow in 2017, and once again features Renata herself in the main role. Although Renata has never been a guest in person in Wiesbaden (our champaign supply and total lack of glamour might not be up to her standards), many of the films on which she collaborated with Kira Muratova as a script-writer, actress and muse, have been shown here over the years, as well as her own feature-length directing debut THE GODDESS (2004).
Moscow's film academy VGIK - the oldest film school in the world- continues to attract students from all over the globe. Many of them leave again once their studies are over, but not so Guatamala-born RENATO SERRANO BORRAYO, who finished his directing studies, married a Russian and staid in Moscow. Renato's life as one half of a mixed couple, including racist in-laws and their reactions to his new-born son Carlos, became the topic of his personal short documentary, FILM FOR CARLOS, which travelled the festival circuit and was shown at goEast in 2018. VLAD KETKOVICH is one of Russia's most experienced independent documentary producers and not afraid of political topics, nor harsh working conditions. His company Ethnofund specializes in activist documentaries and has a special place in its heart for places in the Russian far north. Vlad has also produced the work of many debutants, several of his projects passed through goEast's East-West Talent Lab over the years. We're happy to have the latest work of these goEast regulars in competition this year: LIFE OF IVANNA, about a single mother up north on the Yamal peninsula, was yet again a tough cookie to get produced and financed. It was all worth it: the film was not only selected for goEast, but also for CPH:Dox and Hot Docs.
In 2006 Žbanić burst onto the international scene with her feature-length fiction debut GRBAVICA, which not only won the Berlinale Golden Bear, but led, that very same year, to the passing of a law by the Bosnian authorities to award survivors of wartime rape the status of civilian victims, allowing them to receive a pension. The role of women in the Bosnian war is a consistent topic in Žbanić work, who also made many documentaries on the subject. She is based in Sarajevo and founded founded the local artists' collective DEBLOKADA. Both GRBAVICA and a selection of her documentaries have been shown at goEast over the years, and her latest fiction feature, the Oscar-nominated QUO VADIS, AIDA? (2020) will be available online this year. The film deals with one of the worst atrocities of the Bosnian war: the Srebrenica genocide.
Not a goEast goes by without a documentary by Vitaly Mansky. After the Russian filmmaker's move into exile to Riga, he has continued to be prolific: CLOSE RELATIONS (2017), PUTIN's WITNESSES (2018) and this year GORBACHEV. HEAVEN (2020) are among his titles that are part of our program. Mansky is not only a filmmaker but a festival director as well: ArtDocFest, originally founded in Moscow, is an independent film festival for Russian-language documentaries from all over the former Soviet Union. After a row with Russia's minister of culture Medinsky the festival does not receive state funding anymore and its main venue moved to Riga. However, screenings in Moscow and St Petersburg still take place and are often sold out. Mansky also curates a documentary slot on Russian-spoken TV Chanel Current Time TV and was a member of the goEast jury in 2011.
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