In less than one week, goEast will transform the Hessen state capital of Wiesbaden for the 17th year and counting into a cinematic paradise for Eastern Europe enthusiasts, film fans and all those who care deeply for culture in general. goEast - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film, hosted by Deutsches Filminstitut and taking place this year from Wednesday, April 26th, to Tuesday, May 2nd, is presenting more than 100 films from 29 different countries, including six world, one international and 22 German premieres, three talent development projects and a rich supporting program featuring exhibitions, panel discussions, workshops, lectures, film talks and parties.
goEast is welcoming more than 200 special guests and filmmakers from Germany and abroad, including Polish director and 2017 Silver Bear winner Agnieszka Holland, Serbian film icon Mirjana Karanovic, the grande dame of Hungarian auteur cinema Márta Mészáros, German actor Ulrich Matthes and legendary German producer Artur "Atze" Brauner.
MY HAPPY FAMILY (CHEMI BEDNIERI OJAKHI, Germany/France/Georgia, 2017), the latest film from Georgian-German directorial duo Nana & Simon (Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross), will open the festival on Wednesday, April 26th, at Caligari FilmBühne.
This year, goEast is raising the banner for female filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe and strong female characters in cinema. As festival director Gaby Babic explained at the press conference today, Thursday, at Caligari FilmBühne: "The blatantly unequal treatment of women in the industry is a topic of discussion within the festival scene as well. On the average, festivals showcase far too little work from women. In the scope of research for our historical programs, it really struck us how for certain phases in cinema history it is almost impossible to find films from female directors. Obviously there were and still are contexts and periods in which it was particularly hard for women to work as directors. In spite of all that, there have always been women making films in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. And today there are a number of women from Eastern Europe in the European auteur cinema scene who are represented at the top of the field. Now we have chosen to devote ourselves to the work of female filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe in the Symposium and it is no accident that this year's Competition features several debuts from young female directors."
Claudia Dillmann, director of Deutsches Filminstitut, emphasises: "With this important focus on female filmmaking, goEast demonstrates once again that it takes up important topics and contextualises them. Starting from the founding idea 17 years ago - to give the local and regional audience a deeper understanding for the culture and politics of their neighbours to the East - the festival has long since established itself as a central platform for the film scene of Central and Eastern Europe. Political issues have always played a role in the festival debates as well, and continue to do so. The fact that goEast aims to be political is also evident for instance in the new project accompanying festival section OPPOSE OTHERING!, which pushes back against exclusionary practices. In so doing, goEast continues to evolve non-stop."
Ingmar Jung, State Secretary at the Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts: "In 2017, goEast is celebrating its 17th edition. The Hessen state government is very pleased to once again be able to provide financial support for this festival for Central and Eastern European film based in the state capital of Wiesbaden. With its unique program of films, lectures and discussions, as well as its efforts to foster and acknowledge young talent, goEast invites participants and attendees to engage in a cultural exchange that could not be more politically urgent and societally relevant."
Axel Imholz, the new head of the Department of Cultural Affairs of the Hessen State Capital Wiesbaden, expressed his satisfaction at having the opportunity to open one of Wiesbaden's most important cultural events right at the beginning of his tenure: "goEast brings an international festival atmosphere to our city. With a multitude of impressive films in the Competition, German premieres, well known filmmakers and international guests, the festival draws the attention of the world of cinema to Wiesbaden. With exhibitions in 'sam' (Stadtmuseum am Markt) and Museum Wiesbaden and numerous other events in addition to the film programs, it offers a great variety of further cultural attractions. Once again, goEast is creating spaces for encounters and promoting cultural exchange and discourse in Europe - something that is more important than ever in today's climate."
Dr. Helmut Müller, managing director of Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, commented: "Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain is pleased once again this year to be able to give the 30 participants of the East-West Talent Lab, hailing from ten countries, the opportunity to publically present their works in the categories of short fiction feature, documentary film, experimental film and video art to a jury composed of respected industry professionals. The best pitch will be honoured with the goEast Development Award, funded and presented by Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain since 2014 and endowed with prize money in the amount of 3,500 euros. In addition, this year there is the possibility to attend master classes given by renowned guests, such as director Agnieszka Holland, producer and goEast jury member Max Tuula or director Askold Kurov. And, last but not least, for the first time this year the Lab will be accompanied by a critic blog. All in all, the Lab is a wonderful possibility for participants to share experience and knowledge, to build networks and to gain valuable industry contacts."
Awards Worth a Total of 50,000 Euros
In addition to the Golden Lily for Best Film (worth 10,000 euros), the productions featured in the Competition for Fiction Features and Documentaries, chosen by the goEast selection committee chaired by festival director Gaby Babic, are also competing for the Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director (7,500 euros) and the Award of the Federal Foreign Office for Cultural Diversity (4,000 euros).
The winners are chosen by a five-member international jury, consisting this year of Latvian director Laila Pakalnina (chairwoman), producer Max Tuula (Estonia/Russia), producer Sam Taylor (Great Britain), actor and composer Jakob Diehl (Germany) and director Igor Drljaca (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Canada).
In the Experimental Film and Video Art Competition, the Open Frame Award, worth 5,000 euros, will be awarded. The best film project from the East-West Talent Lab will receive the goEast Development Award, endowed with prize money in the amount of 3,500 euros; for OPPOSE OTHERING!, five directorial duo teams will each receive productions grants worth 4,000 euros.
An Overview of Further goEast Highlights
The new section goEast Gurus is showing the latest works from directors that have a special connection to the festival, films which have already successfully made the rounds on the international festival circuit, such as Cristi Puiu's SIERANEVADA (Romania, 2016), CLOSE RELATIONS (RODNYE) by Vitaly Mansky (Latvia/Germany/Estonia/Ukraine, 2016) and A GOOD WIFE (DOBRA ŽENA, Serbia/Bosnia and Herzegovina/Croatia, 2016) by Mirjana Karanovic.
The goEast Homage honours one of Europe's most successful female directors: Hungary's Mészáros, who has been making movies for more than half a century. Mészáros is slated to attend the festival personally.
The Symposium Reluctant Feminism: Women Filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe invites attendees to engage in a re-visioning of hitherto puzzling attitudes towards feminism: the focus here is on female directors from the East who took a stand for equal rights for women (and more) in their films, and yet consistently resisted any classification of their work as feminist.
With ten contemporary fiction features and documentary films, a panel discussion and a film poster exhibition, goEast is placing the Czech Republic's film scene in the spotlight in the section Czech Cinema Now!.
The Highlights present exquisite cinematic gems that have already delighted cinema audiences in their native countries, including works from Croatia, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Hungary.
Among other exciting events, this year's Specials include the Sunday Matinee with special guest director Agnieszka Holland, who will present her latest film SPOOR (POKOT, Poland/Germany/Czech Republic/Sweden/Slovak Republic, 2017), and the world premiere of MARINA, MABUSE AND MORITURI - 70 YEARS OF POSTWAR GERMAN FILM (Germany, 2017), with producer Artur "Atze" Brauner and his family in attendance.
For the traditional archive presentation, goEast is welcoming the Czech National Film Archive, while the School Film Days will give students the chance to breath in a bit of festival air. Finally, exhibitions, film talks, concerts and parties serve to create further spaces for encounters between filmmakers, industry guests and festivalgoers.
goEast - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film is hosted by Deutsches Filminstitut and supported by numerous partners. The festival is primarily funded by the Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts, the State Capital Wiesbaden, Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future" (EVZ), Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland, BHF-BANK Foundation, the Adolf und Luisa Haeuser-Stiftung für Kunst und Kulturpflege, the Federal Foreign Office, Deutsch-Tschechische Zukunftsfonds, the municipality of Eschborn, the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation and Krušovice. Media partners include among others 3sat, the FAZ and hr-iNFO.