ACID (KISLOTA, Russia, 2018, directed by Alexander Gorchilin; production: Sabina Eremeeva) is the winner of the main award at the 19th edition of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film – the Golden Lilly for Best Film, endowed with 10,000 euros in prize money. The five-member international jury under the direction of Teona Strugar Mitevska justified their choice by observing that the masterful debut film manages to make the energy and desperation of the millennial generation tangible. As the jury emphasised in their statement: "This is a brilliantly written and constructed story, convincing from the beginning through the end in the way it follows its characters in their urban contemporary setting."
The evening awards ceremony at Caligari FilmBühne served as a fitting grand finale for goEast 2019. Following on a week full of cinema, virtual reality, discussions, lectures and exhibitions, featuring screenings of 109 films and more than 200 film guests from the international cinema scene, the winners of the Competition were revealed and awards with a total value of 36,000 euros were presented.
Adilkhan Yerzhanov won the Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director (endowed with a prize of 7,500 euros) with THE GENTLE INDIFFERENCE OF THE WORLD (LAZKOVOE BEZRAZLICHIE MIRA, Kazakhstan, France, 2018). As the jury explained in their statement: "Set in a world full of absurdity and indifference, this film is a visually stunning and moving drama about love, the complexity of human conditions and relationships, seasoned with deadpan humour. This is modern and classic cinema in the same package, which confirms the director as an auteur power." The jury praised the director's artistic talent for details, evident in frames full of poetic beauty, minimalist yet stylised interiors, calm but expressive faces and rich and colourful landscapes.
The film HOME GAMES (DOMASHNI IGRI, Ukraine, France, Poland, 2018, directed by Alisa Kovalenko) was honoured with the Award of the Federal Foreign Office for Cultural Diversity, accompanied by prize money in the amount of 4,000 euros. The film, which portrays a young Ukrainian woman pursuing her dream of a professional football career with persistence and conviction in spite of her socially precarious family situation, inspires hope, according to the jury, which commented further: "This film treats the idea of new family structures in multiple regards, and on many levels as well as in diverse forms."
The jury presented an Honourable Mention to COLD NOVEMBER (NËNTOR, FTOHTË, Kosovo, Albania, North Macedonia, 2018, directed by Ismet Sijarina) for "bravely and truthfully telling the story of national trauma through the perspective of a person next door." The film, set in Pristina in 1992, addresses the war in former Yugoslavia while telling a tale of everyday life and survival in the darkest of times.
Festival director Heleen Gerritsen expressed her happiness at the realisation of another successful edition of goEast: "goEast 2019 was once again characterised by an incredible amount of diversity in genres and by genuine dialogue: at the film talks, in the cinemas, but also at the parties and interdisciplinary event series 'Pan-European Picnic', filmmakers and artists from Central and Eastern Europe and the audience from Wiesbaden and the surrounding area came into contact with one another. Our efforts to establish a stronger presence for the festival out in the city definitely paid off."
The FIPRESCI International Film Critic's Award in the fiction feature category went to THE GENTLE INDIFFERENCE OF THE WORLD (LAZKOVOE BEZRAZLICHIE MIRA, Kazakhstan, France, 2018, directed by Adilkhan Yerzhanov) "for a colourful fairy tale composed through camera-driven humour," as the jury put it in their statement. The film relates the bittersweet story of a Kazakh family as a mafia tragicomedy with existential underpinnings à la Camus.
In the documentary film category, STRIP AND WAR (Belarus, Poland, 2019, directed by Andrei Kutsila) took home the second FIPRESCI Prize. The jury honoured the documentary film about a war veteran and his stripper grandson (which celebrated its world premiere at goEast) "for the detached representation of the coexistence of different values and generations".
For their piece AFTERMATH VR: EUROMAIDAN, artist duo Alexey Furman and Sergiy Polezhaka received the Open Frame Award for virtual reality works, presented by the BHF BANK Foundation and endowed with prize money in the amount of 5,000 euros. In the duo's VR project, the viewer slips into the role of a demonstrator during the protests at Kiev's Maidan Square. According to the jury, the work transforms the beholder into an active participant who can intervene in events through a combination of immersive storytelling and the interactive potential of virtual reality, adding further: "The experience leaves a lasting impression, creating a memory over time [with this] unique journalistic format [that] bears a great potential for social relevancy."
The jury awarded an Honourable Mention to TRAIL OF ANGELS by Kristina Buožytė for the film's great display of creative ingenuity. "The challenge of creating a poetic journey through the imagery of a traditional painter has been done respectfully and intelligently," as the jury explained in their statement.
This year saw the first presentation of the RheinMain Short Film Award, supported by Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain and endowed with 2,500 euros in prize money. The jury, composed of representatives of cultural associations from the Rhine-Main region with an Eastern European focus, selected I CAN BARELY REMEMBER THE DAY (MALO SE SJEĆAM TOG DANA, Croatia, 2018), a directorial debut from Croatian actor Leon Lučev, explaining their choice by noting that the film adeptly interweaves contrasting themes of life and death, joy and grief with one another. "The director develops that which the protagonist is incapable of expressing through the cinematography, the choice of stylistic devices as well as the brilliant performances from the ensemble cast. This is a touching film," as the jury emphasised.
The project THE MOTHERS' CRUSADE (Belarus, directed by Alexander Mihalkovich) won the inaugural edition of the Renovabis Research Grant (3,500 euros) for a planned documentary film treating civil and/or minority rights. The jury chose to honour this story about women in Belarus who are fighting back against abuse in a powerful male-dominated institution, namely the country's military. "We appreciate the perspective of one mother's courageous struggle, which gives us an insight into a much broader culture of violence in Belarus," as the jury explained in their statement.
LANDING by Moldavia's Ksenia Ciuvaseva was honoured with the goEast Development Award, sponsored by Russian Standard Vodka and endowed with prize money in the amount of 3,500 euros, as the best project in the scope of the East-West Talent Lab. The jury emphasised that the film is a very personal story that explores such grand themes as loss, absence and love, adding: "The filmmaker and her father are both trying to bridge a gap in time and space through the exchange of video letters. We are looking forward to seeing where this journey will take both of them."
For 2019, goEast media partner 3sat, which has offered to purchase one film from the programme for broadcast annually since the festival's inception, has chosen the Competition entry MOMENTS (CHVILKY, Czech Republic, Slovakia 2018) by Beata Parkanová. The film will celebrate its television premiere on 3sat co-inciding with goEast's 2020 edition.
The 19th edition of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film took place from 10 to 16 April in Wiesbaden, Germany. Among the highlights, in addition to an exciting Competition section, were appearances by internationally celebrated filmmakers such as Krzysztof Zanussi, Sergei Loznitsa and Jury President Teona Strugar Mitevska. The Symposium, under the title "Constructions of the Other: Roma and the Cinema of Central and Eastern Europe", and the interdisciplinary event series "Pan-European Picnic" were also met with an overwhelmingly positive response from the festival audience and the festival's many guests from the worlds of academia and filmmaking.
Here is an overview of this year's prize winners:
Golden Lilly for Best Film
ACID / KISLOTA, Russia, 2018, directed by Alexander Gorchilin; production: Sabina Eremeeva
Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director
THE GENTLE INDIFFERENCE OF THE WORLD / LASKOVOE BEZRAZLICHIE MIRA, Kazakhstan, France, 2018, directed by Adlikhan Yerzhanov
Award of the Federal Foreign Office for Cultural Diversity
HOME GAMES / DOMASHNI IGRI, Ukraine, France, Poland, 2018, directed by Alisa Kovalenko
COLD NOVEMBER / NËNTOR, FTOHTË, Kosovo, Albania, North Macedonia 2018, directed by Ismet Sijarina
International Film Critic's Award – FIPRESCI (fiction feature)
THE GENTLE INDIFFERENCE OF THE WORLD / LAZKOVOE BEZRAZLICHIE MIRA, Kazakhstan, France, 2018, directed by Adilkhan Yerzhanov
International Film Critic's Award – FIPRESCI (documentary film)
STRIP AND WAR / Belarus, Poland, 2019, directed by Andrei Kutsila
Open Frame Award
AFTERMATH VR: EUROMAIDAN, Ukraine, 2018, directed by Alexey Furman and Sergiy Polezhaka
RheinMain Short Film Award
I CAN BARELY REMEMBER THE DAY / MALO SE SJEĆAM TOG DANA, Croatia, 2018, directed by Leon Lučev
Renovabis Research Grant
THE MOTHERS' CRUSADE, Belarus, directed by Alexander Mihalkovich
goEast Development Award
LANDING, Moldavia, directed by Ksenia Ciuvaseva
You can find photo materials in our download section:
goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film is hosted by DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum and made possible with the support of numerous partners. Primary funding partners are the State Capital Wiesbaden, the Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts, Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland, Renovabis, BHF BANK Foundation, Adolf und Luisa Haeuser-Stiftung für Kunst und Kulturpflege, the German Federal Foreign Ministry and Deutsch-Tschechische Zukunftsfonds. Media partners include 3sat, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Deutschlandfunk Kultur.