Wiesbaden/Frankfurt, 16 April 2021
After the first hybrid baby steps last year at goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film, hosted annually by DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum, the festival is poised to take an extensive foray into cyberspace this year. Almost all of the 92 films from 38 countries originally planned for an in-person version of the festival will be available for the festival audience on-demand, including 32 German and two international premieres. In between films, the festival organisers are inviting virtual attendees to stop by the East Kiosk in front of Wiesbaden's Nassauischer Kunstverein, in order to experience a tiny bit of festival flair in person again – while observing proper hygiene protocols and social distancing.
In the scope of an online press conference today (Friday, 16 April), festival director Heleen Gerritsen presented the programme for goEast On Demand, the media library and further outdoor events.
"For our anniversary edition last year, due to the pandemic and a successful hybrid festival concept, we were able to enjoy eight months of goEast instead of only a single week. This year, however, the festival is returning to its original duration," commented Ellen Harrington, managing director of DFF.
"Although we must continue to go without real visits to the cinema, goEast is offering even more online programming. For the first time, our exciting Symposium, devoted this year to the cinema of Central Asia, can be experienced digitally in its entirety. I am delighted that, instead of sticking their heads in the sand, the festival team members have challenged themselves to find ways to offer events for the audience in spite of all the obstacles, even if this is limited to meeting with proper social distancing in front of the East Kiosk," Harrington added.
In the Competition section, once again 16 fiction feature and documentary films are vying for the festival's main prizes. The Competition jury itself will have the opportunity to judge the productions on the big screen at Caligari FilmBühne, before choosing the winners of the "Golden Lily" for Best Film, the Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director and the Award for Cultural Diversity – each featuring prize money of up to 10,000 euros.
"As a thematic focus, this year we see a return to partisan stories in the Competition. This is an important subject in the Central and Eastern European cinema landscape, one that is at times wrapped up in mythology too, and is now approached from new angles in the current films in our programme – for example, from the point of view of female partisans, or from a Roma perspective as well," explained festival director Heleen Gerritsen.
"Naturally, it's a shame that these films can't be experienced on the big screen by all interested parties, as that is where they really belong of course. Nevertheless, this year we have been more willing to compromise – that's why we've chosen to collaborate with the VoD service filmwerte, in order to make almost the entire goEast programme available on demand," Gerritsen added. The film offerings on goEast On Demand are available for a rental fee of 6.50 euros per programme item during the festival week from 20 to 26 April 2021. After payment processing, each individual film is available for streaming for a period of 48 hours.
Axel Imholz, Head of the Cultural Department of the State Capital of Wiesbaden, praised the efforts of the goEast festival organisers to prepare for every possible scenario even under conditions that made planning difficult. He remarked that though goEast is once again unable to take place as a festival of encounters between the people of the Rhine-Main region and Central and Eastern Europe, thanks to festival director Heleen Gerritsen and her team it will still be possible to experience the programme online in nearly complete original scope, including the goEast Competition with numerous German premieres, or 2020's goEast Portrait guest and this year's Berlinale prize-winner Radu Jude, who is curating an exclusive "anti-Oscar evening" for the festival audience. "I would like to invite the audience to make generous use of the goEast On Demand programming offers and to enjoy goEast films, discussions and exhibitions from home. Culture doesn't take a break, not even under a pandemic. This fact is evident in the film selection, which is as strong as ever. I am looking forward to this important glimpse into the cultures of our neighbours to the East, though I hope to be able to do that in the cinema again as soon as possible," the Head of Wiesbaden's Cultural Department emphasised.
How can one promote intercultural encounters when distancing regulations keep individuals and cultures apart? In its third year, the Pan-European Picnic seeks answers to this question and proves that the collective experience of (film) culture is also possible at a distance. For instance, at the genuine K67 East Kiosk, which goEast has installed outside, in front of Nassauischer Kunstverein, as a festival meeting place. Or the evening short film walk that will lead guests through Offenbach by night in May and open a new vista to cinema by projecting films onto house facades. "The political discourse in Europe is increasingly characterised by tensions that are not least of which fed by the germination of populist and nationalist currents," commented Karin Wolff, managing director of Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain. "The pandemic has added additional strain to coexistence and social cohesion within European borders, making opportunities for intercultural exchange more and more valuable. This year's Pan-European Picnic from goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film serves to build bridges in this regard; it connects filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe and thus reinforces the perspective of so much common ground. At the same time, it raises awareness in particular for the multi-faceted interrelations between Eastern Europe and the Rhine-Main region. For these reasons, we are more than happy to be able to contribute to this unique festival with the RheinMain Short Film Award."
The Open Frame Award for Virtual Reality is getting even closer to the experimental character of its competition entries, by taking place in virtual space itself. To this end, the Caligari FilmBühne cinema has been reimagined in virtual reality. The virtual Caligari can even be accessed without a VR headset, allowing goEast fans to experience a bit of festival flair from their home computers in spite of our current predicament. In addition, goEast is offering VR headset rentals this year, in co-operation with Lichter Film Festival.
You can find images related to the festival and festival programming in our download section.
Here you can access the complete programme for the 21st edition of goEast - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film.
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 HessenFilm und Medien GmbH, the State Capital Wiesbaden, Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, BHF BANK Foundation, Adolf und Luisa Haeuser-Stiftung für Kunst und Kulturpflege, Renovabis and Deutsch-Tschechische Zukunftsfonds. Media partners include 3sat, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.