goEast Online and On Demand // "Life Demands Brave Decisions" – Courageous Selection Highlights Full Diversity of Cinema in Bioscope Section // The Open Frame Award Opens Eyes to Innovative Forms of Cinema

Wiesbaden/Frankfurt, 24 March 2021

It is with great regret that the organisers of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film must concede that the current outlook for the cultural sector in April does not, once again, offer the possibility to present a live festival, with in-person screenings and personal encounters between festival attendees. However, cancellation is out of the question for goEast! The Wiesbaden-based festival, hosted by DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum, has assembled an extensive online and on-demand programme to continue to serve our fans and supporters. During the festival period from 20 to 26 April 2021, nearly all of the festival films will be available in Germany on demand, via the festival website. To make this possible, the festival is co-operating with the VoD service provider filmwerte for the first time. Accredited guests will receive free access to the film offers. To learn more about how the on-demand programme works, please see the goEast website or consult our programme booklet.

As far as possible, the Competition entries will be screened at least for the jury at the Caligari FilmBühne. If the infection situation permits, screenings at the Caligari and additionally at the DFF cinema in Frankfurt will also be open to a small number of industry professionals and press representatives. The drive-in cinema on the Dern'sche Gelände in Wiesbaden and the K67 Kiosk in front of the Nassauischer Kunstverein remain as public events.

Beyond that, goEast will once again be making an online event programme available to all. To this ends, goEast will be setting up a festival studio inside Museum Wiesbaden, where personnel will record, upload and stream film talks with the filmmakers of the Competition section, conversations and panel discussions from our Symposium and events from the East-West Talent Lab. In addition to these offers, our online platform will allow viewers the chance to experience our master class with Péter Lichter and Márió Z. Nemes and our anti-Oscar night, with this year's winner of the Berlinale's Golden Bear, Radu Jude, flanked by action artist Dan Perjovschi.

"Life Demands Brave Decisions" – Courageous Selection Highlights Full Diversity of Cinema in Bioscope Section

The Bioscope section is devoted to Central and Eastern European film productions that deserve sustained attention, in a forum free of the pressure to present premieres. Venerable masters such as Vitaly Mansky, Laila Pakalnina, Renata Litvinova, Jasmila Zbanić, Filip Remunda and Vít Klusák find a place here for instance, on an equal footing with experimental works. In GORBACHEV. HEAVEN (Gorbačovs. Paradize, Latvia, Czech Republic, 2020) documentary filmmaker Vitaly Mansky resolves to seek out a "conversation with a madman", as Mikhail Gorbachev himself expressed it, in a meeting with the 89-year-old former statesman. Their talk is an intimate, humorous and self-aware journey into the past. In the Academy Award nominated film In QUO VADIS, AIDA? (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Romania, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, France, Norway, 2020), the eponymous protagonist, a UN interpreter, fights for her family's survival in the days leading up to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995. THE FOUNDATION PIT (Kotlovan, Russia, 2020), by Andrey Gryazev, takes up the concerns of Russians who feel abandoned and see a personal appeal to Vladimir Putin as the only way out of their predicaments. The found footage film gathers virtual voices from the Internet, members of the Russian populace seeking a helping hand from the president as their ancestors once lined up at the Czar's gates to plead for favour. Somewhat lighter fare comes in the form of THE NORTH WIND (Severnyj Veter, Russia, 2021), directed by cult actress Renata Litvinova. The champagne flows like a river here – this decadent work occasionally recalls Chekov's plays or a post-apocalyptic variation on Luchino Visconti's THE DAMNED. A fairy-tale world awaits viewers of IN THE MIRROR (Spoguli, Latvia, Lithuania, 2020), in which former goEast jury president Laila Pakalniņa reinterprets Snow White, presenting the story exclusively from a selfie-perspective. With a similarly witty approach, Abdulkhai Zokirov's THE BUS (Tajikistan, 2020) relates a fateful long-distance bus ride, as a diverse assortment of passengers sets out on an odyssey into the unknown.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN POLAND (Jak Bůh Hledal Karla, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, 2020), by Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda, explores life-changing circumstances and the search for redemption. The directorial duo is considered the Czech answer to Michael Moore or The Yes Men. No wonder then that their existential road movie tackling the vagaries of Polish Catholicism at times seems like a film within a film. Finally, GLORY TO THE QUEEN (Georgia, Austria, Serbia, 2020) rounds out the Bioscope programme on an iconic and emancipated note. This portrait of the four female chess masters Nona Gaprindaschwili, Nana Alexandria, Maia Tschiburdanidze and Nana Iosseliani is a true story with the potential to delight many a viewer, including fans of the fictional Netflix series THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT.

The Open Frame Award Opens Eyes to Innovative Forms of Cinema

The Open Frame Award is arguably the most innovative competition at goEast. Within its scope, Central and Eastern European virtual reality and 360° film projects vie annually for a prize sponsored by BHF Bank Foundation and endowed with 5,000 euros in prize money. The Open Frame Award was already able to grasp the supposed limitations brought on by the pandemic in the first "Covid year" as an opportunity. Russian VR artist and 2018's winner of the competition Denis Semionov and curator Georgy Molodtsov presented virtual venues for the competition, rendered in incredible detail and featuring charming Easter eggs. In 2021, Caligari VR and the goEast VRoof Top Lounge will make repeat appearances within the festival programming, even undergoing further evolution for the virtual portion of goEast. The digital venues at goEast will be accessible using a VR headset. However learning from a past year experience the goEast team made a solution for any user with any computer to have a chance to get a tour of the exhibition and participants.

In the Open Frame Award programme, the featured filmmakers explore innovative forms of narrative art, covering a wide range, from poetic experiments to interactive experiences for the senses. In their work, they continually blend reality and virtual space into a new experience for the viewers. DEEP DIVE (Poland, 2020) by Milosz Hermanowicz combines wilderness environments with painful experiences of loss in a 360° film that pursues the vision of a natural approach to storytelling. Extreme circumstances also come to a head in the interactive VR experience DISLOCATION (Dislokacije, Croatia, 2020), in moments of alienation in which memories of a lost home are gradually at risk of decaying. By contrast, HOREKU. THE STORIES OF TUHARD TUNDRA (Russia, 2021) by Anna Tolkacheva focuses on the documentary-like observation of reindeer, sled dogs and Netflix shows. The impressive life of a modern nomad family in the tundra is depicted from the perspective of the beloved and tame creature Horeku. Nikita Bohdanov's augmented and virtual reality 360° documentary film #PRISONERSVOICE (Ukraine, 2020) accompanies a trio of Ukrainian activists, namely Oleg Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko and Volodmymyr Balukh, who recount their unlawful imprisonments in Russia with the aid of the VR software Oculus Quill. On the polar opposite end of the spectrum, we find the interactive VR experience NIGHTSSS (Poland, 2021) by Weronika Lewandowska and Sandra Frydrysiak, an animated film that makes it possible to experience one's own body and power of imagination in an entirely new way in virtual space through the use of poetry, dance and trendy ASMR techniques. By contrast THE SPHERES CITY – TANGIBLE UTOPIAS (Romania, 2021) takes children's capacity for imagination as inspiration for staging odysseys through urban scenarios of multi-layered future societies. With TX REVERSE 360° (Austria, Germany, 2019), the Open Frame Award pushes ahead into further experimental realms via visual collisions between dream and reality in the cinema.

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.