Every year, goEast transforms the state capital Wiesbaden into one of the most important international centres for Central and Eastern European cinema. Around 110 feature films, documentaries and short films, covering the different sections of the festival, are being screened to appeal to both professional visitors and local cinema audiences alike over the seven festival days. As a project of Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum e.V. (DFF), goEast has dedicated itself to the task of bringing the diversity and richness of Central and Eastern European cinema into “the heart of the West” and to strengthening the place of these prestigious films’ in the public consciousness. Despite their great success at international festivals, Central and Eastern European films are still under-represented in regular cinemas.
goEast sees itself as an intermediary on many levels. The precisely curated programmes connect various topics: from current cinematic positions to historical rarities, from experimental to art house and mainstream films, all made in Central and Eastern Europe. The festival contextualises its work within the context of differentiated debates on film aesthetics, socio-political and film-theoretical topics. goEast functions as a dialogue forum between East and West, but also as a protagonist and disseminator for creative interaction, all of which can be seen in panels and workshops, lectures and film discussions as well as in the cooperation with other cultural and societal institutions. Particularly the up-and-coming generation within the film industry shall profit from goEast. Numerous possibilities for networking, exchange and training are offered within the scope of the EAST-WEST TALENT LAB and other programs for young talents.
goEast receives around 400 professional visitors and 12,000 cinema visitors annually. A lot of renowned guests were already welcomed at the festival, including directors and stars such as Agnieszka Holland, Boris Khlebnikov, Ildikó Enyedi, Bence Fliegauf, Martina Gedeck, Julia Jentsch, Otar Iosseliani, Sergei Loznitsa, Jiří Menzel, Kira Muratova, Cristi Puiu, Hanna Schygulla, Jerzy Stuhr, István Szabó, Béla Tarr, Maria Schrader, Bohdan Sláma, Małgorzata Szumowska, Krzysztof Zanussi and many more.
The City of Wiesbaden and the State of Hesse have remained principal festival sponsors since the beginning of the festival, while a range of further competent partners such as the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, the BHF-BANK Foundation, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the broadcaster 3Sat contribute to the festival's success.
The goEast film festival, launched in 2001 after a two-and-a-half year preparatory phase, was founded by Claudia Dillmann, the former director of Deutsches Filminstitut (DIF). In the foreword to the first festival catalogue she wrote: “The time has come to open ourselves to the thoughts, images, myths and stories of our Eastern neighbours. To their culture. To their films”. Likewise involved in developing the original festival concept was Swetlana Sikora, who has remained the festival’s Artist Director until 2010.
From the outset, the state capital Wiesbaden and the Hessian state government showed considerable interest in goEast and emphasised this engagement with substantial support. It was in Wiesbaden, a city maintaining rich historical ties with Eastern Europe, that the festival found a home in the Caligari FilmBühne, one of Germany’s finest cinemas. Hilmar Hoffmann accepted the patronage of the festival and goEast very quickly established its profile within the festival landscape.
In autumn 2017 Heleen Gerritsen took over as Festival Director. After Claudia Dillmann, Christine Kopf, Nadja Rademacher and Gaby Babić she is the fifth front woman of goEast.
Since 2016 the patron of the festival has been Bernd Neumann.