The goEast programme is divided into different sections, each with its own profile: Competition, Symposium, East-West Talent Lab, Portrait/Homage (alternates annually), RheinMain Shortfilm Award, Open Frame Award, Bioscop, Pan-European Picnic, an anually changing thematic section and Specials.
Each section is curated thoroughly and festival correspondents and experts support the programme team. The competition films are nominated by a selection committee. The sections serve to build bridges between Central and Eastern European auteur film and experimental film, from contemporary genre cinema to rediscovered historical films. Regarding that, documentaries have conquered their rightful place beside the feature films.
16 films, ca. ten feature films and six documentaries, mostly German premieres, produced in 2019 and 2020 compete for the festival's main awards – the Golden Lily for the Best Film endowed with 10,000 euros, the Award of the State Capital of Wiesbaden for Best Director and the Award for Cultural Diversity. In addition, two FIPRESCI Critics' Prizes are anually awarded by members of the International Federation of Film Critics.
Once again the RheinMain Short Film Award will go to a short film and is endowed with 2,500 euros. Eight short films, with a maximum length of 15 minutes from different Central and Eastern European countries compete against each other. A jury, this time consisting of cinema managers and programmers from the entire Rhine-Main area, decides who will take the award. During the goEast festival week the filmmakers are invited to take part in the East-West-Talent Lab.
With the sections Portrait and Homage (annually alternating), goEast honours filmmakers whose work has set highlights in Central and Eastern European film. While the Homage is dedicated to venerable masters of the film industry, the Portrait focuses on the work of contemporary filmmakers. Former retrospectives were dedicated to Krzysztof Zanussi, Márta Mészáros, Boris Khlebnikov, Radu Jude and Małgorzata Szumowska, amongst many others.
Every year, the interdisciplinary goEast Symposium invites researchers to delve into a topic of social and/or historical relevance. In lectures, discussions and a film programme, the understanding of culture and society of our eastern neighbors, will be strengthened. The topics of recent years have been "Reluctant Feminism – Women Filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe", "Hybrid Identities – Baltic Cinema" and "Constructions of the Other. Roma and the Cinema of Central and Eastern Europe".
goEast's interdisciplinary accompanying program brings filmmakers, artists and the audience from the Rhine-Main area together and aims to increase the visibility of Central and Eastern European culture in our region. "High culture" and "popular culture" meet and stimulate each other in order to dissolve their supposed contradictions. 2020 an actual picnic, in cooperation with cultural associations from the Rhine-Main area, is on the agenda, along with various other events in unexpected locations, like a short film tour through Wiesbaden with Eastern European short films, a master class by a renowned filmmaker, a supermarket language course, a showcase for Eastern European TV series and an exhibition about Meme culture as well as the Instagram project 1m2 by Russian performance artist vreditel_li.
Every year goEast hosts numerous special events, such as a matinee with a special guest in the Caligari FilmBühne. National film archives, special film festivals and film schools from Eastern Europe are invited to Wiesbaden to present themselves via film screenings and lectures. The film programme is rounded off by numerous exhibitions, lectures, parties and network events, making the festival a diverse platform for Eastern European culture in and around Wiesbaden.