Wiesbaden/Frankfurt, 28 February 2024 

This year, goEast’s Cinema Archipelago program, made possible once again through the generous support of Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, focuses on the (film) cultures of Kosovo and Albania, as well as on impulses from the Western Balkan region as a whole. With this focus, goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film aims to reach both a German audience and diverse communities throughout the region. This latter target group – individuals with a migration background from the Western Balkan countries residing in Germany – is difficult to express neatly in figures and extremely heterogenous in nature. According to the micro-census of 2012, some 1.58 million people in total could be attributed to this community at the time (including 368,000 for Croatia; 339,000 for Kosovo; 301,000 for Serbia; 253,000 for Bosnia and Herzegovina; and 121,000 for EYR Macedonia). These figures include former guest workers, war refugees and university students as well as artists and filmmakers. 

Albania and Kosovo in Focus 

The two small film countries of Albania and Kosovo are characterised by their closely intertwined histories. Although films from Kosovo have regularly enjoyed great success on the international film scene for around a decade now, both funding opportunities and freedom of movement remain limited for Kosovar filmmakers due to the fact that the country’s souvereignity is not universally recognised. Blerta Basholli’s HIVE (2021) was nominated for an Oscar and also very well received by German cinema audiences, while further films have been featured in Cannes and Venice. Alas, oftentimes the directors of the films in question are unable to receive visas for particular countries, such as Spain and are thus also unable to present their work in person. Kosovo is not a member of European funding programs and can also not rely on receiving support from Eastern Europe. In spite of these challenges, the country still manages to hold its own culturally. Perhaps most striking as well is the fact that the majority of the feature films shot here over the past ten years have been realised by female directors, and many of them treat socially taboo subjects such as women’s rights, sexuality and LGBTQ issues.  

Albanian language and culture have always exerted a great influence on Kosovo – that is why in 2024 goEast is showing a selection of Albanian-language films drawn from the archives of Kosovo and Albania which have shaped the region’s cultural identity. The works featured here guide viewers through diverse historical stages – from former Yugoslavia and the Hoxha dictatorship to the Kosovo War all the way up to the present day – and show how society has evolved in the two countries and how it is grappling with current issues. The program features DASHUR ARMIK / DEAR ENEMY (ALB, FRA, GER 2004) by Gjergj Xhuvani, ERA DHE LISI (YUG 1979) and 117 (YUG 1976) by Besim Sahatciu and THE GUARDIAN (KOS 2010), directed by Antoneta Kastrati. 

In addition, festival attendees can look forward to screenings of more recent Albanian films, such as I LOVE YOU MORE (KOS, ALB 2023), directed by Erblin Nushi, NË KËRKIM TË VENERËS / LOOKING FOR VENERA (KOS 2021) by Norika Sefa, DRUMS OF RESISTANCE (KOS 2016) by Mathieu Jouffre, DITA ZË FILL / DAYBREAK (ALB 2017) by Gentian Koçi and EDHE NJË DITË / ANOTHER DAY (ALB 2023), directed by Eneos Carka and INTERREGNUM (ALB 2017) by Adrian Paci. 

The program has been assembled by Blerta Zeqiri, director of the Kosovo Cinematography Center, along with the Albanian National Center of Cinematography (ANCC). The curators will also be present in Wiesbaden, where they will take part in a panel discussion on film heritage, film production and future perspectives for international co-operations, together with filmmakers from both countries and representatives of the German film industry. 

Yugoretten 2.0 

The tongue-in-cheek name sounds smooth as chocolate, but it harbours a hard centre and a raw surface – the Yugoretten from goEast are back, after a successful inaugural edition in 2022. This time under the direction of a curatorial trio composed of Borjana Gaković, Mateja Meded and Boris Hadžija, the Balkan female artists’ network will be serving up a second round of performances, film screenings, networking events and discussions.  

The central mission of the network is to bring together female artists with a migration history in ex-Yugoslavia, beyond any and all ethnic boundaries. This time, the Yugoretten have chosen new thematic focal points that complement the overarching themes of Cinema Archipelago: women and queer culture, migration and the country of Kosovo in the context of former Yugoslavia. Together with curators Gaby Babić and Borjana Gaković, filmmakers Vedrana Pribačić, Mirta Puhlovski and Kumjana Novaković will address the representation of sexualised violence and rape as a war crime in the scope of a panel discussion. Along with Mateja Meded, producer Azra Djurdjević will speak with directors Ena Sendijarević, Čarna Vučinić, Stefan Ivančić and Eroll Bilibani from DokuFest about working internationally and networking in the film world from the perspective of the diaspora. The subject of queerness in the post-Yugoslav world – and in particular the question of which closet queer cinema is hiding in and what strategies of liberation could look like – will be explored in a panel discussion featuring filmmakers Dušan Zorić, Matija Gluščević, Viktor Zahtila and Hoda Taheri and moderated by Boris Hadžija. 

The program will be accompanied by feature films, such as VEĆE OD TRAUME / BIGGER THAN TRAUMA (HRV 2022) by Vedrana Pribačić and Mirta Puhlovski, MARBLE ASS (FRA, YUG 1995) by Želimir Žilnik, and DA LI STE VIDELI OVU ŽENU / HAVE YOU SEEN THIS WOMAN? (SRB, HRV 2022) by Dušan Zorić and Matija Gluščević, as well as short films, from Hoda Taheri among others. 

Applications for East-West Talent Lab  

In 2024, goEast’s program for up-and-coming talent is intended for young film professionals from Central and Eastern Europe, seeking to push the development of their documentary film projects and forge new connections to their peers. Producers from Central and Eastern Europe as well as Germany without a current project are also eligible to apply to participate in the East-West Talent Lab.  A substantial number of submissions from various countries will compete for a chance to win the Renovabis Research Grant (worth 3,500 euros) for a documentary film project with a focus on human rights themes and the Pitch the Doc Award, which features a training-oriented prize package to support project development valued at 500 euros. The festival direction is delighted to be able to continue this co-operation with its sponsors.  

Aside from the public pitching session, one of the highlights of this year’s East-West Talent Lab will be a masterclass with the film team of the documentary film MILLION MOMENTS, which goEast will be showing in an exclusive “work-in-progress” screening. 

The film’s protagonists, Mikuláš Minář and his colleagues, the founders of the Czech pro-democracy movement Million Moments for Democracy (Milion chvilek pro demokracii), will also be on hand. In the period from 2018 to 2021, this protest movement mobilised millions of Czechs against the populist policies of former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, ultimately forcing him to resign from his position. Over the course of several years, Mikuláš Minář and his fellow activists were filmed both while pursuing their work and in their private lives. How does one make a political documentary film, and does one always have to adopt a stance in the process? What are the elements of fruitful collaboration with protagonists? Should a protest movement actively engage in party politics, or not? To what extent can one compare this protest movement to that of other countries? These and many other questions will be discussed in the masterclass. The event is also open to the general audience. 


Members of the press can apply now for accreditation for the 24th edition of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film here. During the festival period, accredited industry guests and members of the press receive access to an online media library featuring an extensive selection of festival programming. 

Save the Date: goEast Press Conference  

The annual festival press conference will take place at Wiesbaden’s Caligari FilmBühne on Wednesday, 17 April, beginning at 11:00 am.  

You can find images related to the festival in our download section. 

The full program for the 24th edition of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film will be revealed in March. 

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, the German solidarity initiative for Eastern Europe Renovabis and the Central and Eastern European Online Library GmbH / CEEOL. Primary media partners include 3sat, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.