goEast 2022 Recap

goEast FESTIVAL IMPRESSIONS 2022

Every year in April, goEast transforms State Capital Wiesbaden into one of the most important international centres for Central and Eastern European cinema. As a project of DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut, 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 reinforcing these films’ place in public consciousness.

See this year’s festival highlights in our VideoDoc.

MusicbyAden – Desire by MusicbyAden is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0CC
Download: Musicbyaden – Desire soundcloud.com/musicbyaden/desire
@musicbyaden soundcloud.com/musicbyaden

Video Documentation – Marisa Luna Santos (marluna-media@posteo.de)

FESTIVALBLOG: DAY 7 (25.04.)

goEast award winners 2022 are as follows:

Golden Lily for Best Film
VERA DREAMS OF THE SEA (VERA ANDRRON DETIN, Kosovo/ Albania/ North Macedonia 2021, directed by: Kaltrina Krasniqi, produced by: Shkumbin Istrefi)

Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director
GENTLE (SZELÍD, Hungary/ Germany, 2022)

CEEOL Award for Best Documentary Film
BONEY PILES (TERYKONY, Ukraine 2022, directed by: Taras Tomenko)

Special Mention of the International Jury
AS FAR AS I CAN WALK (STRAHINJA BANOVIć, Serbia/ Luxembourg/ France/ Bulgaria/ Lithuania, 2021, directed by: Stefan Arsenijević)

FIPRESCI International Film Critics’ Award (Fiction Feature)
PILGRIMS (PILIGRIMAI, Litauen 2021, directed by: Laurynas Bareiša)

FIPRESCI International Film Critics’ Award (Documentary Film)
BONEY PILES (TERYKONY, Ukraine 2022, directed by: Taras Tomenko)

Merck Innovation Award for XR
ARCTIC RECALL (Russia, directed by: Anna Tolkacheva)

Special Mention for XR
IF THESE STREETS COULD TALK (Hungary, directed by: Barna Szász)

Renovabis Research Grant
I DON’T WANT (North Macedonia, directed by: Hanis Bagashov)

Current Time TV Award (USA)
I DON’T WANT (North Macedonia, directed by: Hanis Bagashov)

Pitch-the-Doc Award
ELENA IN DELEYNA (Bulgaria, directed by: Elena Stoycheva)

3sat broadcasting deal
KLONDIKE (Ukraine/ Turkey, 2022, directed by: Maryna Er Gorbach)

I was in the Q and A session with the director of VERA DREAMS OF THE SEA, Kaltrina Krasniqi, during the festival. This is what she had to say about the making of her film:

“Tradition and law do not go hand in hand. Tradition needs to be poked at on an everyday basis in order for it to change. The story of Vera is set in today’s Kosovo, so I went into this very deep research to see if the tradition of male inheritance had actually moved or changed in any kind of way. My background is in research, I continue to do a lot of oral history research. So I was interviewing a lot of women from this generation, trying to understand what was their relationship to property and to economic disparity. And what I learned was that actually, in the past 30 years, the social tradition in this regard has not changed nothing. So what basically happened is I lived with the character Vera for 7 years, trying to find ways to make this movie. The topic itself is not a very popular one. I knew from the beginning this would be a very difficult movie to make, but I really wanted to do it.
The film begins with a suicide, we never see the body, I chose to suggest from behind a closed door. It s true anyway that most relationships happen behind closed doors, and that most conservative societies rely on appearances. There are so many lies and deceits happening in the most intimate relationships. What I really liked about the relationship between Vera and her husband, is that it presents itself as a really close and intimate relationship, but then it’s a relationship built on so many secrets and lies. The way those secrets and lies unravel is important because they are a great measurement on how a society operates, especially a society that for decades has been going through very dramatic political and social changes. In a society where people find it difficult to have a healthy relationship with truth. So in a way the door to the bathroom which we never enter represents so many things.
After the second world war in Yugoslavia, women were very much encouraged to pursue an education, not in the arts but in other professions. In the past 20 years another important thing happened, and it was the recognition of women’s activism in the 90’s, when Kosovo was oppressed by the Serbian state and it was only women who could walk freely in and between the cities and villages. So they would help people in the villages and other cities to get food, education and medical help. A recognition for this activism has really grown in Kosovo since the war ended, mostly because of a great feminist and queer movement happening in Kosovo right now where marginalised stories are coming to the surface. It s not a surprise that Vera Dreams of the sea is happening in 2021.

Our struggles within generations are very different. The daughter in the film comes from a generation that has the ability to question the decisions of a previous generation, mostly because of the uncomfortability you have as a woman watching your mother on an everyday basis negotiate her freedom. You look at her and you want to model your life on her but then it’s uncomfortable to do that, and we need to talk about those uncomfortabilities. Those uncomfortabilities do not only happen in womens’ communities but they happen in every community. We all carry so much shame from the previous generation.
On the other hand, it’s also about coming to a point of appreciation of how much the previous generation has done, and to have the strength to face that. It enables you to be in a position of opposition, and to be able to face shame und uncomfortabilty. This is not just a film about women and generations of women, but it is also more braodly a film about conversations we need to have. Those conversations are not specific to Kosovo, but are worldwide. People in situations of economic control or comfort have the ability to reimagine themselves, and what we need is that people marginalised by economic disparity also have the space to reimagine themselves.
Sometimes, when countries go through wars or transitions, society tends to believe there is a hierarchy regarding human rights, or topics that we need to tackle. Groups that live in the margins do not have that same space for a voice. There is first the topic of independence, of war, of the missing. Over the past decade, a shift has happened. The time has come for those who were living in the shadow to come out with their stories, and I am a product of that generation.”

Festivalblog: Day 6 (24.04.)

This year at goEast, Paweł Łoziński, the renowned director, scriptwriter and producer is delivering the masterclass as part of the East-West Talent Lab. His documentary, THE BALCONY MOVIE (POL 2021) is this year’s out of competition opening film and formed the backdrop for the masterclass. Filmed with one camera set up on his balcony in Warsaw, the personal stories of passers by are captured over a period of 2 years. Pawel talked about the importance of transcription in documentary filming (over 900 pages were collected over the course of filming). As well as helping with the analysis and organisation of the footage, it’s necessary to help you find rhythm and movement and is essential for the building and edit. Focus on the moment, don’t be shy, have a clear idea of your route and remember that the simple is often the most beautiful.

I caught another of the competition films today, VERA DREAMS OF THE SEA (KOS, ALB, MKD 2021) with a Q and A afterwards. The film took 7 years to finance and produce, during which time director Kaltrina Krasniqi researched and learnt a lot about the changing situation of women in the last 30 years and the clash between law and tradition within her home country. Inheritance is a key topic through which social and economic disparities can be spoken about, and a spotlight can be shone on a silent generation of women who bridge the gap between tradition and changing times and bear the brunt of the shame and hypocrisy of it.

FESTIVALBLOG: DAY 5 (23.04)

There is a definite shift in energy now that the weekend is here. The buzz around the competition films is palpable, most of them are still available to watch over the weekend at the venues here in Wiesbaden and all are in the online portal.
Being able to come together in person, after two years in a digital dystopia, has been important for a lot of people this year. An integral part of the festival is the ability to meet like minded people, feel inspired and see old friends. Not forgetting that the experience of viewing the films in the cinema adds a crucial dimension that a small screen at home cannot deliver. I’m very happy to be experiencing cinema on the big screen again, as is the general consensus from everyone else at the festival.

The third round of film talks is happening tonight. As is the goEast Party.

Hmmm, what to do. Which one to go to….

In the meantime, I’ve been catching up with people, who in some cases I have not seen since before the pandemic, or have not been able to travel for other reasons in the last months.

After the discussion on 30 years of post soviet cinema, I have been thrilled at the idea of watching at least a couple of the films of the extensive, but my no means exhaustive ‘list’. I managed to catch TITO AMONG THE SERBS FOR THE SECOND TIME on Friday, which was fantastic. Today, I m heading to the Theater im Pariser Hof to check out  Porumboiu’s 2006 Romanian comedy 12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST. It s a slapstick take on the battle of narrative in post-communist space. Centred around the clock in a town square, the question posed is, “where were you on the 22nd December 1989 12:08?”. As one character points out, “revolutionary bragging is shit talk”. And so the fun begins. The film’s genius lies in the layers behind that one simple question, revealing our human traits and fragilities, unwrapping 3 character’s assertions and revealing their personal contradictions. It also throws a light on history being owned by the one in control of the telling, as well as somehow making you remember a time you were sat at a family get together watching the hilarity unfold as family members insist on their version of events.

The PANEL today debating a Ukrainian Perspective on boycotting Russian Cinema was with Volodymyr Sheiko, Daria Badior, Hanna Hrytsenko, Natalia Libet, Viktoria Leshchenko, Alina Gorlova, Maksym Nakonechnyi and Maryna Er Gorbach.
To expand on the Ukraine Film Institute’s call to boycott Russian cinema, the panel called for a suspension of Russian cinematic programming, as the beginning of a decolonizing process in a post-soviet context. It recognised the need for a re-appraisal of Soviet film history. Participants were reminded that in these traumatic times, it is important to be as empathetic and gentle with each other as possible.

Just time to check out one more film from the competition line up. GENTLE (HUN, DEU 2022) is showing at the Caligari this evening. A touching portrayal of strength and vulnerability, that ends up feeling very familiar, with a protagonist that reveals herself in layers as the film takes us on a linear trip to the ultimate goal of winning Miss Olympia.

 

Time to pick people up and try not to drink my own bodyweight in wine at the goEast party. Walking through Wiesbaden, it seems that Saturday night is the night to be out. I’m not allowed to reveal party goings on, by order of the high priestess, so I’m just gonna leave it there.

FESTIVALBLOG: DAY 4 (22.04)

It s Friday and the 1st day of the symposium discussions. The talks this year are exploring Godards underlying relationship with the films, cultures and histories of Central and Eastern Europe. It’s an opportunity to attend lectures by leading scholars from around the world accompanied and illustrated by a selection of his rarer works.
I’ve got to admit, over the years I’ve taken some issue with Godard’s cultural pedestal. I knew relatively little about the depth of his connection to the politics of Eastern Europe. Time to learn something. I attended a couple of lectures today, exploring distance montage as used by Godard and Pelechyan, Eistensteins theories on Pathos and Ecstasis and looking at the historical and social context of the happenings in 1968 in both Paris and Prague. The film PRAVDA (FRA 1969) was both an ideological blizzard and an excellent illustration of what was in the lectures, from the use of colour and sound to repetition and absence.

The symposium lectures and panels at the Wiesbaden Museum are happening all weekend If you re hanging about at the Ost Kiosk or passing through the festival centre…

The guys taking part in this year’s East West Talent Lab have been working hard since the workshops started on Tuesday. With 3 days to go before the final pitches are delivered on Monday, it was time for a break in the sunshine, with a generous bar and smoking grill, expertly manned by Uncle Ed.

Recommendation from festival goers for the day!

By the BBQ grill station, we met Bella, though distracted by the food and smells, she gave us her recommendation of the day and said it reminded her of lives gone by and lives still to sausage

JANUARY (BUL, LUX, PRT 2021): a surreal thriller set in an existential and shapeshifting snowstorm. The protagonists navigate this bleak landscape, raising lobsters in hotel rooms, meeting frozen wolves and eery strangers in a disorientating forest where no one returns the way they went in.

As you know, the multimedia project, YUGORETTEN, have created a magical cave of colour in the basement, a discoball anarchic sisterhood, and a safe space for anyone to drop in for tea and baklava. From today’s discussions on the #metoo movement, a performance piece was born, and shown in front of the Museum Wiesbaden as the sun went down.

Inspired by the social media’s potential to give political visibility to its silenced populations, tonight’s performance came from the grave reality of a growing Femicide worldwide to highlight that women all over the world still live in terror in their homes, in streets or in the systems in which they live.
Utilising traditional dance forms and familiar choreography from the protests in Chile, YUGORETTEN are calling for women to unite.
We didn’t ask for flowers! We asked for adjustment! You are the rapist!

#nisamtrajila

FESTIVALBLOG: DAY 3 (21.04)

This year’s Homage is to Lana Gogoberidze, filmmaker, screenwriter, translator, activist and as we have learnt from her latest work (THE GOLDEN THREAD, showing at the DFF in Frankfurt next week): an ardent sports lover. She has also been seen wearing one or two fantastic cardigans around the Festival Centre. Since I heard of her work many years ago, it has not been easy (to say the least) to find her films on the big screen in the countries I have lived in, they usually pop up with special mention at film festivals where she may be in line for a prize. In my case, I heard of her through a beloved tutor of mine many years ago, who holds the film SOME INTERVIEWS ON PERSONAL MATTERS as a pivotal film in her life. Gogoberidze has become since then almost a mystical figure for me, and the opportunity to view her body of work (the program consists of 10 of her films, 6 of which newly restored and digitalised for the festival) this year in Wiesbaden is very special.
The films in the retrospective are running until Sunday here in Wiesbaden, and then moving to the DFF in Frankfurt the following week.

30 YEARS OF “POST SOVIET CINEMA”? A Panel discussion with Matthijs Wouter Knol, Dina Iordinova, Tristan Priimägi and moderated by Heleen Gerritsen.

In the midst of differing viewpoints on the use and want for lists in general, panel members came together to compile a selection of 30 significant works of what is termed,” Post Soviet” Cinema. Many of these works are sitting in closed archives, are inaccessible for the moment, or in a bad state of repair, since, as one panel member put it, the focus in the 90s was more on the commercial than on preserving the past. The situation is so complicated that goEast dedicated an entire symposium to the issues of film preservation during the times of transition in Central and Eastern Europe back in 2020.

Still an ideological list of 30 films has been drawn up, not exhaustive, and not exclusive, by any means. This panel discussion was about establishing a baseline, a work in progress, a foundation on which to build.

Naturally this has opened a box of worms that our spirited panel of experts tackled with gusto!

From the meaning of “Post Soviet” and “Post colonial”, to the role of the Hybrid Documentary form in Eastern European film-making to the realisation that while for some, the term “Post Soviet” has a life defining meaning, for new generations it is outside of their experience. The full discussion has been filmed and will be made available on goEast’s vimeo chanel after the festival week.

Of the 30 significant cinematic works cited so far, 6 rare beauties are showing in this year’s festival.

Catch TITO AMONG THE SERBS FOR THE SECOND TIME (YUG,1994) at the Murnau on the Friday, April 22 at 16:30

Alternatively 12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST (ROU,2006) is playing at the Theater im Pariser Hof on Saturday, April 23 at 18:00.

A link to the complete list can be found here: https://www.europeanfilmacademy.org/30-years-of-post-soviet-cinema/

Time for the ……Inside Tip for the Day…..

Check out competition entry KLONDIKE (Ukraine/Turkey, 2022), which screened today at the Caligari (and will screen again at the Murnau on Friday). Maryna Er Gorbach’s solo directorial debut premiered at Sundance in January this year and is now being shown in the midst of the unrelenting war that began on Feb 24. This film, which she dedicated to women in general, presents us a very personal perspective on the war in Ukraine, set in 2014, in a village on the Ukrainian/Russian border. Focused on a woman trying to cope with the extraordinary circumstances unfolding around them, and the human need to stay amongst your familiar and clutch onto your idea of home in an unfolding nightmare of uncertainty and violence. The use of the very personal family narrative in amongst the slow sweeping landscapes, the use of silence and the brutal encroachments of the outside world highlight the feeling of senselessness and brutality of war. The imagery stays with you, of all too familiar objects, a stroller, a carpet beater. At it’s screening tonight, the film of course hit very close to home for many viewers. The discussion afterwards revolved around one main question; in such situations, do you stay with your home, or face the fear of leaving everything you know and have worked for, for a future of displacement. A question that highlights, amongst other things, generational differences and digital diasporas as new places of belonging.

KLONDIKE is showing again today, Friday April 22, at 18:00 at the Murnau venue

The OST KIOSK was getting ready for the weekend today, our sound system is plugged in, the ice is ordered and the vodka in the freezer. This year’s full menu, including delicious coffee liquor shots, can be found at the KIOSK. Ask your friendly Kiosk representative for more info!!!

Safe travels!

Festivalblog: Day 2 (20.04)

If there was ever a day that felt like Spring in Wiesbaden, it was today; the second day of the film festival. The line up this year is even more impressive, with over 90 films screening in the course of the next 5 days, plus workshops, talks and Baklava Therapy available in the basement. If you live in Wiesbaden and the surrounding area, it’s tempting to find a imaginative reason to take the rest of the week off. Festival goers visiting Wiesbaden from elsewhere are fully immersing themselves in what is proving to offer both an incredible choice of films but also an amazing array of topics. An amalgamation of talents, a sharing of ideas and a chance to meet fellow, like-minded people.

Today is the second day of the East-West Talent Lab, an initiative supporting around thirty filmmakers and emerging talents from Central and Eastern Europe in the development of their ideas. Over the next few days, a team of experts will be working alongside, helping to develop their concepts with an eye on peer connection, pitching and coproduction.

There is a buzz at our favourite hangout spot outside the Museum, the beloved Ost Kiosk. This year is the first time since she arrived by tractor in 2020 that she can be true to her kiosk self! Providing a magical place to mingle with other people and enjoy a little drink in the sunshine between this year’s talks, screenings and workshops is what Ost Kiosk is all about. Or you can simply watch the world go by.

WOMEN DO CRY (2021), got a special mention by several festival goers as being an honest and heart-wrenching exploration of gender, community and individuality. Told with great empathy through the microcosm of one family, it explores a society defined by the male gaze and dominated by dusty norms of societal and gender definitions. Set in present day Bulgaria and based on a true story, the oh too familiar themes act as a reminder of the daily challenges we all face to take care of each other in our times. A joint French/Bulgarian production supported by Arte, it was shown at the Caligari today.

One last mention must go out to the ladies of the Yugoretten! The official opening last night at our Wiesbaden Museum site involved some very thought provoking and honest discussion and including some lively audience participation and singing. Their DAILY COFFEE AND TEA RITUAL WITH BAKLAVA AND “JOGHURETTEN” will be running in the basement for the entire festival. Drop in, exhale and relax with the ladies between 15:00 and 20:00 every day, or partake in the various workshops and discussions happening over the week.

If you’re new to the festival, signing up for the festival newsletter is already a really good idea to help you navigate the daily programmed events.

Festivalblog: Day 1 (19.04.)

What a day! And what an evening! After months of frenzied festival preparations, the official opening of the 22nd goEast Film Festival was held yesterday evening at 7 p.m. And not streamed this time, but live and on site in one of the most beautiful cinemas in Germany – the Caligari FilmBühne. After a two-year digital “break”, we were all the more overjoyed to welcome our filmloving friends and filmmakers, sponsors, diplomatic and press partners in person to the official opening ceremony. In line with tradition the occasion was toasted with a “Białalaikashot. 

After Festival Director Heleen Gerritsen’s moving opening speech, a moment was given for the war victims in the Ukraine. Despite indescribable times, goEast has made it its task again this year to enable all visitors to engage in real cultural dialogue and exchange.  goEast´s guest of honor Lana Gogoberidze and the two competition juries were also in attendance. After the announcement of the film selection for this year´s programme , everyone headed over to Wiesbaden Museum. In the beautiful surroundings of our new festival center, the east kiosk has found it s new home, with food and drinks being available until late in the night. With the help of goEast resident DJ Janeck, a spontaneous dance floor sprung up in front of the Ostkiosk. After 2 years of confinement, it was time to be together again. All in all an unforgettable, eventful evening full of great encounters and chance meetings.