goEast 2023: Winners at Festival of Central and Eastern European Film: Main Award for REMEMBER TO BLINK // Best Director for PARADE

Wiesbaden/Frankfurt, 2 May 2023 


REMEMBER TO BLINK (Per arti, Lithuania, 2022, directed by Austėja Urbaitė, produced by Živile Gallego) won the Golden Lily, endowed with prize money in the amount of 10,000 euros, at the 23rd edition of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film in Wiesbaden. In this psychological drama, Jacqueline and Leon, a French couple, are faced with challenges after the adoption of a pair of siblings from Lithuania. When they hire a Lithuanian college student to help the kids acclimate to their new surroundings, the domestic atmosphere becomes increasingly tense. The members of the international jury, led by Rada Šešić, explained their selection thusly in a statement: “This film re-examines adoption and motherhood through complex power dynamics between two women and ideas of East and West, reminding us that the colonial practices we have inherited often resurface to affect contemporary life.” 

The award ceremony at Caligari FilmBühne formed the grand finale for an emotional and eventful festival week at goEast. After seven days full of cinematic art, virtual reality, workshops, numerous discussions, lectures, film talks and exhibitions, featuring screenings of 110 films and with more than 350 guests from the international film industry present in Wiesbaden, the winning films of the Competition, the East-West Talent Lab and the Work-in-Progress Competition were honoured and presented with prizes valued at a total of 27,500 euros. 

Director Titas Laucius won the Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director (endowed with 7,500 euros) for his film PARADE (Lithuania, 2022), a black comedy revolving around a brass band and a run of bad luck in the life of its director. The jury praised the film thusly: “A remarkably confident debut, with an acute sense of the humour to be found in failed relationships, and the institutional rules that bind people together, and a phenomenal lead female performance by Rasa Samuolyte.” 

WE WILL NOT FADE AWAY (Ukraine, France, Poland, 2023) by director Alisa Kovalenko was honoured with the CEEOL Award for Best Documentary Film (4,000 euros), presented for the second time by the Central and Eastern European Online Library. The coming-of-age-in-war documentary follows a group of adolescents growing up in Donbass who dream of travelling to the Himalayas. The jury observed: “Bringing to the screen the vivid dreams and ambitions of small-town teenagers caught in a brutal environment of dashed hopes and trapped lives, this cinéma vérité documentary shows a remarkable ability to engage with, understand, and bring close to us their stories and aspirations.” 

A Special Mention went to THIS IS WHAT I REMEMBER (Kirgizstan, Japan, The Netherlands, France, 2022) by Aktan Arym Kubat. This portrait of a society that centres on a guest worker suffering from memory loss is set in a post-Soviet reality. In the words of the jury: “A seemingly silent yet visually powerful film that roars from within, touching on the power of love in the divine sense to revive waning social values, traditional roots, with a keen sense of the engulfing environmental crisis and beautiful lead performances by both the director and his son.” 

The FIPRESCI International Critic’s Award in the fiction feature category went to REMEMBER TO BLINK (Lithuania, 2022) by director Austėja Urbaitė. The jury explained their selection was “(f)or the careful and intense way of describing a delicate subject as the fulfilment of female desire for motherhood and family. The film dramatically deals with the confrontation between cultures and the problems of international child adoptions.” 

In the documentary film category, the FIPRESCI jury, consisting of Davide Magnisi, Živa Emeršič and Tina Waldeck, chose to honour MOTHERLAND (Mutterland, Sweden, Ukraine, Norway, 2022) from the directorial duo of Alexander Mihalkovich and Hanna Badziaka. The film was notable, in the jury’s own words, (f)or the brave revealing of the violence and corruption in the Belarusian Army through the story of mothers trying to bring the culprits to justice. Regardless of the failure of their attempts, the film brings a strong message of the power of humanity and resistance.” 

A Special Mention in the RheinMain Short Film Award section, supported by Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain went to ARALKUM (Uzbekistan, 2022) by Daniel Asadi Faezi and Mila Zhluktenko. The jury explained their selection with the following statement: “A poetic journey into the land of dried-up life which reminds us of the horrific consequences of human greed. With powerful, aesthetic images, the filmmakers have succeeded in creating a moving warning about the irreversible destruction of nature.” 

The main RheinMain Short Film Award went to NO NATION WITHOUT CULTURE (KEINE NATION OHNE KULTUR, Chechnya, 2022) by Vladlena Sandu. According to the jury: “With clear and precise images, the director brings impressive observations from a nearly forgotten city out into the world – rendering the destruction of a culture’s soul visible. A timely scream from a society that has been silenced.” 

In the East-West Talent Lab, made possible with the generous support of Renovabis and the Goethe Institute, the Project Market Pitch took place in front of a three-member jury. “We love the energy of your project and are happy to announce that: The Pitch-the-Doc Award goes to ASHES TO ASHES, DUST TO SIDE CHICKS (Kazakhstan) by Intizor Otaniyozaova”, the jury shared, adding: “Empowered by Beyonce the director goes on a quest to trace the mosaic of her ancestry and to reclaim herself and her voice. She takes us on the road from the Eastern border of Kazakhstan to the Western border of Uzbekistan and through her eyes we will experience the complexity of the region. The discoveries on her journey will impact her own growth.” 

THE SIGH OF MEMORY (Kirghizstan) by Gulzat Egemberdieva received the Renovabis Research Grant for Projects with a Human Rights Focus (3,500 euros). According to the jury: “With the Renovabis Research Grant – and 3,500 euros – we would like to support a filmmaker still at the very beginning of her latest film.  We look much forward to Gulzat Egemberdieva tracing the story of the opium trade in Central Asia from the early Soviet times until today.  Gulzat grew up in a region where opium farming had a big impact for decades that was hardly addressed. Told with a unique perspective and with exceptional access, The Sigh of Memory turns to the past to understand how this problem still reverberates in the present.” 

Every year since the very first edition of the festival, goEast media partner 3sat has awarded one film from the programme with a television broadcast package. In 2023, this honour goes to an entry in the Competition: the Latvian fiction feature JANUARY (Janvāris, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, 2022), with the words: “The strength of Viesturs Kairišs’ film lies in its understated intricacy. It unfolds from a young man’s unsure search for his purpose in his relationships and his artistic ambitions into a powerful, expressive description of the Latvian struggle for independence in 1991. The instances where private behaviour (between opportunism and protest), moral integrity and political action intersect are made visible, as well as their contradictions, subtly illuminating the present moment to a degree, in the tradition of Krzysztof Kieślowski, though without providing easy answers. From a formal point of view, the film plays adeptly with various analogue image formats and archival material, while impressively recalling the significance of Latvian filmmakers like Juris Podnieks and Andris Slapinš and their part as artists in the struggle for independence and democracy.” The film is slated to celebrate its television premiere on 3sat on the occasion of the 2024 edition of goEast. 

The 23rd edition of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film took place in Wiesbaden, Germany, from 26 April to 2 May. In addition to a multifaceted Competition section and intensive encounters in the cinema, this year’s festival highlights included guest appearances by internationally celebrated filmmakers such as Radu Jud, and the Portrait of Jasmila Žbanić, with the director in attendance. The Symposium, which took place under the title “Decolonizing the (Post)- Soviet Screen”, was met with a very high degree of enthusiastic participation by guests from Germany and abroad. With Cinema Archipelago, a supporting programme extending beyond the traditional cinema experience, the festival explored new medial territory for the second time, with the generous support of Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, enabling, among other things, a successful exhibition under the title ILLUSTRATORS_NATIVE and panel discussions treating indigenous activism in the former Soviet republics. 

Here is a full overview of all of this year’s award winners: 

  1. Golden Lily for Best Film

REMEMBER TO BLINK (PER ARTI, Lithuania, 2022, directed by Austėja Urbaitė, produced by Živile Gallego) 

  1. Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director

PARADE (PARADAS, Lithuania, 2022, directed by Titas Laucius) 

3.CEEOL Award for Best Documentary Film 

WE WILL NOT FADE AWAY (MY NE ZGASNIEMO, Ukraine, France, Poland, 2023, directed by Alisa Kovalenko) 

  1. Special Mention of the International Jury

THIS IS WHAT I REMEMBER (ESIMDE, Kirgizstan, Japan, The Netherlands, France, 2022, directed by Aktan Arym Kubat)  

  1. FIPRESCI International Film Critic’s Award (fiction feature) 

REMEMBER TO BLINK (PER ARTI, Lithuania, 2022, directed by Austėja Urbaitė) 

  1. FIPRESCI International Film Critic’s Award (documentary film) 

MOTHERLAND (MUTTERLAND, Sweden, Ukraine, Norway, 2022, directed by Aleksander Mihalkovich and Hanna Badziaka) 

  1. Special Mention RheinMain Short Film Award

ARALKUM (Uzbekistan, 2022, directed by Daniel Asadi Faezi and Mila Zhluktenko) 

  1. RheinMain Short Film Award 

NO NATION WITHOUT CULTURE (Chechnya,2022, directed by Vladlena Sandu) 

  1. Pitch-the-Doc Award

ASHES TO ASHES, DUST TO SIDE CHICKS (Kazakhstan, directed by Intizor Otaniyozaova) 

  1. Renovabis Research Grant

THE SIGH OF MEMORY (Kirgizstan, directed by Gulzat Egemberdieva) 

  1. 3sat Broadcast Selection

JANUARY (Janvāris, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, 2022, directed by Viesturs Kairišs) 

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

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 film festival funding program of the Goethe-Institut in co-operation with the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, Renovabis, the City of Eschborn, Deutsch-Tschechischer Zukunftsfonds and the Central and Eastern European Online Library GmbH / CEEOL. Primary media partners include 3sat, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.