goEast 2024: Awards // Competition Films // Juries // Large Delegation from Kosovo and Albania // Accreditation & Press Conference: Wednesday, 17 April, 11 am

Wiesbaden/Frankfurt, 9 April 2024

goEast 2024: Awards

In just two weeks, it’s that time again: on Wednesday, 24 April 2024, the 24th edition of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film gets underway. Prizes with a total value of 21,500 euros are waiting to be matched with winning films. Particularly coveted here is the main prize in the Competition section, the “Golden Lily” for Best Film (endowed with 10,000 euros). In addition, the State Capital of Wiesbaden presents the Award for Best Director (endowed with 7,500 euros in prize money). Finally, the CEEOL Award for Best Documentary Film is endowed with 4,000 euros. A dedicated three-member jury representing FIPRESCI presents two International Film Critic’s Awards. And the jury of the East-West Talent Lab also honours exceptional projects from Lab participants.

Dramas, Documentaries, Comedies, Satire and Portraits from the East and Middle of Europe – The Full Range of Diversity in the goEast Competition Section

The centrepiece of the festival is the Competition, which offers a broad audience from Wiesbaden and the surrounding area the opportunity to become closely acquainted with highlights of contemporary Central and Eastern European cinema. In 16 feature-length fiction and documentary films, the audience witnesses the great conflicts of our era, such as armed confrontations, oppression, corruption and anti-Semitism, though many of the films also revolve around efforts to break free from encrusted structures, both in the family and in society at large. The most brilliant productions of the past two years grace Wiesbaden’s cinema screens for one full week, while film talks following the screenings give attendees the opportunity to ask their questions.

Following the festival opening, which features a screening (out of competition) of the Georgian co-production CROSSING, SMILING GEORGIA (GEO/DEU, 2023), directed by Georgian filmmaker Luka Beradze, serves as an absurd historical document, taking viewers back in time to 2012, when President Mikheil Saakashvili promised free dentures for the dentally challenged during an election campaign. The rural population took him at his word, crowding dental practices to have their rotten teeth pulled – only to see Saakashvili’s party lose the election in the end.

Olga Chernykh’s essay-like multi-generational portrait A PICTURE TO REMEMBER / FOTO NA PAMYAT (UKR/FRA/DEU, 2023) opened the 2023 edition of IDFA, one of the most important festivals for documentary film world-wide, and is now celebrating its German premiere at goEast, which Chernykh is scheduled to attend. The Donetsk native employs sound and visual recordings of Ukraine’s disturbing present shaped by war, poetically juxtaposed with materials from three generations drawn from her own family archive.

Dmitrii Davydov’s Sibirian drama PLAGUE / CHUMA (RU-SA, 2023) is celebrating its international premiere. Rough customs dominate the daily life of a village in the Siberian Republic of Sakha, where conflicts are typically resolved with violence. Ivan, a widower, can’t seem to keep himself from getting pushed around by the other villagers, which gradually causes his son Taras to lose all respect for him.

Askhat Kuchinchirekov’s coming-of-age drama BAURYNA SALU (KAZ, 2023) tells the moving story of Yersultan, who, in accordance with local tribal tradition, is given to his grandmother after birth so that she may raise him. His life takes a painful turn when she passes away: now Yersultan must return to a family for whom he has next to no feelings. The director, who incorporated and processed his own similar childhood experiences in the film, will be on hand in Wiesbaden.

In the intimate family documentary 1489 (ARM, 2023), directed by Shoghakat Vardanyan, towards the end of his military service the filmmaker’s brother Soghomon vanishes while on a mission in Nagorno-Karabakh during the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Desperate for news, the family attempts to regain contact with him. In these moments of helplessness, Vardanyan takes out her camera and films her shared everyday life with her parents. Vardanyan, who won the main prize at IDFA in Amsterdam for her debut outing, will also be attending the festival.

In the pastoral social drama STEPNE (UKR/DEU/POL/SVK, 2023), directed by Maryna Vroda, protagonist Anatoliy returns to the village where he spent his childhood following years of absence, to care for his dying mother. Here in the snow-covered Ukrainian countryside live those individuals who have increasingly been forgotten by post-Soviet society: the old and poor. With its incorporation of performances by non-actors and fantastically composed images, the film is sure to charm festival viewers. Maryna Vroda will also be in Wiesbaden to present her film.

In the coming-of-age-themed long-term documentation KIX (HUN, 2023) from directorial duo Dávid Mikulán and Bálint Révész, who will also be on hand in Wiesbaden, filmmaker Mikulán sets out with skateboard and camera in hand to find subjects to film for his university project. A trail of chalk on the Budapest asphalt ultimately leads him to Sanyi Marku, a kid from a precarious social background who now becomes Mikulán’s protagonist. The director films Sanyi’s life over the next ten years, in episodic fashion, showing Budapest from an unusual perspective.

In the feminist drama MADINA (KAZ/PAK/IND, 2023) by Kazakh filmmaker Aizhana Kassymbek, Madina, a dancer, lives together on the Caspian Sea with her grandmother, her younger brother and her two-year-old daughter. She tries to earn enough to support the whole family by working as a dance instructor by day and a go-go dancer in a club by night. Burdened by her ex-husband’s harassment and an oligarch’s unwelcome advances, to top it off one day she discovers a family secret that changes everything. Aizhana Kassymbek is also scheduled to attend the festival in Wiesbaden.

Kumjana Novakova’s SILENCE OF REASON / ŠUTNJA RAZUMA (MKD/BIH, 2023) also deals with female trauma. Their identities protected, multiple women from the town of Foča recount systematic rapes perpetrated against them by Serbian soldiers during the Bosnian War. Combined with archival images and footage of the crime sites, the accounts, presented primarily in text form with sparing use of distorted audio, form a cinematic collage that leaves the viewer speechless and appalled. The film will be screened in the presence of special film guests.

The observational documentary film FAIRY GARDEN (HUN/ROU/HRV, 2023), directed by Gergö Somogyvári, tells the tale of Fanni, who’s recently been kicked out of the family home and now lives, together with 60-year-old unhoused Laci, inside a self-built hut erected in a forest clearing. The 19-year-old transwoman dreams of love, a feeling of closeness, acceptance, a better life and gender transition – not an easy matter, since it is officially not possible to have one’s gender changed in Hungary, where homelessness is also criminalised. The director is scheduled to attend the festival in Wiesbaden.

Andrei Cohn, director of HOLY WEEK / SĂPTĂMÂNA MARE (ROU/FRA/CH/TUR, 2024), will also be making an appearance in Wiesbaden. His theatrical tragedy takes the audience back to 19th-century rural Romania, where Leiba runs an inn with his family. The surroundings are idyllic and business at the inn is bustling. Everything would be just fine if the Jewish innkeeper and his family didn’t find themselves subjected to the massive anti-Semitism of the era. Though the villagers and travellers enjoy dining at Leiba’s place, they make no effort to conceal their racist loathing.

Ivan Tymchenko’s OXYGEN STATION / KYSNEVA STANTSIYA (UKR/SVK/CZE/SWE, 2023) is a magical-realist biopic. In the summer of 1980, Mustafa Dzhemilev, a leading human rights activist for the Crimean Tatars, is banished to the Siberian village of Zyryanka after concluding a 303-day hunger strike. His forced labour in the oxygen station is akin to the endless routine of legendary Sisyphus. The director will be in attendance.

Nicole Philmon, director of the documentary work 09.05.2022 (NLD/MNE, 2023), will also be in Wiesbaden for the festival. Her film takes a look at the festivities for 9 May, otherwise known as Victory Day, which Russia has celebrated annually since the end of the Second World War in 1945, with the ostensible intent of commemorating the suffering of the “Great Patriotic War”. What did this national holiday actually look like in 2022, just months after Putin ordered a massive attack on neighbouring Ukraine? The film, produced by Sergei Loznitsa, is celebrating its world premiere in Wiesbaden.

Full of biting satire and garish colours, the four episodes of Andrei Kashperski’s PROCESSES (BLR/POL, 2023) relate recent Belarusian history, from the aftermath of the protests against Lukashenka in 2020 to the Ukraine War today. The director is also expected to attend the festival in Wiesbaden.


This year’s chair of the international goEast Competition Jury is Nicoletta Romeo, from Italy. As artistic director of Trieste Film Festival, she is exceedingly knowledgeable when it comes to Eastern European cinema: her film festival is also focussed on films from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Nicoletta Romeo has worked as a producer, as head of programming for the Venice International Critics Week and as a program advisor for the Thessaloniki Film Festival and 4 Ecrans, Paris. She has been collaborating with Trieste Film Festival since 1996, and in 2016 took over as artistic director. She has curated several retrospectives dedicated to Greek, Romanian, Polish, Georgian and Yugoslav cinema.

Romeo is joined by actress Ilinca Manolache from Bucharest, who shined most recently in the lead role of Radu Jude’s new film DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH FROM THE END OF THE WORLD. Manolache studied acting at the National University of Theatre and Film (Bucharest) and has been performing on renowned theatre stages since receiving her degree. In the realm of cinema, she has worked primarily with Radu Jude, with roles in I DO NOT CARE IF WE GO DOWN IN HISTORY and BAD LUCK BANGING or LOONEY PORN (Golden Bear – Berlinale).

This year’s jury line-up continues with Czech film producer Jiří Konečný (1973), founder and owner of Endorfilm (Prague), which primarily produces films for the cinema. His films have been selected to appear at numerous international festivals, including Cannes, Venice and the Berlinale, and have received more than 100 awards. Nine of his films have been national candidates for an Oscar. Konečný graduated from the University of Economics in Prague and from FAMU. He is a member of the European Film Academy (EFA), the Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) and the Slovak Film and Television Academy (SFTA), as well as a lecturer at FAMU in Prague.

Director, curator, activist and performer Hamze Bytyçi, a native of Kosovo, is also joining this year’s jury. He studied acting in Freiburg and founded the Berlin based Roma organisation RomaTrial e.V. in 2012 and the international festival for Romani cinema “AKE DIKHEA?” in 2017, where he has since served as artistic director. Bytyçi’s most recent films include the short documentary film JOŽKA (2017) as well as a series of nine animated short films about survivors and victims of the Nazi genocide of the Sinti and Roma peoples (2019-2022), which are part of the monument for the murdered Sinti* and Roma* of Europe.

Born in Warsaw, jury member Maciek Hamela received a master’s degree from Sorbonne University (Paris IV) in French literature. Hamela worked in renovations and as a tour guide, while studying film directing at École Internationale de Création Audiovisuelle et de Réalisation (EICAR). Since graduation, he has worked as a journalist, producer and filmmaker. He is a long-time BBC Channel collaborator, as well as the co-creator and producer of the documentary short film BLESS YOU, for which he received a Doc Alliance Award within the Cannes Docs program in 2021. He has produced other award-winning films, such as CONVICTIONS (2016). His most recent directorial outing is the documentary IN THE REARVIEW (2023), which will be screened at goEast in the scope of Human Rights Sunday. He is also a director and producer of various radio works, as well as of Plan B, a documentary podcast series.

The international film critics organisation FIPRESCI is also represented in Wiesbaden with its own three-member jury:

Prof. Dr. Bojidar Manov has accompanied goEast’s evolution since the first festival edition in 2001. He was born in 1947 in Sofia, where he works as a film critic and journalist (for Trud News, Kultura monthly, Bulgarian National Radio, Bulgarian National Television and Kino magazine, among others). He has served as dean of the Cinema Faculty at the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia and vice president of FIPRESCI. Prof. Manov is a member of the European Film Academy, the author of twelve books and the translator of six novels. In addition, he is an honorary citizen of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.

Katrin Hillgruber works as a freelance journalist and film and literature critic for diverse newspapers, radio broadcasters and the online film magazine “artechock” in Munich. Since 2015, she has been active on a volunteer basis as a curator for the Munich-based film festival “Cinepol”/ “filmPOLSKA” and its successor, “Mittel Punkt Europa Filmfest” (www.mittelpunkteuropa.eu).

Catalin Olaru, a native of Romania, has worked as a film critic since 2009. He is the author of several essays and studies in the anthologies “Film Politics” and “Film Politics II”, as well as the artistic director of Taifas, the Balkan Film and Culture Festival and the European Film Festival.

The East-West Talent Lab Jury also consists of three members:

Jessica Gorter is a Dutch documentary filmmaker. She studied directing and editing at the Dutch Film and Television Academy in Amsterdam. In her work, she often deals with the life and history of the former Soviet Union. After a few short films, Gorter made her breakthrough with 900 DAYS (2011), which treats the myth and reality of the siege of Leningrad. The film received praise internationally and was honoured with multiple awards. In 2014, Gorter received the prestigious Documentary Award from the Dutch “Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund” for her work. In her third feature-length film THE RED SOUL (2017), the director investigated why Stalin is still seen as a hero by so many Russians. Her latest documentary, THE DMITRIEV AFFAIR (2023), is a thematic continuation of all the films she has made in Russia since the 1990s, laying bare the consequences for individual lives of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The film will be celebrating its German premiere at goEast.

Dagmar Mielke has worked since 2004 as a commissioning editor for RBB/ARTE. Before that, she worked for several other editorial offices and as an author and director. Recent documentaries Mielke has commissioned include JUDGMENT IN HUNGARY (Eszter Hajdú), AQUARELA (Victor Kossakovsky), HOW TO SAVE A DEAD FRIEND (Marusya Syroechkovskaya) and BECOMING NAWALNY (Igor Sadreev / Aleksandr Urzhanov). Many of the films have won national and international awards, among them Oscar nominated RABBITS À LA BERLIN by Bartek Konopka and Piotr Rosolowski, the best Israeli documentary of 2015, Mor Loushy’s CENSORED VOICES, and the German Film Award winner of 2019, GUNDERMAN, directed by Andreas Dresen.

Maciej Nowicki is chairman of the board of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Poland, one of the largest human rights organisations in Central and Eastern Europe. A lawyer by training, Nowicki is an expert on human rights, the rule of law and documentary films, and has served as a jury member at several international film festivals. In 2001, he co-founded the international film festival “WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film” in Warsaw, which he directed until 2021. In addition, he conceived “FUTURE DOCS” – an international platform for creative encounters between human rights advocates and documentary filmmakers.

A Large Delegation from Kosovo and Albania

In 2024, goEast is taking a look at Albanian-language works of film drawn from the archives of Kosovo and Albania that have helped to shape the region’s cultural identity, with the participation of diverse special guests – filmmakers Antoneta Kastrati, Erblin Nushi, Gentian Koçi, Blerina Hankollari, Eneos Çarka, Norika Sefa and Besnik Sahatçu (grandfather of the Kosovar-British singer Rita Ora) are all scheduled to attend, alongside representatives from the Kosovo Cinematography Center and the Albanian National Center of Cinematography (ANCC). The program also includes a roundtable discussion on the subjects of potential co-operation opportunities and future perspectives for this inspiring region. The panel “Future Perspectives for Film Production and Film Heritage in Kosovo and Albania”, with Blerta Zeqiri, director of Kosovo Cinematography Center, Ilir Gjocaj from Kosovo Film Archive, Albanian filmmaker Gentian Koçi and Arben Lami, interim director of Albanian National Center of Cinematography, moderated by Heleen Gerritsen, will be exploring specific questions reflected in the event’s title.

Accreditation and goEast Press Conference

Members of the press can apply now here for accreditation for goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film. Accreditation grants admission to the film screenings in Wiesbaden, Darmstadt and Gießen. In addition, 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.

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 is revealed.