Wiesbaden/Frankfurt, 31 January 2024
Every year since 2001, goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film, hosted by DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum, transforms the Hessian state capital of Wiesbaden into one of the most internationally significant platforms for cinema from Central and Eastern Europe. With its program consisting of film screenings and accompanying events, goEast’s reach extends beyond regional audiences – to communities with histories of migration from Eastern Europe and industry guests from the international film sector alike. The film festival showcases current cinematic art from Central and Eastern Europe and provides a platform for discussing urgent social and political issues. In the scope of film-historical programs, goEast renders the cinema heritage of Central and Eastern Europe visible, often in collaboration with archives from Germany and abroad. These diverse series are carefully assembled by qualified guest curators and cinema professionals. In the scope of the goEast Symposium, film scholarship meets the film industry, while the Competition features screenings of contemporary cinema from Central and Eastern Europe, with the filmmakers in attendance. The sidebar program provides space for video art, digital audio-visual formats and VR, while the East-West Talent Lab offers active support for up-and-coming film professionals from Central and Eastern Europe. Moreover, goEast also functions as a place where film guests can expand their networks and enter into dialogue with one another, and as a platform for the discussion of current socio-political topics.
The start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine just under two years ago marked a historical turning point that has also resulted in financial consequences for goEast. In light of continually increasing costs and despite the unchanged, sustained level of support and funding from HessenFilm & Medien GmbH, the State Capital Wiesbaden and Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, goEast finds itself forced to curtail its programming radically in 2024. In addition, goEast must reduce the number of film guests invited to participate in the festival by nearly half.
In the words of Festival Director Heleen Gerritsen: “goEast’s focus region remains enormously relevant. Instead of cutting staff or particularly cost-intensive historical programs such as the Symposium, we were left with no choice this year but to eliminate three central programming elements entirely – namely the traditional Homage section, the Bioscope program and our VR/XR program. Insider knowledge of Eastern Europe, highly specialised expertise and technical know-how are indispensable for goEast. In spite of all this, we hope the festival is received enthusiastically by our audience and that we may see extra ticket sales that make it clear that this festival, with its large range of programming, is both relevant and appreciated.”
Naturally, in spite of the cuts, the goEast team, along with its guest curators, is highly motivated to assemble this year’s festival program. From 24 to 30 April 2024, goEast is delighted to welcome audiences both new and old to Wiesbaden to discover Central and Eastern European cinema through film screenings, film talks and encounters with filmmakers.
Symposium: “The Other Queers – Cinematic Images from the Periphery of Europe”
In the annual Symposium section, goEast has devoted itself since 2001 to exploring topics, regions and currents in Central and Eastern European cinema from film-historical, sociological and political perspectives. As part of the Cinema Archipelago series, the program in 2024 is made possible again with the generous support of Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain.
In 2023, under the title “Decolonizing the (Post-)Soviet Screen” the Symposium set a new record for attendance. More than 3,000 industry guests and experts from Germany and abroad turned out for the events and film screenings. For 2024, co-curators Jasmina Šepetavc (University of Ljubljana, LGBT Film Festival Ljubljana, Slovenia) and Yulia Serdyukova (Freefilmers, Kyiv) are gathering film scholars, activists, filmmakers, student groups and colleagues from other festivals with a focus on queer cinema at Museum Wiesbaden under the programmatic title “The Other Queers”. Discussion panels and lectures by renowned scolars like Nebojša Jovanović, Katja Čičigoj and others provide the theoretical framework of the event.