From 20 to 26 April, goEast - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film will present 16 specially selected current productions within the festival's Competition section. As always, the festival, hosted by Deutsches Filminstitut, will screen the very best that Eastern European cinema has to offer in both Wiesbaden and Frankfurt.
Creative, quite often critical and always something special - those are the shared characteristics that distinguish the entries to the Competition for Fiction Features and Documentaries at goEast. 16 of the finest most recent productions from Central and Eastern Europe - including ten fiction features and six documentaries - have been chosen by the selection committee to be screened in the Competition section in Wiesbaden in April. Each of these productions has a chance of winning prizes with a total value of 21,500 euros, to be awarded by an international jury: the Award for Best Film, endowed with prize money of 10,000 euros, the Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director (7,500 euros) as well as the Award of the Federal Foreign Office for Cultural Diversity (4,000 euros). In addition, one fiction feature will also have the honour of receiving the International Film Critics' Award (FIPRESCI Prize).
The Films of the Competition for Fiction Features and Documentaries
Every annual edition of goEast has demonstrated that an overarching theme uniting a number of the entries to the Competition tends to emerge. This year it's very evident that many of the featured filmmakers have chosen to tackle the legacy left by socialism in their countries of origin. Observing silently, the documentary film ANTHILL (EST 2015, directed by Vladimir Loginov) approaches a monumental Soviet parking garage on the edge of Tallinn, which today serves as a makeshift work and recreation space for the neighbourhood's Russian inhabitants. In Denis Shabaev's NOT MY JOB (RUS 2015), a Tajik family leaves their home in the former Soviet satellite state to move to Russia, desperately hoping to find a better life there. Laila Pakalnina manages to pull off an homage to Soviet cinema that is full of poetic imagery with DAWN (LVA/POL/EST 2015), in which she transfers a quintessential Soviet-Russian propaganda story to the Latvia of the 1950s. THE WAITING ROOM (CAN/BIH 2015, directed by Igor Drljaca) and EVA NOVA (SVK 2015, directed by Marko Skop) both treat an insatiable sense of nostalgia: the two films take a look at aging actors who wistfully reminisce about their once budding careers back in the communist era, while they attempt to get a grip on present lives marked by bit parts and grave family divides.
Memories of a happier past also exert a massive influence on young Rayan in BOPEM (KAZ 2015, directed by Zhanna Issabayeva), as the boy sets out to get revenge for the death of his beloved mother years after a fatal accident took her away from his side. Bloodlust of an altogether different sort drives the action in THE LURE (POL 2015, directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska), where veritable man-eating mermaids are up to no good in the nightclub scene of 1980ies Warsaw. In Marcin Koszalka's debut fiction feature THE RED SPIDER (POL/CZE/SVK 2015), the eponymous serial killer inspires terror in the streets of mid-60ies Krakow. The Ukrainian production SONG OF SONGS (UKR 2015, directed by Eva Neymann) jumps even further back in time to conjure up a star-crossed schtetl love affair with images of unforced beauty. Alexandr Kott's newest film INSIGHT (RUS 2015), in which a man loses his eyesight but finds fresh hope in the form of the helpful but needy nurse Nadezhda, is also devoted to love of the "it's complicated" variety. The hope for a happy life of wealth and abundance unravels before the very eyes of the protagonists of Marian Crisan's ORIZONT (ROU 2015), as they are confronted with their own powerlessness in the face of a vast web of corruption.
The documentary film WHEN THE EARTH SEEMS TO BE LIGHT (GEO/DEU 2015, directed by Salome Machaidze, Tamuna Karumidze and David Meskhi) provides a long look at a piece of Georgian outsider culture as it follows a group of young skaters in their travels well beyond the realm of a well-adapted existence in the capital of Tbilisi. A reporter and her cameraman collect images and stories detailing life in the Georgian countryside in Salomé Jashi's THE DAZZLING LIGHT OF SUNSET (GEO/DEU 2016). Two Ukrainian auxiliary police officers struggle to maintain an everyday life of calm and order in UKRAINIAN SHERIFFS (UKR/LVA/DEU 2015, directed by Roman Bondarchuk) - with war still looming right around the corner. Palo Korec offers up an impressive balancing act between documentary and fiction with WAITING ROOM (SVK 2015), in which the concourse of a train station represents the common thread for intimate portraits of the film's seven protagonists. Blacker than black but not entirely without hope on the other hand, Petr Vaclav's fiction feature WE ARE NEVER ALONE (CZE/FRA 2016) is an investigation of society's ills, as a hypochondriac and a gun freak feverishly feed one another's paranoid delusions - a situation which isn't likely to end well.
The Opening Film
The festival will open on April 20th with an incredible cinematic highlight: as a Competition film screening out of competition, Academy Award winner Danis Tanovic's DEATH IN SARAJEVO (BIH/FRA 2016) will mark the beginning of the festival week. Fresh on the heels of the film's Silver Bear triumph at this year's Berlinale, festivalgoers in Wiesbaden will now also have the chance to experience this bizarre story exploring the microcosm of "Hotel Europe", where preparations for festivities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand quickly become a bit more complicated than originally expected.
goEast - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film is hosted by Deutsches Filminstitut and supported by numerous partners. The festival is primarily funded by the Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts, the State Capital Wiesbaden, Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future" (EVZ), Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland, BHF-BANK Foundation, the Adolf und Luisa Haeuser-Stiftung für Kunst und Kulturpflege, the Federal Foreign Office, the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation, Deutsch-Tschechische Zukunftsfonds, Krušovice and Renovabis. Media partners include among others 3sat, the FAZ, hr-iNFO and sensor.