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    goEast turns 10

    By Martin Blaney | May 17, 2010

    Time flies when you are organizing a film festival, but it still seems remarkable that Wiesbaden’s goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film should  have already been celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

    Festival director Nadja Rademacher and artistic director Swetlana Sikora thought up some nice ideas for the jubilee edition from 21-27 April, 2010: the main competition’s International Jury was composed of members from previous years – Russian film critic Andrey Plakhov, Hungarian producer Joszef Berger, German actress Franziska Petri, Serbian documentary filmmaker Boris Mitic and Polish screenwriter and film funder Maciej Karpinski. The three-person FIPRESCI Jury was made up of this report’s author as well as Alik Shpyliuk from the Ukraine and Malwina Grochowska from Poland.

    Alexey Popogrebsky’s Silver Bear winner How I Ended This Summer (Kak Ya Provel Etim Letom), Peter Calin Netzer’s Medal Of Honor (Medalia de Onoare) and Robert Glinski’s Piggies (Swinki), Branko Schmidt’s Metastases (Metastaze), Hannu Salonen’s Vasha and Zelimir Zilnik’s The Old School Of Capitalism (Stara Skola Kapitalizma) were among the 10 films selected for the feature film competition.

    “The longing for a sense of belonging, for recognition, friendship and love runs through all the very different stories and narrative styles,” festival director Nadja Rademacher said about the lineup for the anniversary edition.

    This year’s documentary competition of six titles, meanwhile, included filmmaker Marko Skop’s portrait of a small village in the Slovakian Carpathian mountrains Osadne and Ukrainian Dmytro Tiazhlov’s l  Am A Monument To Myself.

    Other highlights included an Homage to the veteran Georgian-French director Otar Iosseliani, a retrospective of prize-winners from the past 10 years, and a symposium on humour in East European cinema.

    The Robert Bosch Stiftung collaborated once more with the festival on the staging of a project market for young filmmakers from Germany and South East Europe to pitch film ideas to potential partners in order to form teams for participation in the Foundation’s Co-Production Prize for next year.

    The three winners of this year’s Co-Production Prize – with grants of up to Euros 70,000 each in the fiction, animation and documentary categories – were decided during the festival by an international jury including Berlinale Talent Campus programme manager Matthijs Wouter Knol, Sofia International Film Festival’s director Stefan Kitanov, and Sarajevo Film Festival director Mirsad Purivatra from the 15 entries.

    According to the Co-Production Prize’s manager Frank Albers, this year’s entries were the strongest ever since the creation of the programme in 2005.

    The winner in the short fiction category was the Moldavian-German co-production Panihida – the story of a cumbersome and visibly awkward funeral procession through a Moldavian village –  by director Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu and producer Jonas Weydemann.

    The Kazakh-German project Seatomorrow – about people fighting for the return of water to the stunning countryside around the Aral Sea – by director Katerina Suvorova and producers Anna Hoffmann and Stephan Grobe won the award in the documentary category.

    The prize in the animated category went to a group of young filmmakers from Bulgaria, Germany, Russia and Croatia, who are coming together for the five-part episodic film Father which will address the relationship between father and child in a dramatic but humorous way.

    The Co-Production Prizes were presented on the final evening of this year’s goEast festival at Wiesbaden’s venerable Caligari Cinema when the awards ceremony was compered by Russian author-DJ Wladimir Kaminer (Russendisko).

    For the second year running, the International Jury’s main prize, the Golden Lily, went to a film from Georgia: this time, it was Levan Koguashvili’s Street Days (Quchis Dgeebi), while the prize for Best Direction was picked up by Hungarian filmmaker Jozsef Pacskovszky for The Days Of Desire (A Vagyakozas Napjai).

    Special mentions were made of the outstanding achievement by the veteran Romanian actor Victor Rebengiuc in Peter Calin Netzer’s Medal Of Honor (Medalia de Onoare) and Evgeniy Solomin’s documentary Countryside 35 x 45 (Glubinka 35 x 45).

    Meanwhile, Popogrebsky’s How I Ended This Summer received the German Foreign Office’s Award and the FIPRESCI – International Film Critics Prize, and broadcaster 3sat announced that it would be acquiring the German TV rights to the film for broadcast in the future.

    Summing up this year’s edition, festival director Nadja Rademacher pointed out that “the contemporary films of our Eastern European friends  and neighbours are no longer exotic outsiders in the cinematic landscape. The films shown at goEast testify to a multifaceted and aesthetically ambitious filmmaking landscape. The popularity of these productions is likely to increase outside of the international festival circuit, too – we can expect a lot from the future!”

    More information on goEast 2010 can be found at www.filmfestival-goeast.de.

    Martin Blaney

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