19th Cottbus Festival of East European Cinema

Germany, November 10 - November 15 2009

The jury

Alexander Yanakiev (Bulgaria), Murat Ersahin (Turkey), Jelena Jindra (Croatia), Salome Kikaleishvili (Georgia), Ingrid Beerbaum (Germany)

Awarded films

The Cottbus Festival was the result of the fall of the Berlin Wall and that is why it is almost of the same age as that famous event. Today, following the jubilee celebrations in Berlin, the 19th edition of Film Festival Cottbus (10-15 November 2009) began. Every year it presents a representative survey of the contemporary feature film productions from Central and Eastern European countries. The heart of the festival is the competition of feature and short films, featuring new productions from Azerbaijan, Albania, Czech Republic, Russia, Serbia, Croatia, Poland and Hungary. Special treasures can also be found in Retrospective, with unseen amateur movies from former Eastern Germany, as well as in National Days Programmes “Russkiy Den”, “Polskie Horyzonty” and “Salam, Kazakhstan!”. The National Hits will show blockbusters from Poland, Russia, Serbia and Hungary, while Spectrum is a journey through new and radical forms of cinema, for example, from Latvia. All things considered, some 35 countries from Europe and Asia take part under the wide umbrella of the festival. This year’s focus is on the Black Sea Region, symbolized by the pomegranate (it is pictured on the festival’s poster and the festival’s clip). Curator of the event is the Southeast European expert Bernd Buder (Berlin). This section traces the varied and yet tension-charged relations between the film industries of Georgia, Russia, the Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, the latter represented at the festival for the very first time. Twelve of the features, shorts or documentaries chosen will have their international or national premiere at Film Festival Cottbus. The festival is organized with an amazing sense of thriftiness at a time of crisis – for example, the large banner on the building of the Town Hall is from past years with new dates being pasted on it. But for the important events the organizers have managed to provide enough funds. The award’s fund, for example this year, has broken all records and now amounts to 77 000 EUR. The six juries and the public will select the twelve awards. (Alexander Yanakiev, edited by Tara Judah)

FilmFestival Cottbus – Festival of the East European Cinema: