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COTTBUS 2021 Awards

Brighton 4th wins big at Cottbus

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- The main prizes at this year's German gathering went to Levan Koguashvili’s movie as well as 107 Mothers by Peter Kerekes and Jan Matuszyński's Leave No Traces

Brighton 4th wins big at Cottbus
Director Levan Koguashvili with one of his awards for Brighton 4th (© Fotoatelier Goethe/Thomas Goethe)

The 31st edition of the FilmFestival Cottbus has come to an end. After an online edition in 2020, the festival dedicated to films from Eastern Europe was able to take place once again as a physical event this year, from 2-7 November. Programme director Bernd Buder said during the awards ceremony on Saturday 6 November that he was happy to finally see the dialogue between filmmakers and the public come to life in the cinemas – exactly where it belonged.

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During the festival week, around 170 films from over 20 different countries were shown. The programme was split into several sections, such as “Polskie Horyzonty”, “Close Up TR” and “Spoltlight Slovensko”, focusing, respectively, on current productions from Poland, Turkey and Slovakia. Of the total of 15 sections, the most important ones were the three competitions.

In each competition (those for features, short films and under-18/youth films), several prizes were awarded. The feature-film competition was composed of 12 movies: Sughra and her Sons, a co-production between Azerbaijan, France and Germany by Ilgar Najaf; Compartment No. 6 [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Juho Kuosmanen
film profile
]
by Finnish director Juho Kousmanen, which celebrated its premiere at Cannes; Looking for Venera [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Norika Sefa
film profile
]
by Kosovar-born Norika Sefa; the Croatian-French production The Staffroom [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sonja Tarokić
film profile
]
by Sonja Tarokić; A Blue Flower [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Zrinko Ogresta
film profile
]
by Croatian director Zrinko Ogresta; the Polish drama Leave No Traces [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jan P Matuszyński
film profile
]
by Jan P Matuszyński; the Russian production In Limbo by Alexander Hant; the co-production between Slovakia and the Czech Republic 107 Mothers [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Peter Kerekes
film profile
]
, a drama by Peter Kerekes; Orchestra [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
by Matevž Luzar, from Slovenia; the Slovakian-Czech drama Saving One Who Was Dead [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Václav Kadrnka
film profile
]
by Václav Kadrnka; Spiral [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Romanian director Cecilia Felméri; and Brighton 4th [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Levan Koguashvili
film profile
]
by Georgian director Levan Koguashvili.

The latter was one of the films that convinced various different juries at the same time. The tragicomedy about a former wrestling champion travelling from Georgia to the USA in order to help his son won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury as well as the FIPRESCI Prize. Moreover, Levan Tediashvili, the actor playing the role of the main protagonist, received the Award for an Outstanding Performance, decided on by the international jury. This was composed of Kateryna Gornostai (Ukraine), Ivan Tverdovskiy (Russia), Umut Karadağ (Turkey), Olmo Omerzu (Czech Republic) and Ania Wasniewska (Poland).

They also bestowed the Award for Best Director upon Jan P Matuszyński for his political drama Leave No Traces, which is set in Poland in the 1980s and tells the true story of a young man who was beaten to death by the militia. His best friend then dares to stand up against the system as a witness of this crime, while everyone else crumbles under the pressure of the political party. Finally, the Award for Best Feature Film was given to 107 Mothers by Peter Kerekes.

The under-18/youth-film competition showcases films from Eastern European countries together with titles from the German-speaking regions. The jury, made up of students, gave their award to one of the latter – namely, to the Swiss-German production Youth Topia [+see also:
film review
interview: Dennis Stormer, Marisa Meier
film profile
]
by Dennis Stormer and Marisa Meier. In addition, two more prizes went to two short films in the competition. The Special Prize was given to Comrade Policeman by Assel Aushakimova, from Kazakhstan, and the Main Prize went to Techno, Mama by Saulius Baradinskas, from Lithuania.

Here is the complete list of award winners at the 31st edition of FilmFestival Cottbus:

Main Prize for Best Film
107 Mothers [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Peter Kerekes
film profile
]
- Peter Kerekes (Slovakia/Czech Republic/Ukraine)

Special Prize for Best Director
Jan P Matuszyński – Leave No Traces [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jan P Matuszyński
film profile
]
(Poland/France/Czech Republic)

Prize for Outstanding Individual Performance
Levan Tediashvili – Brighton 4th [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Levan Koguashvili
film profile
]
(Georgia/Russia/Bulgaria/Monaco/USA)

Short Film – Main Prize
Techno, Mama - Saulius Baradinskas (Lithuania)

Short Film – Special Prize
Comrade Policeman – Assel Aushakimova (Kazakhstan)

U18 Prize for the Best Youth Film
Youth Topia [+see also:
film review
interview: Dennis Stormer, Marisa Meier
film profile
]
– Dennis Stormer, Marisa Meier (Switzerland/Germany)

DIALOGUE Prize for Intercultural Communication
Hive [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Blerta Basholli
interview: Yllka Gashi
film profile
]
– Blerta Basholli (Kosovo/Switzerland/North Macedonia/Albania)
Special Mention
Compartment No. 6 [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Juho Kuosmanen
film profile
]
– Juho Kousmanen (Finland/Russia/Estonia/Germany)

Prize for Best Debut Film
Geranium - Çağil Bocut (Turkey/Germany)

Ecumenical Jury Award
Brighton 4th – Levan Koguashvili

FIPRESCI Award
Brighton 4th – Levan Koguashvili

Audience Award
Compartment No. 6 – Juho Kuosmanen

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