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GOEAST 2023

The 23rd goEast Film Festival kicks off today with Aurora’s Sunrise

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- 16 fiction and documentary features from Central and Eastern Europe, including dramas and comedies, cinematic portraits and films about women made by women, will be competing for the Golden Lily

The 23rd goEast Film Festival kicks off today with Aurora’s Sunrise
Aurora’s Sunrise by Inna Sahakyan

This year, goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film, taking place in Wiesbaden and the Rhine-Main region from 26 April-2 May, kicks off with the widely acclaimed animated documentary Aurora’s Sunrise [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Inna Sahakyan
film profile
]
by Armenian director Inna Sahakyan, based on the true and miraculous story of a young female survivor of the Armenian genocide who achieved Hollywood stardom. It is one of the bold competition titles by a female director that deal with a female’s destiny. Another two examples of this are Hungarian director Fanni Szilágyi’s Not a Thing [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, focused on identical twin sisters in contrasting life situations, and Cristina Groșan's feminist sci-fi drama Ordinary Failures [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Cristina Grosan
film profile
]
, featuring three women who interact as the world is about to end.

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After the disruption to the previous edition of the festival, when two Russian titles were voluntarily withdrawn from the competition by their filmmakers (see the news) for being shot with state funding, the festival welcomes one independent title from Russia this year. Manifesto, composed of amateur mobile-phone videos and directed by Angie Vinchito – a pseudonym, employed to protect the identity of the filmmaker – displays the violence unfolding in the school system and in everyday life in Russia. Ukraine is represented by Philip Sotnychenko’s coming-of-age drama La Palisiada [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Philip Sotnychenko
film profile
]
, set in the 1990s, and two co-productions: the documentary We Will Not Fade Away [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Alisa Kovalenko, which follows a group of adolescents growing up in Donbas; and Motherland [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Alexander Mihalkovich and Hanna Badziaka, which portrays Belarusian society through the story of a mother who does not believe that her son committed suicide while completing his military service.

Another intriguing societal portrait is Hanka Nobis’ documentary debut, Polish Prayers [+see also:
film review
interview: Hana Nobis
film profile
]
, which depicts a segment of Polish reality by following a young man from a conservative Catholic background. A historical overview of the Soviet attempt to suppress the movement for Baltic independence in 1991 can be seen in January [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Latvian helmer Viesturs Kairišs, also through the lens of the youth. Lithuania is participating with two titles: Titas Laucius’ musical comedy Parade [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Titas Laucius
film profile
]
and the psychological drama Remember to Blink [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
by Austėja Urbaitė. Central Asia will also be locking horns with two competing features, both by renowned filmmakers: veteran Kyrgyzstani director Aktan Arym Kubat’s This Is What I Remember [+see also:
interview: Aktan Arym Kubat
film profile
]
, which depicts contemporary Kyrgyzstan through a minimalistic family story; and independent Kazakh auteur Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s revenge-western Goliath, which references the biblical story of David and Goliath while touching upon modern-day corruption in his country.

Serbia sets a new record with four titles in competition: Siniša Cvetić’s eclectic and dramatic The Beheading of St. John the Baptist, Nenad Pavlović’s conspiracy thriller Trail of the Beast, Alessandra Tatić and Zoë Aiano’s magical-realist documentary Flotacija, and Marko Šantić’s socially critical drama Wake Me [+see also:
film review
interview: Marko Šantić
film profile
]
(a co-production with Slovenian and Croatia).

The international jury consists of director, critic and festival curator Rada Šešić (chair), last year’s Golden Lily Award winner Kaltrina Krasniqi, and producer and founder of online platform Klassiki Justine Waddell, as well as filmmakers Mikhail Borodin and Andrei Kutsila. They will decide on the recipients of awards valued at a total of €21,500.

Key sidebar programmes are the retrospective dedicated to Bosnian filmmaker Jasmila Žbanić and the traditional Symposium, including lectures and the screening of archival films, this year curated around the topic of “Decolonising the (Post-)Soviet Screen”.

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