Cottbus sets sail on 16th Eastern journey
by Bénédicte Prot
The 16th edition of the Cottbus Festival of Eastern European Cinema (November 14-18) – one of the most important events of its kind – kicks off today with a packed programme of over 100 films from 23 countries, including ten competition features.
Winning titles will be chosen by a jury that includes German director Didi Danquart (whose interest in the East can be seen in her latest film, Offset, also on the Cottbus programme), actress Vesela Kazakova (the first ever Bulgarian Shooting Star invited to Berlin) and her Romanian colleague Oana Pellea, as well as Bosnian producer Boris Matic and Russian festival programmer Sitora Alieva.
Competition films include: Romanian titles 12:08 East of Bucharest by Corneliu Porumboiu and The Paper Will Be Blue by Radu Muntean; The Indian and the Nurse by Dan Wlodarczyk (Czech Republic); German/Bulgarian co-productions Monkeys in Winter by Milena Andonova and Christmas Tree Upside Down by Iwan Tscherkelow and Wassil Shiwkow; Polish film Ode to Joy by Anna Kazejak-Dawid, Jan Komasa and Maciej Migas; Tomorrow Morning by Oleg Novkovic (Serbia & Montenegro); György Pálfi’s smash hit Taxidermia (Austria/Hungary/France); The Wedding Chest by Nurbek Egen (Russia/Kyrghystan/France/Germany); and Franz and Polina by Michail Segal (Russia).
Aside from the competitive section for shorts, a children’s and youth programme, the National Hits section dedicated to local East European hits, the Festival on Tour sidebar, special screenings and the Spectrum section (whose aim is to promote a handful of filmmakers with daring aesthetic styles), this year Cottbus is also presenting a retrospective on Sorbian culture.
While the 2005 Focus was on Hungary, this year’s Focus will spotlight recent films from two aspiring EU members: Bulgaria and Romania.
(Translated from French)
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