The jury members of the goEast Film Festival presented the long-awaited ”VERDICT”. So, the winners are…:
The documentary film THIS RAIN WILL NEVER STOP (Ukraine, Latvia, Germany, Qatar, 2020, directed by Alina Gorlova) is the winner of the Golden Lily (endowed with 10,000 euros in prize money), the main award at the 21st edition of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film in Wiesbaden. The international jury chaired by Saodat Ismailova explained its selection in a statement praising Alina Gorlova for her daring use of cinematic stylistic elements to focus attention on a man who finds himself trapped in worlds of conflict in Syria and Donbass. “Gorlova’s vision, outwardly stoic and full of empathy, pushes at simple boundaries by using image and sound as sensory experience”, as the jury expounded on its decision.
Juja Dobrachkou received the Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director for her work BEBIA, À MON SEUL DÉSIR (Georgia, Great Britain, 2020) endowed with 7,500 euros. The jury praised the director for her courage in choosing to tell the story from the point of view of a young Georgian woman while converting prejudices of the past into an intergenerational tool for healing. In the jury members’ words, the visual language of the film creates an individual world that reinforces the character portrayals and deepens the storyline.
The film HOW I BECAME A PARTISAN (Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, 2021, directed by Vera Lacková) celebrated its world premiere at goEast, picking up its first distinction in the process, the Award for Cultural Diversity, endowed with 4,000 euros in prize money. As the jury explained, the film “develops into a compelling personal journey through a practically unknown story. By connecting the struggle for survival of her family during the Second World War with her own experiences as a member of the Roma community today, Vera Lacková paints a picture that is human in all of its facets, without false categorisations, one which reveals both the joy of family and the pain of systematic oppression.”
The jury awarded a Special Mention to CHUPACABRA (Russia, 2020, directed by Grigory Kolomytsev), explaining that the film is “a remarkable fiction feature debut with a clear mise-en-scène and wonderfully poetic sound design that reveals problems in understanding between adults and children to which we have grown accustomed, while eliciting a remarkable performance from its young protagonist”.
Festival director Heleen Gerritsen expressed her happiness with the international jury’s decision to award the three main prizes of the Competition section to female filmmakers: “Our Competition section traditionally features a great number of brilliant female directors, and this year is no different. Whether it is those already mentioned, Alina Gorlova, Juja Dobrachkous or Vera Lacková, or all those not yet mentioned, Lili Horvát, Nora Martirosyan and Marta Popivoda – they all contribute to a Central and Eastern European film scene that is breaking the chains of calcified structures and outmoded gender roles. I would like to congratulate all of the prize winners, and I look forward to the day when we can experience their films together again in the cinema and talk about them in depth.”
The FIPRESCI International Film Critic’s Award in the fiction feature category also went to BEBIA, À MON SEUL DÉSIR (Georgia, Great Britain, 2020). “BEBIA, À MON SEUL DÉSIR is a successful coming-of-age film in its aesthetic and narrative conception. Told from the perspective of its adolescent protagonist Ariadna, who is haunted by her childhood during her grandmother’s unusual, myth-based funeral, Juja Dobrachkous pulls off an original mixture consisting of Ariadna’s experiences in numerous flashbacks and the family tensions that accompany the rituals of mourning.”
In the documentary film category, the FIPRESCI Award went to PLEASE HOLD THE LINE (Austria, 2020, directed by Pavel Cuzuioc), which “shows intense human relationships that normally appear to be simple everyday interactions. It creates a deeper understanding of the world depicted, by taking us along on a journey through four European countries and documenting numerous spontaneous situations. Within a cinematic space devoted to the underappreciated professions in the communications sector, we also become aware that we perhaps too often believe that only psychologists or close friends can engage in intimate monologues.”
For her documentary virtual reality and 360°project THE SPHERES CITY – TANGIBLE UTOPIAS (Romania, 2021), Ioana Mischie was honoured with this year’s Open Frame Award, which is accompanied by prize money in the amount of 5,000 euros, endowed by BHF Bank Foundation. “We recognise the long-term ambitions of this meaningful project, which will evolve and grow over the coming years, by giving children a voice in such a creative manner and embracing and celebrating them as the true hope for our global future”, according to a statement from the jury. A Special Mention was also awarded for #PRISONERSVOICE (Ukraine, 2020, directed by Nikita Bohdanov), which interweaves clear and immediate stories of activists with a dense atmosphere, thus providing an intense look at a world that is otherwise unfamiliar to the vast majority of the audience.
The third annual RheinMain Short Film Award, featuring prize money in the amount of 2,500 euros endowed by Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain and presented by a jury composed of representatives from independent cinemas throughout the Rhine-Main region, went to URAL (Germany, Russia, 2019) by Alla Churikova. “The author and director tells of her childhood in a military community at the base of the Ural Mountains. Her animated memories are interwoven with notes, photographs and sound recordings from her father, a Soviet officer, who was involved in secret nuclear weapons testing. This approach enables her to integrate both perspectives on a single level, on an equal footing, while simultaneously creating a sketch of an epic tale of the 20th century”, according to the jury.
The jury also awarded a Special Mention to MAN (Latvia, 2020, directed by Yulia Timoshkina), which it described as an empathetic and poetic portrait of a thoroughly quotidian situation.
The 2021 Renovabis Research Grant for a documentary film project with a focus on human rights went to SECOND HAND WAR by Anna Benner and Eluned Zoe Aiano. The grant is endowed with 3,500 euros in prize money. The projects’s artistic approach shows diverse perspectives of women’s roles in wartime and sets out to uncover gaps in the collective memory.
The goEast Development Award, presented by the East-West Talent Lab jury, went to KING MATT THE FIRST by director Jaśmina Wójcik and producer Agnieszka Rostropowicz-Rutkowska. “Perhaps it should be called QUEEN MATHILDA THE FIRST instead, as the charming and inspired journey, as seen through the eyes of child protagonists Lea and Zoja, exhibits a rich imagination”, as the jury commented in its statement. The goEast Development Award is endowed with a prize of 3,500 euros, sponsored by Russian Standard Vodka.
Ieva Šakalytė’s SPA won over the jury with its refreshing and witty cast of four very different characters. The project received the Pitch the Doc Award at goEast, which features a mentoring programme for the winner, sponsored by the Polish platform of the same name.
This year, goEast media partner 3sat, which has offered an annual paid broadcast deal to one film from the programme since the festival’s inception, chose the Competition entry PREPARATIONS TO BE TOGETHER FOR AN UNKNOWN PERIOD OF TIME (Hungary, 2020, directed by Lili Horvát). The film will celebrate its television premiere on 3sat in 2022.
In light of a pandemic which continues to determine public life in Germany and elsewhere, goEast was able to draw on its initial experience in creating an online festival last year, while still pursuing events with a live audience. The drive-in cinema and evening short film walk have been postponed until summer and will be announced on short notice. As soon as it becomes clear when and under what conditions the events can take place, the festival organisers will publish corresponding information on the festival website.
Overview of the Prize Winners:
Golden Lily for Best Film
THIS RAIN WILL NEVER STOP, Ukraine, Latvia, Germany, Qatar, 2020, directed by Alina Gorlova
Award of the City of Wiesbaden for Best Director
BEBIA, À MON SEUL DÉSIR, Georgia, Great Britain, 2020, directed by Juja Dobrachkous
Award for Cultural Diversity
HOW I BECAME A PARTISAN / AKO SOM SA STALA PARTIZÁNKOU, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, 2021, directed by Vera Lacková
CHUPACABRA, Russia, 2020, directed by Grigory Kolomytsev
FIPRESCI International Film Critic’s Award (fiction feature)
BEBIA, À MON SEUL DÉSIR, Georgia, Great Britain, 2020, directed by Juja Dobrachkous
FIPRESCI International Film Critic’s Award (documentary film)
PLEASE HOLD THE LINE, Austria, 2020, directed by Pavel Cuzuioc
Open Frame Award
THE SPHERES CITY – TANGIBLE UTOPIAS, Romania, 2021, directed by Ioana Mischie
Open Frame Award – Special Mention
#PRISONERSVOICE, Ukraine, 2020, directed by Nikita Bohdanov
RheinMain Short Film Award
URAL, Germany, 2019, directed by Alla Churikova
RheinMain Short Film Award – Special Mention
MAN, Latvia, 2020, directed by Yulia Timoshkina
Renovabis Research Grant (for a documentary film project with a focus on human rights)
SECOND HAND WAR, Czech Republic, Germany, directed by Anna Benner and Eluned Zoe Aiano
goEast Development Award
KING MATT THE FIRST, Poland, produced by Agnieszka Rostropowicz-Rutkowska, directed by Jaśmina Wójcik
Pitch the Doc Award
SPA, Lithuania, directed by Ieva Šakalytė
The 21st edition of goEast, hosted annually by Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum, was able to shift nearly all of the originally planned 92 festival films from 38 countries (including 32 German and two world premieres) to digital space. However, for the second “pandemic edition” of goEast, the festival organisers were not content to merely offer a media library. Instead, a festival centre also blossomed in Wiesbaden behind closed doors, in strict compliance with public health guidelines, featuring ample space for festival guests, two festival studios, a Covid test station run by the German Red Cross and an action art performance by Dan Perjovschi. In the scope of the “public distancing” programme, local virtual festival attendees were also able to pay a visit to the goEast Ost-Kiosk in front of Nassauischer Kunstverein to stock up on snacks between on-demand streams while also perhaps discovering a colourful periodical or two from Central and Eastern Europe.
goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film is hosted by DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum and made possible with the support of numerous partners. Primary funding partners are HessenFilm und Medien GmbH, the State Capital Wiesbaden, Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, BHF BANK Foundation, Adolf und Luisa Haeuser-Stiftung für Kunst und Kulturpflege, Renovabis and Deutsch-Tschechische Zukunftsfonds. Media partners include 3sat, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.