At a time when the world is turning its gaze towards the originality of Eastern European film, the Cottbus Festival – which is one of the most important events of its kind – offers an impressive line-up that includes 136 films from 30 different countries. In competition are ten features, whose screenings will be attended by the directors.
The festival opened with Sergey Dvortsevoy’s co-production Tulpan, which was lauded at numerous festivals (including in Un Certain Regard section at Cannes). Also screening in competition are Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s Delta [trailer], Czech filmmaker Bohdan Sláma’s Country Teacher, Night Owls, shot by fellow Czech Michaela Pavlátová in the Prague suburbs; and Anca Damian’s Romanian film Crossing Dates, about seemingly chance encounters.
Further titles include Croatian director Arsen Anton Ostojic’s No One's Son, which is a dark exploration of Croatia’s difficulty in forgetting the demons of its past; and Michal Rosa’s Polish film Scratch.
Besides the short film competition and children’s film programme, Cottbus is also hosting a Russian Day, a close-up on Baltic film, a retrospective on the Prague Spring and its consequences and a section devoted to films that have enjoyed immense domestic success (such as Juraj Jakubisko’s Bathory [trailer, making of], about the "blood countess", and Aigars Grauba’s Latvian drama Defenders of Riga). There will also be special screenings and tributes, in particular to Oscar-winning directors Jirí Menzel, István Szabó and Roman Polanski.
The East-West co-production market Connecting Cottbus is hosting its 10th edition. By now well established, the market has enabled the development of a dynamic network of filmmakers and producers from Eastern and Western Europe.
This year, 14 feature film projects from 13 different countries will be presented to potential partners during pitch sessions and individual meetings. The market is supported by the MEDIA Programme.
Bénédicte Prot cineuropa.org