Cottbus and Francophone Film Festival select winners

Article published on Nov. 21, 2008
community published
Article published on Nov. 21, 2008
In this season when awards rain down like showers of golden leaves, two German festivals focusing on films from other European countries have announced their prize-winners. The international jury at the 18th Cottbus Eastern European Film Festival (November 11-16) – which screened 136 films from 30 countries (see news) – crowned three of the ten works shown in competition.

Best Film went to Alexej Utschitel’s Russian/Bulgarian co-production, Captive, which looks at the fleeting moments of fraternity in a Chechen village occupied by the Russians.

Kazakh director Sergey Dvortsevoy won the Special Prize for Best Director for Tulpan, which has picked up awards at several festivals (including in Un Certain Regard at Cannes). The film is a co-production between Germany, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Russia and Poland.

Finally, the Special Prize for Most Outstanding Artistic Contribution went to Polish director Michal Rosa for the screenplay of his film Scratch. The title tells the story of a woman who discovers that her 40-year marriage may have a mission assigned to her husband, who may have been a state spy.

The next Cottbus Festival will take place from November 10-15, 2009.

The Tübingen-Stuttgart International Francophone Film Festival (November 11-19 – which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year – has never hosted as many guests or seen so much enthusiasm from viewers willing to take part in discussions, according to its director Andrea Wenzek. She also said that the highlight of the festival for her was the presentation of the Honorary Award of the university city of Tübingen to eminent director Agnès Varda.

Nine titles by young directors vied for honours in the international competition. The major winner in this section was Swiss-French director Ursula Meier’s debut feature, Home [trailer, film focus], which stars Isabelle Huppert and Olivier Gourmet. Besides the Grand Prize for Best Feature (worth €5,000), Home also scooped the Franco-German Youth Jury Prize and the Critics’ Award.

The Tübingen-Stuttgart Audience Award went to French director Laurent de Bartillat’s The Vanishing Point [trailer].

Finally, in the French film competition, the German Distribution Funding Award (worth €20,000) went to Laurent Cantet’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner The Class [trailer, film focus].

Bénédicte Prot