Behind every truth hides a lie – The Feature Film and Short Feature Competitions of the 27th FilmFestival Cottbus
The stories told by the film makers in their entries for the Feature Film Competition are just as diverse as the stories and cultures in Eastern Europe: regional and universal, empathetic and abstract, analytical and gripping.
Twelve films from altogether 16 co-production countries: the Feature Film Competition of the FilmFestival Cottbus once again reflects the best traditions of Eastern European film by demonstrating diversity and refusing to be reduced to a common theme. The films provide the FFC audience with the opportunity to closely observe and decipher people in a mix ranging from thriller and social drama to laconic case study and epic cinema.
The competition entries have been brought to the screen by old masters such as FilmFestival Cottbus regular Jan Cvitkovič with his film THE BASICS OF KILLING as well as newcomers such as the young Russian independent director Vitaly Suslin with HEAD. TWO EARS. The films focus on protagonists who very realistically find themselves caught up in contradictions. Such as the ex-president who in George Ovashvili’s KHIBULA has to flee from his people even in spite of having had the best of intentions. Or the tabloid journalist in BREAKING NEWS who runs away from being responsible for the death of his colleague. They all are broken heroes whose fates tell tales that are exemplary of life beyond the usual scope of media attention. BLACK LEVEL follows the life of a photographer caught in a midlife crisis, not wanting to grow older; WILD ROSES tells of a young mother in a rural backwater who feels equally detached from her husband and her own children. OUT, a road movie with a wicked sense of humour, depicts a jobless man’s journey into the unknown who fails to find happiness even while away on a construction job in the far north. In OMNIPRESENT, an advertising designer stranded in competitive society develops an obsessive control disorder in attempting to dominate his environment through CCTV.
“The heroes of Eastern European film have never been good or bad, they have always been both at the same time”, explains Programme Director Bernd Buder. “People under pressure, caught in the moral dilemma between the urge to survive and self-criticism, career and solidarity. Characters who often are depicted with a tendency towards irony. Here, every truth hides a lie and vice versa.” THE LINE features a human trafficker with a heart, I’M A KILLER a policeman as an executioner and DAYBREAK a single mother as a killer. In the family drama THE POMEGRANATE ORCHARD a son deceives his family.
The International Festival Jury is tasked with choosing from these twelve entries the winners of the following four awards: Main Prize for Best Film, endowed with EUR 25,000 donated by the Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten (GWFF); Special Prize for Best Director, endowed with EUR 7,500 donated by Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg; Special Prizes for Outstanding Actress and Outstanding Actor, each endowed with EUR 5,000 donated by the City of Cottbus and Sparkasse Spree-Neiße, respectively.
The members of the International Festival Jury are:
Danilo Bećković, director, script writer and producer from Serbia. His martial arts film THE SAMURAI IN AUTUMN was one of the most successful domestic films in Serbia and is shown in the section NATIONAL HITS of the 27th FFC.
Yevgeny Gindilis, Russian producer, co-founder of the KinoPoisk Film Market in Moscow and member of the European Film Academy and the Russian national Academy Award committee.
Prof. Dr. phil. Ursula von Keitz, German professor for “Film Research and Film Education for Museums” at the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF and Director of the Filmmuseum Potsdam.
Marcin Pieńkowski from Poland, since 2016 Artistic Director of the T-Mobile New Horizons International Film Festival as well as lecturer, film historian, editor and author of several publications on the topic of film.
Elīna Vaska, Latvian actress, Berlin International Film Festival Shooting Star 2017. She was awarded the Silver Peacock for Best Actress at the International Film Festival of India in Goa for her leading role in Renārs Vimba’s MELLOW MUD. The FFC screens the film in this year’s Specials section.
In the Short Feature Competition, ten entries from nine co-production countries compete for the Main Prize endowed with EUR 1,500 and the Special Prize endowed with EUR 1,000, both donated by Druckzone Cottbus and awarded by the three-strong Short Feature Competition Jury. The jury members are Emilio Sakraya (actor, to be seen at the FFC in the fairy tale THE SWINEHERD), Svenja Böttger (Artistic Director of the Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis Saarbrücken) and Samaya Asgarova(Head of International Affairs at Azerbaijanfilm Studio, production company of the competition entry POMEGRANATE ORCHARD).