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All you neeed to know on upcoming 17th FilmFestival Cottbus

FilmFestival Cottbus - Festival of East European Cinema

In around a month's time, the 17th FilmFestival Cottbus – Festival of East European Cinema will be opened. It will be offering a representative overview of the feature film production from all of the Central and East European area from November 6th to 10th. From the Baltic states to the Balkans, from Poland through to Central Asia, the festival will be inviting cinema-goers to explore fascinating film landscapes and lively cinematographies of our Eastern neighbours.

1. Programme structure
The selection process for the two competitions for feature films and short features is almost complete. (You will receive further information shortly). This year will again see the FilmFestival Cottbus presenting a comprehensive and diverse film lineup in the thematically curated programmes for the Focus, Retrospective and Children's and Young People's Films:

Focus: „after YU“
This year's Focus is directed on an extremely eventful region. With the staging of numerous premieres and in the presence of prominent guests, the festival will be presenting a unique compilation of productions from the successor states of former Yugoslavia and its neighbours on the shores of the Adriatic.
What is life like in the new, old borders, which conflicts have to be overcome on the different sides: the effects of the numerous crises and wars of recent history are always present. The central motif here are the new migrations at Europe's centre. Whether decamping full of optimism (ON THE SUNNY SIDE, Miha Hocevar, Slovenia 2003), resignedly escaping into the (inner) exile (LA FINE DEL MARE, Nora Hoppe, Germany, France, Italy 2006) or returning with mixed feelings to the destroyed homeland (HUDdersfield, Ivan Živković, Serbia 2007): the migratory movements have assumed extremely different forms and have long since reached the "Western" neighbouring states of Greece and Italy. Thus, EDUART (Angeliki Antoniou, Greece, Germany 2006) or FROM THE SNOW (Jannis Goritsas, Greece 1993) both address the ambivalent relationship of the Greeks to the Albanian neighbours. A hopeful sign seen from the perspective of the film industry, however, is BORDER POST (Rajko Grlic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Great Britain, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Hungary 2006), the first post-war co-production which was realised with participation by all of the former Yugoslavian republics. With universal stories about „growing old“, as in Pjer Zaliča's DAYS AND HOURS (Bosnia and Herzegovina 2004) and GOOD MORNING by Ante Babaja (Croatia 2006), it will, moreover, become clear that this region can no longer be really summed up by the buzzword of "hot spot", but now contributes independently to pan-European cinematography.
Curated by the Berlin journalist Bernd Buder, the Focus was realised in cooperation with the film festivals of Sarajevo and Trieste. The film prorgamme is supported by the Federal Agency for Political Education (bpb).

Retrospective: Neue Heimat Brandenburg
850 years of the March of Brandenburg: this anniversary is a worthy occasion to honour this historically rich region during the festival with a retrospective of films. To stay or leave: the quest for identity and self-image of Brandenburg and its inhabitants are the focus of interest in the films of this sidebar. The programmes ranges from more recent productions like this year's Berlinale film HOUNDS (Ann-Kristin Reyels, 2006) or the documentary about Germany's biggest rural district UCKERMARK (Volker Koepp, 2002) through to treasures from the archives like the early DEFA film A FREE COUNTRY (Milo Harbich, 1946). The retrospective was realised with the support of the DEFA Foundation and was curated by the film journalist and rbb presenter Knut Elstermann.

Children's and Youth Programme
The children's programme focuses on the subject of "where I am at home“. Whether it is a big journey or moving to another town: only those who have been somewhere else can safely say where they like being best of all and where they feel they belong. Parallel to the „after YU“ Focus, the film line-up of the Youth Programme will address the state of flux in former Yugoslavbia from the perspective of young people. There will be screenings of Alain Gsponer, Damir Lukacevic, Ognjen Svilicic and Hannah Slak, whose film TEAH (Slovenia, Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia 2007) will have its international premiere in Cottbus. The Youth Programme is supported by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Brandenburg.

2. New volume of prize-money
The Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten (GWFF) had already awarded a new support prize worth Euros 4,500 in July at the reception of the Cottbus festival in Karlovy Vary. This grant for the promotion of the next generation of filmmakers is awarded to students of film academies to finance a study visit outside of their home country. In addition, the amount of the prize-money for the „Cottbus Discovery Award" has been increased. The prize's donor Synchro Film, Video & Audio, Vienna, will now provide Euros 4,000 (2006: Euros 3,000) for the 17th FilmFestival Cottbus. The „Cottbus Film and Media Prize" will be awarded for the first time within the framework of the 5th Cottbuser FilmSchau on November 5. The prize, which is donated by the Association of Cottbus Cable Network Operators cable+, has a purse of Euros 1,500. Now totalling Euros 64,000, the volume of the festival's prize-money has again been increased considerably compared to the previous year (2006: Euros 56,500).

3. Connecting Cottbus
Held for the ninth time within the framework of the festival, the East-West co-production market „Connecting Cottbus" will be offering numerous possibilities on November 8 and 9 to gain up-to-date insights into the burgeoning film and television scene of the Eastern and Central European countries, with this year looking, in particular, at the successor states of Yugoslavia.
The focus of „Connecting Cottbus" is the presentation of twelve film projects which were selected by a jury from 51 submissions. These include, among others, THE BOX from Serbia, THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD from Romania and WILD POPPIES from Sweden. For the first time, there will also be an opportunity to have one-to-one meetings.

4. Screening venues
For its opening, the festival will be a guest in the large auditorium of the Staatstheater Cottbus which recently re-opened. In tried and tested tradition, the Stadthalle Cottbus, the Weltspiegel, the Kammerbühne (central venue for the Focus and the Retrospective) and the Obenkino in the Glad-House will serve again as screening venues. The Stadthalle Cottbus will once more offer optimum conditions for the press and festival centre.

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