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Cottbus ready for its opening

Everything's now in place: on Tuesday, 6th November, Matthias Platzeck, Minister President of the Federal State of Brandenburg and patron of FilmFestival Cottbus, will open the festival's 17th edition. The numerous honorary guests from the worlds of the arts, politics and business will include Petra Maria Müller and Kirsten Niehuus, managing directors of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH, as well as Frank Szymanski, Lord Mayor of the City of Cottbus, as representatives of the festival's two main supporters.
The gala opening will begin at 7 p.m. in the Großes Haus of the Cottbus Staatstheater. During this event Bernd Schiphorst will be awarded with an Honorary Lubina for his services as the chairman of the board of curators for the FilmFestival Cottbus. The festival will kick off with a screening of the film ACCORDING TO THE PLAN by Franziska Meletzky, which is set in the new German federal states. The lead actress Christine Schorn and the producers of the film will be in attendance. The event will be musically accompanied by the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Cottbus Staatstheater. Peter Twiehaus, the presenter of the "Filmvorführer" programme for media partner Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, will serve as MC for the evening.

In total, almost 500 professional visitors from 30 countries have announced that they will be coming to Cottbus, a sign of a consistently strong interest in FilmFestival Cottbus and the East West Co-production Market „Connecting Cottbus“. This year sees more filmmakers than ever presenting their latest works in person at the festival. In the Feature Film Competition, they include Ernest Abdyshaparov (Kyrgyzstan), Kristijan Milić (Croatia), Vera Storozheva (Russia), János Szász (Hungary), Iglika Trifonova (Bulgaria) and Aleko Tsabadze (Georgia) as well as the director of photography Tomek Bajerski (Poland) and the actor Jan Budař (Czech Republic), who is already known to audiences from the film SEX IN BRNO (in Cottbus in 2004). In the Short Feature Competition, the directors Gregor Božič (Slovenia), Denes Nagy (Hungary), Ivan Vladimirov (Bulgaria) and Jan Wagner (Poland) as well as the screenwriter Aktan Arym Kubat (Kyrgyzstan) will be among those fielding questions from the audience.

With more than 40 guests, the Focus region “after YU” is particularly numerous: including the screenwriter Edin Hinrichs-Hadžimahović, born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the director Ognijen Svilicic and the screenwriter Ante Tomić from Croatia, the director Teona Mitevska from Macedonia, the filmmakers Srdan Golubović and Ivan Živković, the producer Jelena Mitrović and the actor Kenedi Hasani from Serbia.

The Retrospective “Neue Heimat Brandenburg” will see Neshe Demir, Andreas Kleinert, Volker Koepp and Ann Kristin Reyels among those presenting their films. The presentation of MARIA-ON-WATER is set to be attended by the film composer Kai-Uwe Kohlschmidt, a member of the Cottbus cult band Sandow, along with the director Thomas Wendrich.

Following the award ceremony on Saturday, 10th November, at 7 p.m. in the Stadthalle Cottbus where the Minister President Matthias Platzeck will again speak, the festival will close after five eventful days with another highlight. The director Marc Meyer and producer Faysal Omer as well as the lead actors Samuel Finzi, Nina Kronjäger, Margot Nagel and Harald Warmbrunn are all lined up to attend the closing film, the debut FAMILY RULES! which is set in present-day Berlin.

Prizes with a total value of Euros 64,000 will be presented at the festival, the volume of prize-money having significantly increased since last year. The members of this year's International Festival Jury are Hans Hodel, president of Interfilm from Switzerland, Slovenia's Dunja Klemenc, the co-producer of the Oscar-winning film NO MAN’S LAND, the actress Henriette Müller, currently in the cinemas in PRINCESS by Birgit Großkopf, Serbia's Oleg Novković, director of the 2006 Cottbus Main Prize winner TOMORROW MORNING, and Serge Sobczynski, section head at the Cannes Film Festival, from France.

The 120 professional delegates to the 9th „Connecting Cottbus”, the East West Co-production Market at the FilmFestival Cottbus, can also expect an exciting programme, including the presentation of 13 Central and East European feature film ideas looking for international co-producers. The realisation of two promising film projects will be the subject of a case study: DELTA by Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo and DAU by Ilya Khrzhanovsky. The directors as well as the producers Artem Vassiliev, Viktoria Petrany and the German-French co-producers Susanne Marian and Philippe Bober will be present. Apart from Ademir Kenovic, Refresh Production, Danijel Hocevar, Emotionfilm, Pavel Strnad, Negativ s.r.o., Andreas Eicher, Box! Film, or Philipp Kreuzer, Bavaria Film, numerous other leading industry figures from Germany and Central and Eastern European have indicated that they will be attending.

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