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East comes to Cottbus Nov 2

Cottbus festival will open on November 2 in the large auditorium of the Staatstheater Cottbus with the world premiere of three films from the series EUROPE’S OLD NEW FACES / VON DEN SOCKELN, a co-production by Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) and LOOKS as well as partners in the ten new EU member states in cooperation with ARTE. The documentary series, which was made in 2004, analyses national monuments and myths and is the festival's contribution to the "Cultural Year of the TEN."

The members of the International Jury Danijel Hocevar (producer, Slovenia), Fred Kelemen (filmmaker, Germany), Mirsad Purivatra (director of the Sarajevo Film Festival, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Theodora Remundova (actress and director, Czech Republic), and Christina Stojanova (film historian, Canada) will decide on the prize-winners in the feature film competition. The prizes with an overall value of Euros 35,750 will be presented at the closing ceremony on November 6 in the festival centre in the Cottbus Stadthalle.

The Feature Film Competition will see ten productions from seven countries competing for the "LUBINA", the sculpture award which was newly created last year.
Apart from the Polish films WESELE/THE WEDDING by Wojtek Smarzowski and SYMETRIA/SYMMETRY by Konrad Niewolski, Hungary is also represented with two films: SZEZON/SEASON by Ferenc Török and the national box-office hit KONTROLL/CONTROL by Nimrod Antal. Following on from last year's focus by the festival, there is a particularly impressive presence by the reinvigorated Russian cinema with three productions, including the Russian-Kazakh-French co-production SCHIZA/SCHIZO.
Six competition films are having their German premiere in Cottbus, including the Croatian film TA DIVNA SPLITSKA NOC/A WONDERFUL NIGHT IN SPLIT.

The Short Film Competition allows particularly younger filmmakers the chance to show off their talent. Thirteen films from ten countries, including two international and seven German premieres, are distinguished by a broad thematic and stylistic spectrum. The up-and-coming generation in Russia with works by Alexandr Lamakin, Jegor Anaschkin and Artjom Antonov are also strongly represented in this competitive section.
Two original, two-minute films from Georgia and Hungary will screen out of competition.

The Specials include traditional film presentations by other festivals where Cottbus is also a guest with film screenings. The International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film will be presenting CZECH DREAMS/CESKY SEN from the Czech Republic which is the subject of this year's Focus at the festival.

The Nordic Film Days in Lübeck will be opening a "Window to the North" for the second time now with the Estonian-Scandinavian co-production W.O.I.T.K.A. METASAVENNED and the Latvian short BEZMIEGS.

Moreover, there will be a revival of the programme exchange with the Max Ophüls Prize Film Festival from Cottbus' twin town Saarbrücken, while the presentation by the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (MOJ SWODNYI BRAT FRANKENSCHTEJN) can already look back on a well established tradition.

Another encounter with a prize-winner from last year, THE RETURN, will be made possible by the John Templeton Foundation and the international ecumenical film organisation "Interfilm."

Furthermore, we will return to this year's leitmotif of the extended Europe with the joint project VISIONS OF EUROPE, which comprises films of all 25 EU states, for the closing of the 14th FilmFestival Cottbus when the contributions from the eight new East European member countries will be shown.

The section Spectrum will feature CHOKING HAZARD by Marek Dobes and the German premiere of MAZANY FILIP/SMART PHILIP by Vaclav Marhoul as alternatives to the "Velvet Generation" who are at the centre of this year's Focus. New works from Croatia and Serbia will reunite us with Zrinko Ogresta and Radivoye Andric as well as Gjergi Xhuvani from Albania, who celebrated their first successes at previous Cottbus festivals and have since significantly influenced the cinematographies of their countries.

The sidebar of National Hits offers perfectly staged genre cinema with the German premieres from Russia (72 METRA/72 METRES), the Czech Republic (HOREM PADEM/UPAND DOWN) as well as Hungary (APAM BEAJULNA).

With 38 films, the Focus is dedicated to the "New Czech Cinema" which enjoys extraordinary popularity with its home audience.
The Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Germany, His Excellency Boris Lazar, has assumed the patronage for this year's Focus.

The OSCAR prize-winner Jan Sverák has made a personal film selection under the banner of "The Velvet Generation" offering a portrait of his generation from the "velvet revolution" to the Czech Republic's accession of the EU earlier this year. The sidebar will be personally introduced by Sverák.
Special programmes will present new student works from the famous Prague Film Faculty FAMU as well as the film schools in Písek and Zlin which were established in the 1990s. The film programmes for the Focus will be complemented by videos from the lively music scene and local commercials.
The programme and the presentation of the 2004 Focus was realised with the support of the Federal Agency for Civic Education and the German-Czech Future Fund, and in official cooperation with the Czech Film Center in Prague.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Academy for Film & Television (HFF) "Konrad Wolf" Potsdam-Babelsberg, the festival - with support from the DEFA Foundation - has selected rarities from the academy's extensive archive and will be presenting this unique compilation in five programme blocks.

The traditional "regular border traffic" between Cottbus and Slubice (Poland), which will again be realised in cooperation with transkultura e.V. from Frankfurt/Oder, will be extended beyond a screening and subsequent discussion on the Polish side to also include another film presentation - for the first time - on this side of the Oder, in Frankfurt, and a German-Polish party.

The successful industry forum CONNECTING COTTBUS will be taking place for the sixth time on November 3 and 4, 2004. Producers, commissioning editors, financiers and distributors will be making contact here at an early stage of project development to collaborate on developing stories for the European market.

Apart from Jan Sverák from the Czech Republic, numerous other filmmakers are lined up as prominent guests at the 14th FilmFestival Cottbus, including the hit director Jan Hrebejk (with the German premiere of his most recent hit HOREM PADEM/UP AND DOWN) and Alice Nellis whose films can be seen in the Focus (VYLET) and the opening series EUROPE'S OLD NEW FACES (SOUVENIR).


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