The 31st FilmFestival Cottbus returns to local cinemas from 2nd to 7th of November and presents its programme of 170 films from 40 (co-)production countries, for the first time, in seven venues and on a total of ten screens. In addition, there will be digital cinema in streaming, parallel to the festival and extended until 16th of November. The festival opens with the competition entry ABTEIL NR. 6, a railroad movie between East and West, metropolis and province and two opposing people, which won several prizes in Cannes.
In addition to the four competitions and traditional programme sections, the 31st FFC highlights Slovakian cinema, the Turkish film landscape and the transformation processes after the collapse of the Soviet Union. From Slovak classics from 1946 to current genre and auteur films to full-dome films. From film heritage to science fiction, from slapstick to interactive film games, from the quirky horror comedy to the crisis of meaning of a dissatisfied mainstream director, from new works by old masters like Srdjan Dragojević, Petr Bebjak or Levan Koguashvili to masterful debuts by new talents. Female characters often take centre stage, often the unusual surprises - from the family comedy about a family mother's lesbian coming out, which became a box office hit in Poland, to the contemplative concept film about a mother and son who brought their husband and father out of a coma after a stroke through sheer empathy and togetherness.
We are happy to provide you with an introductory thematic overview of this year's programme.
Feature Film Competition
12 films from 19 production countries compete for the main prize of 25,000 EUR for the best film and the prize sculpture LUBINA. In addition, the International Jury will award a Special Prize for Best Director and a Prize for Best Acting Performance.
Range: From the high-energy road movie IN LIMBO (Russia, dir. Alexander Hant) about two rebellious teenagers who flee from their parents' homes that have become too narrow in a mixture of "Thelma and Luise" and "Natural Born Killers" into the vastness of the Russian provinces, to ORCHESTRA (Slovenia, R: Matevž Luzar), the ironically melancholic tour of a Slovenian brass band to neighbouring Austria, to THE STAFFROOM (Croatia, director: Soja Tarokić), a precise observation of collegial interaction in a teachers' office, and 107 MOTHERS (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, director: Péter Kerekes), a fascinatingly powerful reflection on women's roles and constructions of motherhood in an Odessa prison.
Short Film Competition
Absurd and sweet, groovy and poetic, the 13 films from a total of eleven production countries in the short film competition "The Long Night of Short Films" take us into worlds full of exciting contrasts. The participating directors have the chance to win a main as well as a special prize.
Range: From the longing for freedom of Berlin's techno scene in a Lithuanian prefab building (TECHNO, MAMA; Lithuania, R: Saulius Baradinskas) to the failing attempt of a Kazakh policeman to portray 'his' police as a transparent institution serving the citizens (COMRADE POLICEMAN; Kazakhstan, R: Assel Aushakimova) to the bittersweet everyday thriller at a Czech lake (ANATOMY OF A CZECH AFTERNOON; Czech Republic, R; Adam Martinec).
U18 Competition Youth Film
Exuberant emotions and the neverending urge for freedom. The seven films in this year's U18 Youth Competition impressively show us the different facets of growing up in the digital age.
Range: From two closest friends drifting apart during puberty (SISTERHOOD; North Macedonia, France, R: Dina Duma) to the portrait of a fragile father-daughter relationship (GERANIUM; Turkey, R: Çağıl Bocut) to being a closet gay in an 'LGBT-free zone' in Poland (LOVE TASTING, R: Dawid Nickel).
Anything but average. Cops who arrest you for seeing the world too black (THE MAN FROM PODOLSK, Russia, directed by Semyon Serzin)? Film noir in the Serbian lowlands (LOAN SHARK, Serbia, directed by Nemanja Ćeranić)? Grandma as an Estonian mythical figure (KRATT, Estonia, director: Rasmus Merivoo), who becomes uncomfortable when she is given nothing to do? Nothing is impossible ...
Range: From young adults in the former Yugoslavia in search of their lost identity (AFTER THE WINTER; Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia, R: Ivan Bakrač) to a family man who defies his bankruptcy lightheartedly instead with sombre tones (FIRE; Kazakhstan, R: Aizhan Kassymbek) to the hard-boiled Insta-style bullying story about a dog owner who falls under the wheels of the internet machine after her dog vomits in the underground train (#DOGPOOPGIRL; Romania, R: Andrei Huţuleac).
Close Up Turkey
With psychological sensitivity and unforeseen twists, current Turkish cinema addresses current developments, historical references and personal conflicts - thoughtful, visually powerful, spot-on, across genre boundaries.
Range: From the gentrification reflection DERSAADET APARTMENT (Turkey; R: Tankut Kılınç) to the Yesilçam homage THE CEMIL SHOW (Turkey, R: Bariş Sarhan) and the unusual portrait of two mismatched sisters who cannot get away from their ageing mother (IT'S ALL ABOUT PEACE AND HARMONY; Turkey, R: Nesimi Yetik) to the reunion, staged with a mixture of Mediterranean lightness and introverted melancholy, of two women whose homosexual love story was ended by their parents when they were teenagers (LOVE, SPELLS AND ALL THAT; Turkey, director: Ümüt Ünal).
This year Slovakian cinema celebrates its 100th birthday. Reason enough to delve into the history and present of an unusual film country and compare cult films from the 1960s with current works.
Range: Five "film couples" compare cult films from the post-war period and the 1960s with current works on similar themes - such as THE BOXER AND THE DEATH (ČSSR 1963; R: Peter Solan; starring Manfred Krug) with Peter Bebjak's THE AUSCHWITZ REPORT (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany), or Stanislav Barabáš's expressionist war film THE BELLS TOLL FOR THE BAREFOOTED (ČSSR 1965) with Mira Fornay's brilliant outsider portrait MY DOG KILLER (Slovakia, Czech Republic 2013).
Much new in the East
When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, the lives of millions of people changed. The heroes of the films reflect the epochal upheavals of the past 30 years. Their lives trace the social, economic and political changes.
Range: From the former commander of a military port who is now only a contemporary witness (THE ADMIRAL TCHUMAKOV; Belgium, France, R: Laurier Forneau, Arnaud Alberola ), to a thermal power plant worker who struggles to hold together the remnants of the plants' choir (THE HEAT SINGERS; Ukraine 2019, R: Nadia Parfan) to a reunion with classic feature films and documentaries about the upheavals of the 1990s such as KATRINS HÜTTE (Germany 19991/92, director: Joachim Tschirner), LETZTES JAHR TITANIC (GDR 1990; director: Andreas Voigt), ÖSTLICHE LANDSCHAFT (Germany 1991, director: Eduard Schreiber) and PSY - HUNDE (Poland 1992; director: Władysław Pasikowski).
Numerous SPECIALS round off the festival programme - from films by jury members to TV series in the "Series Lounge", from a Christa Wolf homage on the occasion of "75 Years of DEFA" to the FullDome films in the Planetarium and the "Kinoteatr" from Zielona Góra.
Range: From films by the jury members to TV series in the "Series Lounge", from a Christa Wolf homage on the occasion of "75 years of DEFA" to the FullDome films in the Planetarium and the "Kinoteatr" film LOVE YOU, TOO (Poland, director: Lech Mackiewicz) from Cottbus' twin city Zielona Góra and the second part of the contemporary reflection WHAT DOES BOSNIA AND HERZEGOWINA MEAN TO YOU? (Bosnia and Herzegovina, R: Alma Cocaj, Rea Memić, Sara Ristić, Mirela Salihović, Emina Šehić), as a short film compilation by five female directors from Sarajevo, this time.
Structural change in Brandenburg is one of the most discussed topics in the region. But where industry changes, urban spaces, everyday working life and coexistence also change.
Range: From a long-term observation of a machine tool factory in Croatia occupied by the workers, FACTORIES TO THE WORKERS (Croatia; Director: Srđan Kovačević) to a portrait of mentality and reflection on structural change in the mining-dominated Erzgebirge STOLLEN (Germany, Director: Laura Reichwald).
MIOB IN SHORTS
The European festival network MIOB is an association of seven European film festivals. In addition to the MIOB New Vision Award for a current feature-length film, the network presents the MIOB In Shorts Award. The 2021 award will be presented at this year's FFC. All 15 short films from 15 production countries will be screened in the programme.
The film series includes contributions by established masters and young filmmakers from Poland - one of the most film-producing countries in Eastern Central Europe. On the pulse of current affairs and artistically diverse between auteur film and commercial cinema.
Range: From the successful patchwork comedy BLACK SHEEP (Poland, director: Aleksander Pietrzak) about a bland wife who turns family life upside down with her lesbian coming-out, to the episodic film EROTICA 2022 (Poland, directors: Katarzyna Adamik, Olga Chajdas, Ana Jadowska, Anna Kazejak, Jagoda Szelc), in which five renowned directors reflect on sexual power relations and erotic fantasies from a feminist perspective.
Homeland | Domownja | Domizna
We examine film-making in Lower and Upper Lusatia on Sorbian and regional themes, partly in the Sorbian language. Thematically extensive, one thing becomes clear: homeland is not a fixed concept.
Range: From a tribute to the Sorbian film pioneer Toni Bruk, who died in December 2020 as a result of a corona infection, to the recent DIE WALDGÄNGER (Germany, directed by Gordon Kämmerer) at the Cottbus State Theatre.
Blockbusters, box-office hits, crowd-pleasing films: Between adventure thriller and social comedy, Eastern European films are made with high production value - multi-layered entertainment with brains, never-ending suspense and spot-on punchlines.
Range: From the Russian forest firefighter cracker FIRE (Russia, R: Alexey Nuzhny) to the quirky Finnish culture and mentality clash comedy NIMBY (Finland, R: Teemu Nicki) to the Kosovar HIVE (Kosovo, Switzerland, Northern Macedonia, Albania; R: Blerta Basholli), the success story of a women's collective in the patriarchally dominated Kosovar province, and the Estonian Ostalgie comedy GOODBYE SOVIET UNION (Estonia, Finland; director: Lauri Randla), which can certainly hold a candle to "Goodbye Lenin".
Kids at the Movies
5 film programmes with a current cross-section of Eastern European children's film production are shown in the series KIDS IM KINO. Fantastic adventures and stories suitable for viewers aged 3 to 12.
Range: From the current ARD fairy tale adaptation DER GEIST IM GLAS (Germany, R: Markus Dietrich), coming this year from Radio Bremen, to an encounter with a rebellious fairy (SHIJA, THE REBEL FAIRY; Finland, Netherlands, Norway, R: Marja Pyykkö), to the remake of the fairy tale classic PETERCHENS MONDFAHRT (Germany; R: Ali Sahady Amady).
The regional competition for filmmakers from Lower and Upper Lusatia is cult and offers a unique platform and a great opportunity to show films on the screen of the time-honoured Weltspiegel film theatre.
Further information on the 31st FFC can be found at filmfestivalcottbus.de
Open for accreditation
For accredited national and international representatives of the press and industry, the FFC is setting up online access to almost the entire festival programme. Accreditations are now possible online and are free of charge for the reporting press:
For further information, interview requests and broadcast- and print-ready images, please contact our PR and Marketing Managers Andrea Lenz, Eddy Quiel and Christian Seifert.
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