Pressrelease #2 Ukraine

 Press release
Cottbus, 05.10.2022

With 13 films from and three films about Ukraine, the country under attack by Russia is strongly represented in all sections of the FilmFestival Cottbus this year, including three competition entries. The spectrum ranges from the opening film LUXEMBOURG LUXEMBOURG to the musical KINGS OF RAP and reflections on traumatic consequences of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The 32nd FilmFestival Cottbus will take place from November 8 to 13. The motto of 11.11. is "Ukrainian Day". In addition to film screenings followed by audience discussions with the directors, there will be two panel discussions on this day. The focus will be on the current situation of filmmakers in Ukraine and the role of cinema in processing the everyday life marked by the war of aggression and the discussion of political culture. On this day, Ukrainian refugees will receive free admission to all films at FilmFestival Cottbus upon presentation of their passports.

"We have worked continuously with Ukrainian filmmakers, film festivals and media representatives in recent years, making a small contribution to the development of this extraordinary film landscape and will continue to do so," says Andreas Stein, managing director of FilmFestival Cottbus. Program Director Bernd Buder adds: "Ukrainian cinema is an integral part of European filmmaking. Almost every year, films from Ukraine premiere at A-list festivals such as Berlin, Venice and Cannes, which are particularly influential for international film releases. The mixture of precise observation and poetic motifs and a tendency towards the grotesque makes Ukrainian cinema today as interesting as it is unpredictable. We are showing the whole range of Ukrainian film at the FFC this year."

The furious tragicomedy LUXEMBOURG, LUXEMBOURG describes with thoughtful situation comedy the search for traces of two completely different twin sons from a Ukrainian-Serbian mixed marriage for their father. This is director Antonio Lukich's second appearance in competition at FilmFestival Cottbus, following MY THOUGHTS ARE SILENT (2019). LUXEMBURG LUXEMBURG opens the festival on Nov. 8 in the prestigious hall of the Cottbus State Theater. In the U 18 Youth Film Competition, Iryna Tsylik's nostalgic coming-of-age film ROCK, PAPER, GRENADE will celebrate its German premiere, and in the Short Film Competition Arkadiii Nepitalyuk's GOLDEN LEGGINGS. German premieres also include the small-town rapper musical KINGS OF RAP (directed by Myroslav Latyk) and Taras Tomenko's "SLOVO" HOUSE. UNIFISHED NOVEL, a film noir with musical interludes about writers under pressure under Stalinism who take refuge in a mixture of conformity, escapism and cynicism. Tomenko's current documentary BONEY PILES was shown at the Berlinale this year and can also be seen in Cottbus.

For his new documentary ONE DAY IN UKRAINE, Volodymyr Tykhy filmed everyday life in his attacked country on March 14, the "Day of War Volunteers," with twelve cameramen. The disturbing snapshots show shelter seekers in Kyiv subway stations, passersby desperately trying to establish a regular daily life despite rocket fire, and ambivalent punitive measures against looters. As co-founder of the documentary filmmaking collective "Babylon #13," Tykhy is one of the chroniclers of the Euromaidan protests that ushered in domocratization in Ukraine in 2013/14. ONE DAY IN UKRAINE is screening as well as two new documentaries by Kornii Hritsyuk as German premieres in Cottbus. Hritsyuk is part of the DIALOG jury for intercultural understanding. In TRAIN KYIV-WAR, he interviews people on the night train that brought its passengers to the demarcation line with the territories occupied by pro-Russian rebels in the east of the country until February 2022, about the reasons for their journey and their attitudes towards the conflict then simmering in eastern Ukraine. In EURODONBAS, he traces the early history of industrialization in the resource-rich Donbas region, whose industry was largely built by Belgian, French, Welsh and German entrepreneurs. The focus is, among other things, on Lysychansk, which today is constantly contested. PAMFIR, Dmytro Sukholytky-Sobchuk's stirring small-scale smuggling drama on the Ukrainian-Romanian border, enriched with folkloric motifs, Maksym Nakonechnyi's BUTTERFLY VISION about a female soldier, who struggles with the consequences of torture suffered during her captivity by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, and Taras Dron's BLINDFOLD, about a mixed martial arts fighter struggling for self-determination in difficult times, round out the Ukrainian feature presence at FilmFestival Cottbus. The last two titles run in the special series "Women's Roles in Socialism and After", which deals with images of women in socialism and post-socialism.

Numerous Ukrainian filmmakers will be guests in Cottbus, including not only Lukich and Hritsyuk, but also Taras Dron, who is currently living in Berlin as a Nipkow scholarship holder, as well as Stanislav Bytiutskyi and Nikon Romanchenko, who will present their current film projects at connecting cottbus, the co-production market of FilmFestival Cottbus. In two panel discussions on Nov. 11, Ukrainian filmmakers discuss the situation and role of Ukrainian cinema in the everyday life marked by the war of aggression against their country.

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