Film Festival Cottbus 2016
The Festival of Eastern European film, in cooperation with a broad network of European cultural institutes, brings together Eastern European filmmakers, producers and actors, creating a “unique forum for an identity-building dialogue between cultures”November 18th, 2016
Every year around 20,000 people visit the Cottbus Festival, showing mostly Eastern European films. This year, however, around 200 productions from 45 countries were shown at the festival. The festival was supported by a range of institutions, such as the state of Brandenburg, the city of Cottbus, the German Federal Office, and the German Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
Between 8th until 13th of November, the 26th Film Festival Cottbus took place in the second-largest city of the federal state of Brandenburg-Cottbus. The film festival cooperated with a broad network of European cultural institutes across Europe, while the press conference took place at the Czech Centre in Berlin. Among other cultural institutes in Berlin, the Polish and the Romanian Cultural Institutes are partner institutions to the film festival.
The festival was first held in 1991, shortly after the reunification of Germany, and since then has become one of the most prominent festivals of Eastern European cinema. Former Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier highlighted the cultural diplomacy mission of the festival as: “a varied program of lectures, exhibitions and concerts, workshops, seminars, panels and film talks [making] the festival a unique forum for an identity-building dialogue between cultures.”
The film, Ostatnia Rodzina/The Last Family, from Jan P. Matuszyński was screened at the festival. The film won the price for the Best Polish Film at the 30th Warsaw screenings and depicts the life of the Polish surrealist painter, Zdzisław Beksiński, famous for his apocalyptic paintings and his relationship with his son. In the film series, “Exploring the Past: German-Polish-Czech History Through the Ages”, young Czech, German, Slovak and Polish filmmakers have attempted to portray experiences of resettlement or deportation and the accompanying identity-loss caused by the political turmoil of the 20th century.
Another film, “Bridges and Breaks-Convergence in Post-Unification Germany”, addressed the situation of German filmmakers in Germany following reunification. The film, “Cuba between East and West”, looked at possible parallels between the transition that Cuba is currently undergoing, with the transition experience of Central and Eastern European countries in the 1990s.