COTTBUS: The Russian/German/Polish/Kazakh/Chinese coproduction Ayka directed by Sergei Dvortsevoy won the main prize for best film at the 28th Cottbus Film Festival, which concluded on 11 November 2018. The award carries a prize of 25,000 EUR.
The festival schedule coincides with the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Festival director Bernd Buder reflected on the shift in the region since its founding just two years after the collapse of the Communist Bloc. “Public interest is changing, but it doesn’t mean our interest has changed. We do our best to keep this interest alive,” he told FNE. That interest was certainly in evidence from the festival visitors. “Attendance is fantastic and I’m most pleased by the response and passion of the audience,” he said.
Buder also pointed to some recent trends. “I see some movement in Montenegro. They’ve harvested their first fruits.” He added, “We had a Belarus focus last year, and this year we had two films in competition and one in spectrum, along with one film at Connecting Cottbus.” He also noted, “The Ukraine is one of the most interesting countries at the moment. They produce films with huge commercial appeal as well as arthouse potential, and they make an effort to connect their filmmakers with other countries.”
Connecting Cottbus, the East-West pitching forum, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, continues to be an important pipeline for films going on to screen at the festival. This edition of Cottbus FF had four former Connecting Cottbus films, including three in the main competition. The festival continues to build its influence in the industry, with its newest venture, which began last year: organising workshops for film school students from Germany and neighboring Poland and the Czech Republic, teaching them how to approach the industry with their films. Look for the newest generation of filmmakers to return to Cottbus with the fruits of their labours in future years.
Winners of 28th Cottbus Film Festival:
Best Film: Ayka (Russia, Germany, Poland, Kazakhstan, China) Directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy Produced by Pallas Film GmbH Coproduced by Otter Films, KNM, Kinodvor, Eurasia, Juben Pictures Supported by the Russian Ministry of Culture, Eurimages, the Polish Film Institute, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung
Best Director: Ivan I. Tverdovsky for Jumpman (Russia, Ireland, Lithuania, France) Produced by New People Company Coproduced by Film and Music Entertainment, Tremora, Arizona Production Supported by the Ministry of Culture of Russia, the Lithuanian Film Center, Eurimages
Best Actress: Martina Apostolova for Irina (Bulgaria) Directed by Nadejda Koseva Produced by Art Fest Supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center, Creative Europe – MEDIA, SEE Cinema Network, ScripTeast
Best Actor: Reimo Sagor for Take It or Leave It (Estonia) Directed by Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo Produced by Allfilm Supported by the Estonian Film Institute
Special Mention: The Load (Serbia, France, Croatia, Iran, Qatar) Directed by Ognjen Glavonić Produced by Non-Aligned Films Coproduced by Cinéma Defacto, Kinorama,Three Gardens Film Supported by Aide aux cinémas du monde — CNC, Eurimages, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Visions Sud Est, Film Center Serbia, Hubert Bals Fund, Doha Film Institute, Autonomous Province of Vojvodina