On the occasion of the 74th Berlinale, the 20 contributors to the European Solidarity Fund for Ukrainian Films made official its renewal for a second year on 20th February.

Endowed with €1.5 million, i.e. €300,000 more than in 2023, this multilateral programme, coordinated by the CNC, aims to support works by Ukrainian filmmakers whose projects have been interrupted since the outbreak of Russian aggression on Ukrainian soil or for whom it is difficult to launch new projects in this context.
The Fund also aims to encourage creative and technical exchanges between professionals from the contributing countries and Ukrainian professionals through co-productions.

When it was launched a year ago at the 73rd Berlinale, the Fund was financed by thirteen European countries and the EFAD association (European Film Agency Directors). Today, the association and 19 European ministries and national film funds participate in its financing. In December 2023, four new members joined as contributors: the Bulgarian National Film Center, the National Film Institute of Hungary, the National Film Center of Latvia and the Spanish ICAA.

Three films supported by the Fund in competition at the Berlinale

In its first year, the Fund issued two calls for entries and supported 29 projects announced at the last Cannes Film Festival. Three of these works will be presented at the Berlinale: The Editorial Office by Roman Bondarchuk (post-production), presented as part of the Berlinale Forum; Antonivka by Kateryna Gornostai (development), presented at the co-production market and Screaming Girl by Antonio Lukich (development), presented at the co-production market and winner of the Eurimages prize.

In order to continue to encourage co-productions between Ukrainian companies and those established in a contributing country, two specific calls are being launched from 21st February 2024: the first is dedicated to projects in the development phase (application from 21st February to 5th April) and the second concerns projects in the finalisation phase (application from 21st February to 15th March). The projects selected will be chosen by a committee of seven independent experts.

 

FULL LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS

France:  CNC (coordinator), Germany: BKM (Ministry of Culture), Belgium: CCA, Bulgaria: Bulgarian National Film Centre, Croatia: HAVC, Denmark: Danish Film Institute, Spain: ICAA, Estonia: Estonian Film Institute, Greece: Greek Film Centre, Hungary:National Film Institute Hungary, Ireland: Screen Ireland, Italy: MIC (Ministry of culture), Latvia: National Film Centre of Latvia, Lithuania: Lithuanian Film Centre, Luxembourg: Film Fund Luxembourg, Norway: Norwegian Film Institute, The Netherlands: Nederlands Film Fonds, Portugal: ICA, United-Kingdom: UK Global Screen Fund (BFI) and EFAD, the European association of film agencies.

 

The Národní filmový archiv, Prague is pleased to announce the international premiere of the digitally restored film MURDERING THE DEVIL at the 53rd Rotterdam International Film Festival. This extraordinary film will be screened in the Cinema Regained section. 

MURDERING THE DEVIL, originally released in 1970, is the directing debut of Ester Krumbachová. This legendary production and costume designer and screenwriter was a co-author of dozens of films, especially during the Czechoslovak New Wave era. Krumbachová, as the author of this film, had complete control over the film, which thus demonstrates her style as an artist. She handles gender stereotypes and quotations of various stories, fairy tales and myths with cruelty, subtlety and subversive humor.

More about the film and the filmmakers.


The digital restoration of MURDERING THE DEVIL is released by the Národní filmový archiv, Prague. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for booking this film as well as other classic Czech and Czechoslovak films. 


MURDERING THE DEVIL
29 Jan 2024, 4.15 pm
LantarenVenster 2
Public

you can buy tickets here

 

The CEE Animation Forum, the largest pitching and networking event in Central and Eastern Europe dedicated to the animated projects, took place on 8th and 9th November. A total of 28 projects were presented in the 4 main competitions, with the juries presenting awards to a total of 12 animated works.

The project selection for CEE Animation Forum 2023 boasts an impressive lineup, featuring a diverse range of animated content across various categories. The total budget of all 28 pitching projects reaches a staggering €29 million, showcasing the ambitious scale and potential impact of these productions. To cater to different target demographics, the selection includes 8 projects for children up to 10 years old, 6 projects for teenagers, 8 projects for young adults, and 7 projects aimed at adult audiences.

I am very proud of every team on the stage – from debuting students fearlessly stepping in front of a professional audience for the first time, to experienced filmmakers unveiling a multitude of highly ambitious projects. Their creativity and courage defined the essence of our CEE Animation Forum," said Marta Jallageas, managing director of the CEE Animation Forum.

Financial support for the event was provided by the Czech Film Fund, Ministry of Culture Czech Republic, Audiovisual Producers´ Association (Czech Republic), Pilsen Region (Czech Republic) and the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest.

 

LIST OF WINNERS

AUDIENCE AWARD

  • My Little Heroes (d. Javier Galán, p. Ivan Agenjo, Peekaboo Animation, Fabrique Fantastique, Spain, Belgium)

CATEGORY FEATURE FILMS

  • Winner: Nine Lives Left (d. Zacharias Mavroeidis, p. Maria Kontogianni, Wild at Heart, Greece)

Jury statement: We feel the potential of the story (at least we are going to discover what cats think of us!). But we feel this is not around the travel between childhood and teenager more about what we want for our life.


CATEGORY SERIES/TV SPECIAL

  • Winner: Rainy Days (d. and p. Ani Antonova Hristova, Austria, Bulgaria)

Jury statement: We decided to give main Award to Rainy days for its great potential and unusual main character. We see the project as very original and poetic. We also appreciate the

personal aspect, since it’s female family business, artistic cooperation of two generations.

  • Special Mention: Dolls (d. Joachim Hérissé, p. Stéphanie Launay, Komadoli Studio, France)

Jury statement: We decided to award 'Dolls' with a Special Mention for its quality and originality. We appreciated its connection to the tradition of Czech puppet animation. We consider the project very artsy, a counterpart to consumerism, and also a very personal endeavor.

CATEGORY SHORT FILMS

  • Winner: Nightbloom (d. Kata Gugić, p. Vanja Andrijević, Bonobo Studio, Croatia)

Jury statement: For the quality of the artists' research, their originality, and their capacity to experiment with narrative through the creation of an entertaining and pop universe.

  • Special Mention: Be Still My Heart (d. Melinda Kádár, p. Bella Szederkényi, CUB Animation, Hungary)

Jury statement: For the vulnerability of the process, the clarity of vision and risk taking, as an encouragement to push the surreal element further and deeper.

CATEGORY RISING STARTS

  • Winner: Stuck in the Wasp Nest (d. Agnes Milla Bereczki, p. Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia)

Jury statement: The jury was impressed by the professional presentation and the author’s ability to process a personal trauma with honesty and humor. They were captivated by its original visuals and clear storytelling.

  • Special Mention: It´s (Not) Yours (d. Santiago Ordoñez, p. Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia)

Jury statement: This film tells a deep story with a minimalistic style. The jury was impressed by the maturity and the strong atmosphere behind, as well as by the expressive sound design that complemented the graphic visuals.

CEE Animation Workshop

  • Riamise (d. Francesco Forti, p. Federico Turani, Ibrido Studio, Italy)

Ciclic Residency

  • Nightbloom (d. Kata Gugić, p. Vanja Andrijević, Bonobo Studio, Croatia)

TV Paint

  • Eruption (d. Zoe Nagy, p. MOME Anim – Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Hungary)

Cartoon Movie – direct access

  • Hawl (d. Joanna Jasińska-Koronkiewicz, p. Anna Mroczek, Wojtek Leszczyński, Przemysław Pilarczyk, Likaon / WJT, Poland)
  • MouMoush – the King of Plastic (d. Milorad Krstic, p. Radmila Roczkov, Hermina Roczkov, Hungary)

Young Horizons Industry – direct access

  • Rainy Days (d. and p. Ani Antonova Hristova, Austria, Bulgaria)

Animarkt Stop Motion Forum – direct access

  • Dolls (d. Joachim Hérissé, p. Stéphanie Launay, Komadoli Studio, France)

While the 25th anniversary edition of connecting cottbus (8-10 Nov 2023), the East-West co-production market at FilmFestival Cottbus, is still underway, the award winners out of the 13 cocoPITCH and 6 cocoWIP projects were already announced during tonight’s ceremony:
 
The cocoPITCH Audience Award went to the best pitch presentation of a project in development, voted for by all industry participants. The audience chose EXCAVATORS, presented by director Argyro Nicolaou and producer Constantinos Nikiforou (Caretta Films, Cyprus), who receive a cash prize of €1,500.
 
This year’s cocoPITCH jury was comprised of Laurin Dietrich (WOLF Consultants), Paul Thiltges (Paul Thiltges Distributions) and Olena Yershova (Tato Film), who deliberated on three awards:
 
The Avanpost Pitch Packaging Award was handed out to EXCAVATORS, presented by director Argyro Nicolaou and producer Constantinos Nikiforou (Caretta Films) from Cyprus. Romanian post-production outfit Avanpost will provide the project with in-kind services up to €15,000, which may include strategy consulting, the project look-book as well as production/post-production for a proof of concept. The jury decided “to give the award to a team who touched us with a personal, strong pitch that at the same time made clear how relevant and universal their film will be. A story of intergenerational trauma and how to find your own position to tell it.”
 
The Croatian Audiovisual Centre presented the HAVC Project Development Award, a €5,000 cash award towards the further development of one project. It went to MY WORLD UPSIDE DOWN by director/producer Daniel Rihák and producer Martina Saková (WHAT IF Films, Slovakia & Projector23, Germany). The jury chose “a project that touched us with its courageous handling of a delicate topic, in a humorous and engaging pitch and teaser. We are convinced that this well-defined story with its heart in the right place will emotionally connect with audiences.”
 
The Producers Network Award, consisting of free accreditation to the Producers Network at the Marché du Film in Cannes 2024, went to Victoria Mitreva (Portokal/Garti Films, Bulgaria), the producer of cocoPITCH project RESONANCE, directed by Yordan Petkov. The jury stated: “A Western with an East European sensibility, this project convinced us with a subtle and visually beautiful exploration of life in the tension between community and staying true to your own convictions.”
 
The MIDPOINT Consulting Award went to three cocoPITCH projects, each receiving an in-depth script consultancy. The winners, announced by MIDPOINT‘s programme coordinator Soňa Morgenthalová, are AT YOUR SERVICE (presented by director German Golub & producer Evelin Penttilä/Stellar Film, Estonia), PYRRHIC (presented by director Cosmin Nicolae & producer Dana Boghean-Melconian/Icon Production, Romania) and TACTILE UNIVERSE (presented by director Szilárd Bernáth & producer András Muhi/Focus Fox, Hungary).
 
The 2023 cocoWIP jury was comprised of Kathrin Kohlstedde (FilmFest Hamburg), Lorena Morín (MECAS Market/Splitscreen), Lukáš Moudrý (Studio Beep) as well as Waheed Zamani and Robert Wunsch of D-Facto Motion. They deliberated on two awards:
 
Sponsored by German post-production studio D-Facto Motion, the D-Facto Motion WIP Award of €35,000 in-kind services plus €5,000 for additional expenses went to the work in progress BORDERWALL, presented by director Ignas Jonynas and producer Ruta Adelė Jekentaitė (Baltic Productions, Lithuania).
 
BORDERWALL also received the Studio Beep Sound Post-Production Award, consisting of €6.000 in-kind services sponsored by the high-end studios based in the centre of Prague. The jury “are happy to award one movie with powerful cinematography, a mysterious character and a cage of birds. A gripping story that intrigued us in such way that we want to see it finished immediately.”
 
Congratulations to all the winners!

The European Arthouse Cinema Day (EACD) is the worldwide day of action for arthouse cinemas around the globe. Over 600 venues in almost 40 countries (spanning from Europe to South Korea and Mexico) will celebrate cinemas and European filmmaking creating the largest international platform of its kind to showcase their unique contributions to cultural diversity.
 
For the 8th time, participating cinemas across the world are inviting their audiences to experience the vibrant cultural force of cinema. This one-day global event, spearheaded by the International Confederation of Arthouse Cinemas (CICAE), features a host of special events and screenings. They include premieres, previews, Q&As with filmmakers, actors and special guests as well as tailored programmes and special screenings for children and young audiences. Last year, around 60,000 viewers attended over 250 films during EACD events alone.

İlker Çatak, Isabel Coixet, and Matteo Garrone are the ambassadors of this year's European Arthouse Cinema Day.
 
EACD ambassador İlker Çatak“Great films teach us to look beyond ourselves. They open windows onto a new world of different stories and perspectives. Cinemas are the classrooms in which we get to glimpse a myriad of different emotions and experiences. Join us for European Arthouse Cinema Day to celebrate diverse film and cinema culture and the theatres that give them a home”.
 
Among the centralised EACD events organised by the CICAE and its national member associations is the Swedish premiere of Ilker Çatak's THE THEACHERS’ LOUNGE. It will be released at the Stockholm Film Festival and in over 20 Swedish cinemas on European Arthouse Cinema Day. Italian film director Matteo Garrone presents his new film ME CAPTAIN at the Arras Film Festival and a live Q&A will be broadcast in numerous other French and Italian cinemas. In France, the premiere of the film LITTLE GIRL BLUE will take place in several cinemas with a live Q&A with director Mona Achache and actress Marion Cotillard. Moreover, the Spanish film director Isabel Coixet will attend the screening of her new film UN AMOR for a film talk, which will also be broadcast to other Spanish cinemas.
 
"In cinema, seduction and seduceability are closely related. Accordingly it is crucial to have a cinema that opens up new perspectives, allows us to discover foreign cultures, and questions, time and again, our established standards," says CICAE president Dr. Christian Bräuer. "This is exactly what arthouse cinemas around the world stand for: curated programmes beyond the mainstream that bring cinematic diversity to the Big Screen. They are united by the certainty that cinema is more than ‘just’ a good film and by an unshakeable belief in the transformative power of the seventh art. This spirit is what we want to celebrate on Sunday and we are delighted that 600 cinemas from almost 40 countries and four continents will once again be taking part in the European Arthouse Cinema Day".
 
The European Arthouse Cinema Day is organised by the CICAE and its member associations and is internationally funded by the Creative Europe MEDIA programme of the European Union, Eurimages, the German Federal Film Board and Europa Cinemas. It partners with the Month of European Film (1 November – 9 December 2023) and the LUX Audience Award.
 
For more information visit www.artcinemaday.orgwww.cicae.org or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Anna Buryachkova wins the main prize for the best film in the feature film competition at the 33rd Cottbus FilmFestival. The Ukrainian-Dutch production FOREVER-FOREVER is awarded the prize of 25,000 EUR. The film provides a rare glimpse into the complex emotional world of coming of age for the post-Soviet "90s kids" in Kyiv. FOREVER-FOREVER convinces the International Festival Jury and wins the main prize "for a captivating coming-of-age story that authentically, poignantly, and in a well-constructed manner depicts the upheavals of the Eastern Bloc in the 90s."

The main prize for the best feature film has been sponsored by the Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten (GWFF) for over two decades.
 
The Special Award for Best Director, sponsored by Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg and endowed with 7,500 EUR, goes to Rezo Gigineishvili for PATIENT #1. Using the example of an ailing Soviet political functionary, the film reflects a political system that must keep its symbolic figures artificially alive to survive. The jury staits: "The director creates a complex, multi-layered metaphor of seemingly old times that still feel very true and relevant, while masterfully orchestrating a wonderful ensemble of actors."

Eka Chavleishvili is delighted to receive the prize of 5,000 EUR for an outstanding individual performance. In BLACKBIRD BLACKBIRD BLACKBERRY, she convinces the International Festival Jury, "with the portrayal of an unforgettable character with such power, grandeur and bravery that you simply cannot take your eyes off her."
 
All three winners receive the coveted glass prize sculpture Lubina in addition to the prize money.

The main prize in the Short Film competition goes to the film IT'S ALL RIGHT by Anton Zhuk. The Belarusian production is an intense coming of age thriller. The Special Prize for Best Director goes to Nikola Stojanović for his film THE GHOSTS YOU DRAW ON MY BACK. The Serbian-Estonian work is an atmospherically dense puzzle about grief and non-chronological memory. The Short Film Jury states: "We were impressed by how much life and energy could be captured in a short film."

DYAD wins the U18 Youth Film competition. The Bulgarian production by Yana Titova is a ruthless schoolyard shocker from Bulgaria where a young girl resorts to drastic measures to get only one thing: her mother's love. The jury states:"The film has a plot that none of us expected, the story captivated and convinced us. A superb film that describes various issues like drug use, dependency, abuse, and generational conflict in a very good way."

The Audience Award of the 33rd FFC goes to the film CLARA by Sabin Dorohoi. A film about a young Romanian woman who leaves her home and her child to earn money in Germany - an exemplary Eastern European biography.

The entries of the long night of the short Lusatians which address the themes of the Sorbian/Wendish people and include the Sorbian language, competed for the prize of 1,500 EUR from the Foundation for the Sorbian People. This year, the film "Ankleidezimmer – Hoblekaŕnje" by Frauke Rahr is awarded. The Sorbian Young Talent Award, endowed with 1,000 EUR, goes to the film "Vom Suchen und Finden – Pytaś a namakaś" by Luka Golinski and Mira Dubian.

"With the thematic and artistic diversity of this year's lineup, the FilmFestival Cottbus has set a counterpoint to the oppressive news from around the world. Eastern European cinema reflects these challenges in a multifaceted way, creating a public space for collective reflection. It provides a place where filmmakers can exchange ideas - many of whom are directly affected by wars or have had to go into exile," says Program Director Bernd Buder, adding, "There were many moving scenes - this immensely important exchange between filmmakers, who often find themselves in existentially threatening situations just like the protagonists of their films, and the opportunities for collective cinematic reflection show how crucial this festival is and how important the medium of film is, even if it cannot solve the problems. But it helps to process and respond to them."

"The significant meaning of this exchange, this opportunity for learning, getting to know each other, and changing perspectives, was reflected to us daily throughout the festival week by our audience," says Managing Director Andreas Stein, adding, "This is surely one of the reasons why attendance numbers at the Cottbus Film Festival continue to develop positively after the pandemic years. We are very satisfied with the 33rd festival edition overall and feel that our important work is equally appreciated by the audience, filmmakers, and our supporters. I would like the festival team. Now we can go into the preparations for the 34th FFC with a lot of momentum and energy, which will take place from November 5 to 10, 2024."

The festival Sunday begins with the fairy tale "MÄRCHEN VON DER ZAUBERFLÖTE" in the Stadthalle. Is followed by the opening film of the festival, "BEI UNS HEISST SIE HANKA," directed by Grit Lemke, shown at 12:00 PM. In total, there are still 30 films to be seen tomorrow. At 5:30 PM, BLACKBIRD BLACKBIRD BLACKBERRY will be shown in the Stadthalle Cottbus, whose lead actress Eka Chavleishvili won the award for an outstanding individual performance. In solidarity with Israel and as a tribute to the Israeli filmmaker Yahav Winner, his short film THE BOY will be shown. Yahav Winner sacrificed his life in a kibbutz near the Gaza Strip to save the lives of his wife and newborn daughter. He was executed by the terrorists with a gunshot to the head. The film also takes place in a kibbutz. The theme: an impending war.
 
 
LIST OF ALL WINNERS OF THE 33RD COTTBUS FILM FESTIVAL

Feature Film Competition
 
Main Prize for Best Film – Forever-Forever (Anna Buryachkova, UA/NL 2023)
 
The main prize, endowed with 25,000 EUR, is sponsored by the Society for the Perception of Film and Television Rights (GWFF). The International Festival Jury of the 33rd FFC consists of Nana Janelidze, director and screenwriter from Georgia, Avelina Prat, Spanish author and director, and Gregorz Stępniak, the artistic director of the Polish Mastercard OFF CAMERA International Festival of Independent Cinema.

Jury justification: FOREVER-FOREVER impresses the International Festival Jury and wins the main prize, "for a captivating coming-of-age story that authentically, poignantly, and well-constructedly depicts the upheavals of the Eastern Bloc in the 90s."

Special Award for Best Director – PATIENT #1 (Rezo Gigineishvili, GE 2023)

The Special Award for Best Director is sponsored by Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) and is endowed with 7,500 EUR.

Jury justification: For building a complicated, multi-layered metaphor of seemingly old times that still feel very true and current, and for the masterful direction of a wonderful ensemble of actors. The Best Director Award goes to Rezo Gigineishvili for Patient #1.

Award for an Outstanding Individual Performance – Eka Chavleishvili Blackbird, Blackbird Blackberry (GE/CH 2023)

The Award for an Outstanding Individual Performance is sponsored by Sparkasse Spree-Neiße and is endowed with 5,000 EUR.

Jury justification: The award for the best performance goes to Eka Chavleishvili for shaping an unforgettable character with such power, grandeur, and bravery that you simply cannot take your eyes off her. 


Short Film Competition
Main Prize for Best Short Film – It`s alright (Anton Zhuk, BY 2022)

The main prize for the best short film, endowed with 2,500 EUR, is sponsored by Druckzone from Cottbus. The Short Film Jury consists of the Kazakh producer Yuliya Kim, the Development Producer Franziska Gärtner from Berlin, and the Potsdam actor Thomas Drechsel, known from the TV series "Gute Zeiten Schlechte Zeiten."

Jury justification: This film is well-crafted in every way. It shows only a small moment in life, but with so many layers that open a battlefield of the human soul. The Short Film Prize goes to IT'S ALRIGHT.

Special Prize for a Director – THE GHOST YOU DRAW ON MY BACK (Nikola Stojanović RS/EE 2023)

The Special Prize for a Director is sponsored by Tiede+ and is endowed with 1,500 EUR.

Jury justification: We fell in love with the cinematic language, the power of sensuality, and the courage to open the dialogue within it. We were impressed by how much life and energy could be captured in a short film. The Special Prize for Best Director goes to Nikola Stojanović.

Youth Film Competition

Best Youth Film – Dyad (Yana Titova, BG 2023)

The prize for the best youth film is endowed with 5,000 EUR and is sponsored by the City of Cottbus. The jury consists of students from the 12th grade of the Niedersorbisches Gymnasium Cottbus.

Jury justification: "The film has a plot that none of us expected, the story captivated and convinced us. A superb film that describes various issues like drug use, dependency, but also abuse and generational conflict in a very good way," says the jury justification.


DIALOG Prize for Understanding Between Cultures
1,500 EUR sponsored by Rotary Club Cottbus
VASIL (Avelina Prat, ES/BG, 2022)
Jury: Sinta Weisz (actress), Beata Dzianowicz (director), Vlad Petri (director).

Jury justification: The film has the ability to build a bridge between different backgrounds and dreams and gives us the opportunity to learn from each other. Just as dialogue arises through words, this film builds dialogue through silence, visual language, and emotions. The film presents its drama with subtlety and humor. The immigrant in the film had everything needed to be successful as an intellectual: a brilliant mind, a friendly and funny character, but as an outsider, he had to lose. There were many games to win, but not the game of life. We have decided to award this special prize, the Dialogue Prize, to the film VASIL directed by Avelina Prat.

Best Debut Film Prize
3,000 EUR sponsored by Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus-Senftenberg and Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF
HELA (Anna Kasperska, PL 2022)
Jury: Prof. Verena Issel (BTU), Alice Palchetti (HFF), Prof. Christa Petersen (BTU)

Jury justification: A courageous film. A film with strong female characters in a country where feminism has been threatened in recent years. A film that criticizes state and church institutions with its own film language. A protagonist who pursues her own perspective and emancipates herself. The film shows the struggle against a rigid patriarchal system. Even if an ultimate breakout does not seem possible yet, solidarity and sisterhood open up a future perspective - perhaps even for an entire country? The winner of the debut prize is HELA by ANNA KAPSERKA from Poland!

FIPRESCI Prize
of the Féderation Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique
LIBERTATE by Tudor Giurgiu, RO/HU, 2023
Jury: Katrin Hillgruber (DE), Angelo Mitchievici (RO), Giuseppe Sedia (IT)

Jury justification: Gunshots in Sibiu/Hermannstadt in December 1989. Experiencing a revolution on the screen can be uncomfortable and captivating at the same time. The director manages to give shape to the historical chaos by creating a film that goes beyond the aesthetics of the Romanian New Wave. The FIPRESCI Prize goes to Tudor Giurgiu's film "Libertate."

Ecumenical Jury Prize
sponsored by SIGNIS and INTERFILM
BLACKBIRD BLACKBIRD BLACKBERRY (Elene Naveriani, GE/CH 2023)
Jury: Brigitta Rotach (CH), Beáta Kézdi (HU)

Jury justification: In poetic imagery and rich colors, the film tells the story of a strong, independent woman in the middle of her life. The way Ethero calmly finds her own happiness, the bodies that do not conform to external beauty standards, and the unexpected turn of events encourage staying true to oneself, away from conventions. For this reason, we award the Ecumenical Jury Prize to the Georgian feature film "Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry."

Long Night of the Short Lusatians
Prize of the Foundation for the Sorbian People, endowed with 1,500 EUR
"Ankleidezimmer – Hoblekaŕnje" Frauke Rahr (DE 2022)

Sorbian Young Talent Award of the Foundation for the Sorbian People, endowed with 1,000 EUR
"Vom Suchen und Finden – Pytaś a namakaś" (Luka Golinski, Mira Dubian, DE 2023)

Audience Award
3,000 EUR sponsored by Lausitzer Rundschau
CLARA (Sabin Dorohoi, RO/DE 2023)
Jury: Audience of the Cottbus Film Festival

"Cottbus to Cinema" Award - to promote the distribution of a festival film
10,000 EUR sponsored by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg
BLACKBIRD BLACKBIRD BLACKBERRY (Elene Naveriani, GE/CH 2023)

MIOB in Shorts Award, endowed with 1,000 EUR
"Primal Therapy" (Santtu Salminen, FI 2022) Nomination of the FilmFestival Cottbus.

The FilmFestival Cottbus is largely supported by the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and the City of Cottbus as well as the Media Programme of the European Union.

As many as nine Slovak films will premiere at at the 27th edition of Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (24 – 29 October 2023), including two in the main Opus Bonum competition. Not to mention that Slovak projects and talent will be part of the Industry program as well.

The Third End of the Stick

| Opus Bonum | World Premiere

Director: Jaro Vojtek
Producers: Tomáš Slebodník (SK), Juraj Baláž (SK)
SK | 2023 | 88 min. | documentary

The film follows the fate of Romani, minority within a minority. Queer Romas search for their living space and dream of working abroad. A legless father of five children longs for a wheelchair. A Romani grandmother sacrifices her life for the health of her beloved grandson. Will Emil, a Romani man who found faith in God, be able to save his son from alcohol? Four stories from Roma settlements in Slovakia aim to break down prejudices between the Roma community and the white majority.

More information & screening here.

You Will Never See It All

| Opus Bonum | Czech Joy | World Premiere

Director: Štěpán Pech
Producers: Marek Dusil (CZ), Anna Mach Rumanová (SK)
CZ, SK | 2023 | 80 min. | documentary

The film is a window on the life and work of the artist Jan Mančuška, who died in 2011 aged 39, after he made a significant mark in the context of global contemporary art. Mančuška's story exposes many angles which show aspects of his life ranging from artistic brilliance to the philosophical dimension of his work, as well as human warmth, humour and nobility. The experimental nature of the film originates from inspiration by the vast creative world of its protagonist.

More information & screening here.

Olympic Halftime

| Czech Joy | World Premiere

Director: Haruna Honcoop
Producer: Vít Janeček (CZ/SK)
CZ, SK | 2023 | 77 min. | documentary

What impact do the Olympic Games have on their host cities? Athens, Tokyo, Beijing and Paris – cities that have changed the urban layout of entire neighbourhoods for the Olympics, transforming their appearance forever. Unused sports stadiums are falling into disrepair and grass is growing over them, while public attention is focused on the construction of new stadiums costing billions, displacing thousands of residents who have to make way for them. The director travels to Olympic host cities to explore this unsustainable cycle, which has a devastating effect on the city's economy, the environment, and the lives of ordinary people.

More information & screening here.

The World According to My Dad

| Czech Joy | International Premiere

Director: Marta Kovářová
Producers: Jan Bodnár (CZ), Jan Hubáček (CZ)
CZ, SK | 2023 | 77 min. | documentary

“I thought it would be easier,” admits director Marta Kovářová halfway through the film. In the form of a vivid diary, she captures her father's fight for climate justice. Jiří Svoboda from the Institute of Physics of Materials of the Czech Academy of Sciences came up with an ingeniously simple idea to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He proposes a global carbon price. Accompanied by his daughter's camera and songs, the Brno scientist visits local protest meetings and global environmental summits. The infectious determination of both protagonists, however, clashes with the slothfulness of politicians and the inflexibility of power structures. Yet Svoboda never loses his humour and his belief that certain things make sense simply because they are the right thing to do.

More information & screening here.

O Baripen

| Czech Joy | Czech Premiere

Director: Vera Lacková
Producers: Vera Lacková (SK), Jan Bodnár (CZ)
SK, CZ | 2023 | 52 min. | documentary

Elena Lacková (1921–2003) was a prominent Romani writer, playwright and social worker. Her great-granddaughter, Alžběta Ferencová alias Zea, is a singer, dancer and actress. The film draws parallels between two family-related women who, despite social prejudices, dedicate their lives to artistic creation. Through archival materials and the stories of witnesses, the difficult fate of Elena Lacková is revealed: from growing up in a Roma settlement, through the period of the Roma Holocaust, to her emancipatory work under communism. The poetic narrative reveals how the personal can take on political dimensions in our society.

More information & screening here.

Notes from Eremocene

| Czech Joy | Czech Premiere

Director: Viera Čákanyová
Producers: Matej Sotník (SK), Nina Numankadić (CZ), Tatiana Vallová (SK)
SK, CZ | 2023 | 78 min. | documentary

A hands-on and deeply personal work, Notes from Eremocene is an audiovisual postcard dispatched by filmmaker Viera Čákanyová into an ambivalent world to come. Drawing upon a fictional conversation with her future virtual clone, the film offers a window into a world in which the technological solutions mankind has devised for sustaining its existence have major and unexpected downsides.

More information & screening here.

Photophobia

| Czech Joy | Czech Premiere

Directors: Ivan Ostrochovský, Pavol Pekarčík
Producers: Ivan Ostrochovský (SK), Albert Malinovský (SK), Katarína Tomková (SK), Tomáš Michálek (CZ), Kristýna Michálek Květová (CZ)
SK, CZ, UA | 2023 | 71 min. | hybrid

On a cold February morning, 12-year-old Niki and his family arrive at the Kharkiv metro station to take shelter from the terrifying war raging outside. For Niki's family, daylight is synonymous with mortal danger, and the boy is not allowed to leave the station premises, living under the constant glow of their neon lights. While aimlessly wandering around the abandoned cars and full platforms, Niki meets Vika (11), and a new world opens up to him. As their bond strengthens, the children find the courage once again to feel the sun on their faces.

More information & screening here.

The Most Beautiful Corner in the World

| Short Joy | World Premiere

Director: Robert Mihály
Producer: Erika Paulinská (SK)
SK | 2022 | 25 min. | documentary

A reporter for a fictional television station, originally from Ukraine, travels around Slovakia and asks people at memorable places questions about the nature of fascism and the soul of the Slovak nation. The documentary essay seeks to capture the shape of a society on the fringes of the political spectrum through the words spoken and the images of crowd scenes.

More information & screening here.

Beyond Anachronism: Eons of the Binary (Film)

| Fascinations: Exprmntl.cz | World Premiere

Director: Claude Johann Čierny
Producer: Claude Johann Čierny (SK)
CZ, SK | 2023 | 3 min. | experimental

The eternal question of the digital age: how to rid analogue film of the traces of nostalgia? The answer here is a fast-paced stream of sharp photographs and blurred or disturbed shots of Prague's transport vehicles, anchored in the present by passengers holding mobile phones. The music for the film was created by Bratislava-based producer Sofia Nøt, and the film's co-writers include the generative realistic image creation system DALL-E 2.

More information & screening here.

Constant - an Homage to the Apartment

| First Lights | World Premiere

Director: Paula Ďurinová
Producer: Paula Ďurinová (SK)
SK, DE | 2023 | 16 min. | documentary

A tribute to grandparents and an apartment on the top floor of a Bratislava apartment block overlooking the Danube and Austria takes the form of an intimate dialogue. Between generations, past and present, East and West. In the same space, through family experiences and traumas, the author's identity was also formed.

More information & screening here.

dialogues

| First Lights | World Premiere

Director: Peter Podolský
Producers: Erika Paulinská (SK), Nataša Jurčová Findrová (SK)
SK | 2023 | 34 min. | documentary

Peter Podolsky's audiovisual diary is filmed in the spirit of its subtitle: “An attempt to return to childlike sensitivity.” With the immediacy of a child, the author explores the sounds, colours and textures of various corners of the more-than-human world. He captures the wonders of the natural landscape while attempting to establish a dialogue with it on 8mm and 16mm film.

More information & screening here.

Vale Tudo

| First Lights | World Premiere

Director: Tereza Smetanová
Producers: Erika Paulinská (SK), Tereza Smetanová (SK)
SK | 2023 | 37 min. | documentary

Lucia "Pretty Beast" Krajčovič is a 34-year-old professional MMA fighter and mother of two children. Shortly after giving birth, she is determined to become a champion in both disciplines - sport and motherhood. With a baby in her arms, she is preparing for her next fight. Under the immense pressure of her two identities, exhausted from lack of sleep, she wrestles with a question to which she had a clear answer not long ago. How to be both Pretty and Beast and for how much longer?

More information & screening here.

All Men Become Brothers

| Czech Television Documentaries

Director: Robert Kirchhoff
Producers: Robert Kirchhoff (SK), Jiří Konečný (CZ), Tibor Horváth (SK), Peter Dubecký (SK), Alena Müllerová
SK, CZ | 2023 | 116 min. | documentary

Lucia "Pretty Beast" Krajčovič is a 34-year-old professional MMA fighter and mother of two children. Shortly after giving birth, she is determined to become a champion in both disciplines - sport and motherhood. With a baby in her arms, she is preparing for her next fight. Under the immense pressure of her two identities, exhausted from lack of sleep, she wrestles with a question to which she had a clear answer not long ago. How to be both Pretty and Beast and for how much longer?

More information & screening here.

Industry Program

Ji.hlava New Visions ​Forum: Europe
600 Raids, dir. Kristína Leidenfrostová
If Pigeons Turned to Gold, dir. Pepa Lubojacki
Marathon, dir. Peter Kerekes

Ji.hlava New Visions Co-production Market
The Other One, dir. Marie-Magdalena Kochová
Beyond a Knit Cap, dir. Violette Deffontaines

Emerging Producers 2023
Matej Sotník (guča films)

The Riga International Film Festival's annual industry programme RIGA IFF FORUM took place from 19 to 21 October in various venues in Latvia’s capital. The programme included a co-financing platform for feature films and series projects from the Eastern and Central European region as well as in-depth feedback sessions for short film projects from the Baltics and Norway. The primary mission of RIGA IFF FORUM is to pave the way for new voices in the Baltic and Eastern European cinematic landscape. The festival's industry programme featured altogether 26 projects from both emerging and established filmmakers. 

During the RIGA IFF SHOWCASE – market for upcoming feature films and series from Eastern and Central Europe as well as Caucasus – a jury of international professionals evaluated 15 feature film and series projects in various development stages and determined the best project. The winner was awarded a cash prize of 5000 EUR provided by the festival's main partner Tet, one of the largest IT innovations and media companies in the Baltics. The jury – Inga Alika-Stroda, Lukas Trimonis, Katrin Kissa, Ahbra Perry and Lenka Tyrpáková – chose Europa as the winner. Produced by Radovan Síbrt (Pink Productions), Europa marks the first steps in narrative cinema by a seasoned Czech documentary filmmaker Jan Gebert.

The longest running and the most renowned section of the RIGA IFF FORUM – in depth feedback sessions for short film projects – SHORT RIGA Test Screenings took place for the eighth consecutive year. Experiencing an ever increasing interest from both well-known and upcoming filmmakers, SHORT RIGA Test Screenings featured 11 projects, chosen by Laurence Raymond, an internationally avowed curator, with previous experience in festivals such as Directors’ Fortnight short film programme at the Cannes Film Festival and the Québec City Film Festival. The international jury – Catherine Colas, Pascale Faure, Marie-Pauline Mollaret, Sydney Neter and Armands Začs – awarded a prize of post-production services worth 5000 EUR by BB Posthouse to Estonian animator Martinus Klemet’s short film Yummy, produced by Aurelia Aasa, AAA Creative, whilst the special mention went to Freeride by Edmunds Jansons, produced by Sabīne Andersone, Atom Art. 

In addition, this year RIGA IFF hosted the yearly EFA Short Film Network meeting, which gathered film festival representatives from all Europe. For the first time at RIGA IFF filmmakers were invited to MEET THE FESTIVALS in order to gain knowledge of what different festivals are looking for. Semaine de la Critique, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Fantoche International Animation Film festival were only some of the participants. All of the events mentioned above, were attended by a record number of people, rising the bar for the next festival editions.

The festival also welcomed professionals from the leading European funding bodies and broadcasters, such as Eurimages, ZDF and YLE respectively, during the panel cycle Stories that Cross Borders – Shaping of European Series Co-production. The festival was chosen as the host for these talks by the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia addressing the production environment and funding opportunities of the series in context of the newly launched Pilot Programme for Series Co-Production by the Council of Europe. 

Continuing the cooperation with Baltic Women in Film Mentorship program, the festival offered an opportunity for all interested festival attendees to take part in a lecture by Irma Pužauskaitė on the role of intimacy coordinators of film sets, which took place in a full house.

RIGA IFF’s main partner is the media and technology company Tet. The festival is supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation, the EU programme Creative Europe MEDIA, Riga City Council, the National Film Centre, BB Posthouse and CE MEDIA Desk Latvia.

OPEN CALL FOR PROJECTS AND WORKS IN PROGRESS

Talеnted filmmakers wanted!

21st Sofia Meetings is looking for 1st, 2nd or 3rd feature film projects, TV series in development and Works in Progress!

Requirements for feature film projects: 

  • Logline and Synopsis
  • Script or Treatment
  • Budget
  • Financing Plan
  • Director's Notes
  • Producer's Notes
  • CV of the director
  • CV of producer(s) and/or the production company
  • Links to previous films of the director

Requirements for TV series in development: 

  • 1-2-page Pitch of the project
  • Pilot Treatment or Script
  • Bible of the Series (Characters, World, Season Overview)
  • Dialogue Scene (script excerpt)
  • Financing Plan
  • Budget
  • Teaser/Visuals (where available)
  • CV writer(s)
  • CV producer(s)

All materials for film projects and TV series in development have to be sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than December 15th, 2023

Works in Progress requirements:

  • The film must be in a late stage of post-production or just completed.
  • The film must be over 60 minutes in length.

Required materials and information: 

  • Synopsis/annotation
  • Head info: Director/Producer/Creative departments
  • Running time
  • Country of origin
  • Stage of post-production
  • What are you looking for at the co-production market
  • Please send us the whole film/rough cut or up to 20 minutes excerpt.

Works in Progress have to be sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than January 15th, 2024

The 21st Sofia Meetings will take place from 20th till 24th of March 2024 in the framework of the 28th Sofia International Film Festival (13– 24 March 2024).

Sofia Meetings  is an event, supported by Creative Europe MEDIA sub-programme of the European Commission, EA Bulgarian National Film Center and Sofia  Municipality.

It has three separate modules:

Feature Films Pitching  – presentation of first, second and third feature fiction film projects of the director, looking for co-producers, sales and distribution.

TV Series Pitching - presentation of projects for TV series looking for co-producers. 

Works in Progress  – a showcase of films at different stages of post-production to festival programmers, sales agents, distributors, exhibitors and international press.

Sofia Meetings also presents Industry programme with various events - Instrustry Talks, Europa Distribution and Europa Cinemas WorkshopsVR/Transmedia Hub presenting immersive interactive experiences and key speakers, panels, presentations and many informal events. 

More than 700 industry executives – producers, distributors, representatives of the film markets, sales companies, film funds, TV buyers and other film professionals from different parts of the world, as well as representatives of the key film festivals and directors come together in Sofia to discover new projects and films. 

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