With Romanian helmer Christian Mungiu winning the Palme d’Or in Cannes this year and the Serbo-Croatian drama “Grbavica” nabbing the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2006, Eastern European cinema has made waves on the fest circuit.
Nevertheless, pics from the former Soviet bloc continue to have little to no exposure in the West, as few manage to get distribution outside their country of origin. Hence, the Cottbus Film Festival, an hour’s drive from Berlin, was set up in 1991.
“The idea was to show films which used to be central to our culture but which had just vanished after the reunification of Germany because the cinemas were now only showing Western films,” explains Roland Rust, creative topper of the Cottbus fest.
This year, the fest will concentrate on pics that have recently come out of the former Yugoslavia.
The fest gives a distribution kudo awarded by a jury of German exhibitors. The winner receives $18,500 to support the release and subtitling costs for Germany-wide release.
Another industry event is a two-day co-development meeting called Connecting Cottbus, where each year 10 to 12 Eastern European filmmakers get to present their project in order to find a Western European (usually German) development partner.
Connecting Cottbus has been a success; pics that have come out of the event include Bohdan Slama’s “Wild Bees” and Serbian film noir “The Trap” by Srdjan Golubovic.
When: Nov. 6-10