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Award Winners of the 32. FilmFestival Cottbus


SAFE PLACE convinces at the 32nd FilmFestival Cottbus

Juraj Lerotić wins the main prize for the best film in the Feature Film Competition of the 32nd FilmFestival Cottbus. This means that the Croatian-Slovenian production SAFE PLACE is awarded the prize of 25,000 EUR. SAFE PLACE describes the desperate search for the right behavior after a family member has tried to commit suicide. The feature film debut convinces the International Festival Jury and wins the main prize "for the courage of a filmmaker not only to reveal himself as an author, but also to reveal his soul, in this film about unconditional love for those close to him." 

The main prize for the best feature film has been sponsored for now more than two decades by the Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten (GWFF), whose managing director Dr. Gertraude Müller-Ernstberger, who has supported the festival from the beginning, was recognized with the honorary Lubina during the award ceremony.

The Special Award for Best Director, endowed with 7,500 EUR, goes to Damian Kocur for BREAD AND SALT. It is the Polish director's feature film debut about small-town clique dynamics between partying, aggression and peer pressure. "The director gracefully stages the ordinariness and complexity of young people's lives in our shared world," the jury said, explaining its decision. 

Romanian actor Iulian Postelnicu is delighted to receive the EUR 5,000 prize for an outstanding individual performance. In MEN OF DEEDS he convinces the International Festival Jury, because "With him you think that the character exists in him and is not played." 

All three winners receive the prestigious glass prize sculpture Lubina in addition to the prize money.

LAST TIME by Rinaldas Tomaševičius wins the main prize in the Short Film Competition. The Lithuanian production tells the story about a drug-addicted couple expecting a child and desperately trying to raise money for withdrawal. Director Santtu Salminen wins the Special Award for his film PRIMAL THERAPY. The Finnish work about an exhausted businessman who discovers the animal in himself one noon in the forest convinces the short film jury.

LARRY wins the U18 Competition Youth Film. In the Hungarian production by Szilárd Bernath, a stuttering sheep herder suddenly becomes a viral rap sensation on YouTube. The jury chooses this film because "it taught us an important life lesson: Every weakness can be turned into an opportunity." LARRY also receives the award for Best Debut Film.

The Audience Award of the 32nd FFC goes to the film THE LAST RACE (CZ 2022) by Tomáš Hodan. For the first time, a film from the HITS section wins the Audience Award. 

"We are very happy after two festival years, which were under the impression of the Covid 19 pandemic, to have organized again a FilmFestival Cottbus and a co-production market connecting cottbus, which could tie in with earlier years," says Andreas Stein, managing director of the organizer pool production and adds: "Our audience and our filmmakers have provided a wonderful atmosphere, the festival has underlined its importance as a platform of intercultural dialogue, the people of Cottbus have turned their home for a week into the capital of Eastern European cinema. After all, it doesn't get much better than this in the wake of the war of aggression against Ukraine or the energy crisis." 
Bernd Buder, program director of the FilmFestival Cottbus: "In unfortunately far too eventful times, a festival comes to an end that had to face special challenges. With the program we have made an offer to talk together about these challenges and at the same time to get to know Eastern European cinema at its best. A cinema that is strong in reflection and in imagery."

The festival Sunday begins with the fairy tale film ZITTERINCHEN in the Stadthalle, followed by a children's festival. In total, there are still 32 films to see tomorrow. Audience favorite THE LAST RACE will also be shown tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. at the Kammerbühne. The screening of an award winner will be MEN OF DEEDS (RO 2022), whose leading actor Iulian Postelnicu won the award for an outstanding individual acting performance, tomorrow at 9 pm in the Cottbus Stadthalle. 


Feature Film Competition

Main Award for the Best Film - SAFE PLACE (Juraj Lerotić, HR/SI 2022)

The Main Prize, endowed with 25,000 EUR, is sponsored by the Society for the Administration of Film and Television Rights (GWFF). The International Festival Jury of the 32nd FFC consists of Sabine Gebetsroither (AT), Oana Giurgiu (RO), Kasem Hoxha (DE/AL) and Igor Soukmanov (BY).

Jury statement:
For the courage of a filmmaker to reveal himself not only as an author, but also to reveal his soul, in this film about unconditional love for those close to him. We award the main prize for the best film to Juraj Lerotic for SAFE PLACE.

Special Award for Best Director - BREAD AND SALT (PL 2022)

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

Jury statement:
The director gracefully stages the ordinariness and complexity of young people's lives in our shared world. The Special Award for Best Director goes to Damian Kocur for BREAD AND SALT.

Prize for an outstanding individual acting performance
- Iulian Postelnicu, MEN OF DEEDS (Paul Negoescu, RO 2022)

The prize for an outstanding individual performance is donated by Sparkasse Spree-Neiße and is endowed with 5,000 EUR.

Jury statement:
With him, you think that the character exists in him and is not played. The prize for an outstanding individual acting performance goes to Iulian Postelnicu from - Men of Deeds.

Competition Short Film

Main Award for the Best Short Film - LAST TIME (Rinaldas Tomaševičius, LT 2022).

The main prize for the best short film, endowed with 2,500 EUR, is donated by Druckzone from Cottbus. The jury of the Competition Short Film of the 32nd FFC consists of Peter Hoferica (SK), Eugen Kelemen (RO) and Beata Walendowska (PL).

Jury statement:
The main prize is awarded for an authentic portrayal of drug abuse that opens an original theme, namely trying to become a father and start a new life. Also, for the courageous directing style.

Special Award to a Director- PRIMAL THERAPY (Santtu Salminen, FI 2021).

The Special Award to a Director is donated by Tiede+ and is endowed with 1,500 EUR.

Jury statement:
For the wonderful irony and complexity of the story and the successful capture of comedy through acting and image.

Competition Youth Film

Award for the best youth film - LARRY (Szilárd Bernath, HU 2022)

The prize for the best youth film is endowed with 5,000 EUR and donated by the city of Cottbus. A Polish-Czech-German student jury selected the winner.

Jury statement:
It was a pleasure to participate in the festival as a jury, thank you for the opportunity to make this decision, even though it was not easy. The film we selected taught us an important life lesson: Every weakness you have can be turned into an opportunity. Congratulations to Mr. Bernath and his film Larry.

DIALOG Prize for Understanding between Cultures
1.500 EUR donated by Rotary Club Cottbus
BREAD AND SALT (Damian Kocur, PL 2022)
Jury: Irine Beridze (film and cultural scientist), Kornii Hrytsiuk (filmmaker), Cornelia Klauß (filmmaker/writer), Dr. Stefanie Kaygusuz-Schurmann (Head of Department Education&Integration of the City of Cottbus).

Jury statement:
With great enthusiasm we chose the film "Bread and Salt" by Damian Kocur. The film shows, as if under a burning glass, what happens when dialogue fails. The director negotiates "language" on many levels: Slang, the different connotations of words, transcultural communication, the unspoken. He also uses music as a dramaturgical resonance chamber, showing how it can connect and divide.

Prize for the best debut film
3.000 EUR donated by Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg and Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF
LARRY (Szilárd Bernath, HU 2022)
Jury: Prof. Dr. Sylvia Claus, BTU Department of Art History, Prof. Anna Lundqvist, BTU Department of Landscape Architecture, Dr. Miriam Friz Trzeciak, BTU: Chair of Interculturalism

Jury statement:
The choice was difficult given the diversity and quality of the films we were allowed to evaluate, and then easy given the radiance of the winning film. It is an extremely convincing coming-of-age film and at the same time a differentiated portrait of post-socialist society, in which, beyond all clichés, social exclusion and violence, but also friendship, human affection and the resulting strength and ability of the individual to act are shown. Lead actor Bennett Vilmany embodies a fragile masculinity and plays so convincingly that he creates the illusion of being Larry himself. The award for Best Debut Film goes to the film Larry by Szilard Bernath from Hungary.

from the | of the Féderation Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique 
MINSK (Boris Guts, EE 2022)
Jury: Tina Waldeck (film critic from Germany), Calin Boto (film critic from Romania), Colette de Castro (film critic from France).

Jury statement:
The film, which begins with a strikingly sweet relationship, offers a visceral experience that unfolds in real time. An inescapable choreography of horror that draws the viewer into this spectacle of brutality from which there is no way to hide. For this unsparing look at police violence in a puppet state - The International Critics Award goes to Minsk by Boris Guts.

Prize of the Ecumenical Jury 
donated by SIGNIS and INTERFILM
MINSK (Boris Guts, EE 2022)
Jury: Martin Horalek, Simone-Münch-Egli, Agnès Rovoyard, Gereon Terhorst

Jury statement:
Julia and Pasha are a young couple in love. They dream of starting a family in Minsk, where they live a normal life. Suddenly, everything changes when they find themselves in the middle of political protests. They are confronted with violence and torture by the police, and a sense of helplessness and how to fight "fairly" for their own existence and values. This one-shot movie delights its audience with its combination of plot and cinematic style and leaves no one untouched.

Audience Award 
3.000 EUR donated by Lausitzer Rundschau
THE LAST RACE (Tomáš Hodan, CZ 2022)
Jury: Audience of the Cottbus Film Festival

"Cottbus into the cinema" - prize for the promotion of the distribution of a festival film
10.000 EUR donated by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg
FOOLS (Tomasz Wasilewski, PL/DE 2022)

MIOB in Shorts Award
AMYGDALA (Maria Hatzakou, GR 2021) Crossing Europe - Film Festival Linz





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