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The Filmfestival Cottbus opens


The Prime-Minister of the State of Brandenburg and the festival patron, Matthias Platzeck, will open the 14th FilmFestival Cottbus – Festival of East European Cinema on November 2 in the Staatstheater Cottbus.

The opening programme consists of the world premiere of three films from the series entitled EUROPE’S OLD NEW FACES / VON DEN SOCKELN, a co-production by Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg and LOOKS as well as partners in the ten new EU member states and in cooperation with ARTE. The documentary series, which was made in 2004, analyses national monuments and myths and is the festival's contribution to the "Cultural Year of the TEN."

Almost 150 films from 28 countries will be shown by the festival up until November 6.
Apart from numerous films from the Czech Republic, whose recent filmmaking is the subject of this year's focus at the festival, other new works from Russia, Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states are also at the centre of the programme.

The feature film competition will have ten films screening from eight countries. The numerous premieres include the Croatian black-and-white film TA DIVNA SPLITSKA NOC (A Wonderful Night In Split) by Arsen Anton Ostojic and WREMJA SCHATWY (Harvest Time), the laconic-melancholic feature film debut by the well-known documentary filmmaker Marina Rasbeschkina (Russia). The neighbouring country of Poland is represented with two films: in SYMETRIA (Symmetry) Konrad Niewolski addresses his country's justice and penal system, while Wojtek Smarzowski delivers a polemical social portrait with WESELE (The Wedding). The Hungarian film KONTROLL (Control) by Antal Nimrod, which will open theatrically in Germany in January 2005, has already been a great success with its native audience. In the section of SPECIALS, the festival will also show as a German premiere the Russian film MOJ SWODNYJ BRAT FRANKENSCHTEJN (My Stepbrother Frankenstein) by Walerij Todorowski, which deals in a controversial manner with Russia's role in the Chechnya conflict as well as the unheroic war drama SWOJ (Us), for which Dimitrij Meschiew was awarded the Grand Prix at the Moscow Film Festival.

Among the numerous international guests the festival is expecting - apart from the OSCAR prize-winner Jan Sverák who has compiled a personal film selection for the FOCUS under the title of "THE VELVET GENERATION" - are Jan Hrebejk and Alice Nellis who will personally introduce their latest films.

The NATIONAL HITS section programmes popular films which often rank in the cinema charts of their native countries ahead of US blockbusters. There will be German premieres of three of the currently most successful films from Russia, Czech Republic and Hungary made by leading directors: the submarine drama 72 METRA (72 Metres) by Vladimir Chotinjenko, Jan Hrebejk's everyday portrait HOREM PADEM (Up and Down) as well as Tamas Sas teenager comedy APAM BEAJULNA.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Academy for Film & Television (HFF) "Konrad Wolf" Potsdam-Babelsberg, a retrospectove is being dedicated to the oldest film academy in Germany. With the support of the DEFA Foundation, the festival has selected rarities from the extensive archive. The focus of the selection is on seldom shown films from before 1989 (including films by Rainer Bär, Gabriele Denecke, Heike Misselwitz, Evelyn Schmidt and Sibylle Schönemann), while works from the 1990s (including films by Istvan Imrath, Stanislaw Mucha and Bartosz Werner) reflect the increased opening up of the HFF to Eastern Europe.

Festival director Roland Rust says about this year's programme: "The cinema of Eastern Europe is closer than ever to the real life of its audience. With courage to speak the truth, the filmmakers seismographically trace the moods in social change, become the advocate for the longings and desires of small people and transmit sustainable signals to the new centre of Europe."

The public FILMTALKS (daily from 22.00), presented by Radio Eins film critic Knut Elstermann, will kick off on 3.11. with a special guest: Jan Sverák will describe in a discussion with the public how he made the selection of his personal "Top 10" for the FOCUS programme.

The Filmfestival Cottbus and its First Partner Vattenfall Europe Mining & Generation will host the "Moving Europe" reception on 3.11.2004 at 20.00 - as part of the "CULTURAL YEAR OF THE TEN", an initiative for the entry of the 10 new member states to the European Union.

On November 6, the prizes - whose overall amount could be increased this year to a total value of € 35,750 - will be awarded at the festival centre in the Cottbus Stadthalle as part of the closing ceremony. Center in Prague.

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