JanCvitkovic's Gravehopping was named best film at this year's Cottbus Festival of East European Cinema.
TheSlovenian-Croatian co-production, which was also awarded the New DirectorsAward at this year's San Sebastian Film Festival and opened the LjubljanaInternational Film Festival last week, also received the Prize of theEcumenical Jury.
Thisyear's International Jury Special Prize went to Romania's RuxandraZenide for her debut Ryna, while the Special Prize for an OutstandingArtistic Contribution went to the Russian director-producer Alexei Fedorchenkofor his "mockumentary" First People On The Moon. Special mention was made of Kornel Mundruczo's Johanna.
BohdanSlama's Something Like Happiness, the Golden Shell winner in SanSebastian, was surprisingly passed over by the International Jury, but pleasedfilm critics and audiences alike, receiving both the FIPRESCI Prize and theAudience Award.
Otherprizes included the Don Quixote Prize for Petr Zelenka's Wrong Side Up(Czech Republic), the Dialogue Prize for Intercultural Communication toRadoslav Spassov's Stolen Eyes (Bulgaria), and the Cottbus StudentJury's award for Best Debut Film to First People On The Moon.
Attendanceat the five-day festival, which presented more than 100 films from 29 countriesand closed on Saturday evening with International Jury member Andreas Dresen'snew film Summer In Berlin, broke previous records with a 10% increaseover 2004 to more than 16,000 admissions.
Looking back on the 15th jubilee edition, festivaldirector Roland Rust commented that "one trend was significant. The EastEuropean cinema was never as close as now to everyday life. The young directorshave arrived in reality."
Rustrevealed that, after this year's Focus dedicated to Hungarian cinema, thefestival's 2006 Focus will spotlight the cinematographies of Bulgaria andRomania ahead of the two countriesjoining the European Union in 2007.