Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida received the Skoda Film Prize for Best Film at Wiesbaden’s goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film, which ended with the awards ceremony on Tuesday evening (April 15).


Ida, which had taken the prize for Best Narrative Film a day before at the Sarasota Film Festival in the US, was released by Arsenal Film on 26 prints in German cinemas last Thursday (April 10) after opening goEast the previous evening.

The International Jury, headed by German-born producer Jan Harlan and including Russian actor Ivan Shvedoff, Ukrainian producer Dmytro Tiazhlov and Georgian film-maker Nana Ekvtimishvili and Hungarian film critic Ivan Forgacs, praised “a precise screenplay and the outstanding direction” of Pawlikowski’s Polish-language debut.

On announcing the winner, Harlan said that the whole jury was ¨agreed¨ and ¨elated¨ about giving the top honour to Pawlikowski’s film which includes a cash prize of € 10,000 for the producers.

Opus Film’s Ewa Puszczynska, the film’s Polish producer, flew back at short notice from this week’s Istanbul Meetings on the Bridge to be in Wiesbaden to accept the Skoda Film Prize on behalf of her producer colleagues.

Prizes for Blind Dates

The jury gave the prize for Best Direction to Georgian Levan Koguashvili for his tragicomedy Blind Dates, another big favourite on the festival circuit.

Koguashvili, who won the Best Film prize for his previous feature Street Days at goEast in 2010, could not attend the festival this year because he is at present shooting a TV series in Ukraine.

Blind Dates’ Ukrainian producer Olena Yershova was in Wiesbaden to accept the prize, while the film’s lead Andro Sakvarelidze picked up a Special Mention for fellow actor Vakhtang Chachanidze.

In addition, Achim Forst of broadcaster 3sat announced ahead of the closing ceremony that his channel has acquired the broadcast rights for Blind Dates to air in a year’s time.

The International Jury also gave a Special Mention to the Romanian production designer Cristian Nicolescu for his work on Quod Erat Demonstrandum by Andrei Gruzsniczki.

The Federal Foreign Office’s Award for “artistic originality which creates cultural diversity” went to Kazakh film-maker Serik Aprymov’s Little Brother, while the Documentary Award “Remembrance and Future” recognised Eszter Hajdú’s Judgment In Hungary about a two year-long trial against four right-wing extremists accused of killing six Roma.

The International Critics’ FIPRESCI Prize went to Estonian film-maker Veiko Ounpuu’s offbeat Free Range - Ballad On Approving Of The World  which is handled internationally by Level K.

Meanwhile, this year’s edition of goEast saw the Robert Bosch Stiftung awarding its Film Prize for International Cooperation between Germany and Eastern Europe for the eighth and final time at the festival.

Three projects - an animated, documentary and short fiction film by teams from Germany, Hungary Romania, and Bulgaria - were presented with cash prizes of up to €70,000 each.

Multi-platform release for Slovakian film

On goEast’s penultimate day, writer-director Zuzana Liová, whose 2011 film The House (Dom) screened at part of goEast’s Slovakian focus, spoke at a roundtable on Slovak Cinema about participating in the omnibus film Slovakia 2.0. (Twenty) which saw 10 Slovak directors each deliver a 10-minute short.

¨The producer Mátyás Prikler [of MPhilms] told us only one sentence - the subject is about the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Slovak Republic in 1993 - and that was all,¨ Liová said. ¨We had artistic freedom and were independent of one another. In fact, we didn’t know what the other directors were shooting.¨

The selection of directors was drawn from across the generations, the oldest being veteran film-maker Juraj Herz (born in 1934) and the youngest Miro Jelok (born in 1987), with others including Martin Sulik (The City Of The Sun), Peter Kerekes (Velvet Terrorists) and Iveta Grófová (Made In Ash), with fiction, documentary, experimental and animation featured among the 10 shorts.

The production by MPhilms with Filmpark production and Slovak Television RTS was released in 23 cinemas throughout Slovakia last Thursday (April 10) and broadcast on RTS on Sunday evening (April 13).

The omnibus film is already being sold as a DVD with additonal extras and a specially commissioned book via the Panta Rhei portal and could be accessed on the Piano VoD platform from Monday night (April 14).

¨The film gives both a picture of Slovak cinematography as well as of present society in our country,¨ Liová said.

Meanwhile, the Slovak Film Institute’s Alexandra Strelková revealed that the Slovak Audiovisual Fund’s (AVF) planned € 6m budget for 2014 is expected to be supplemented by a new support programme based on a 20% cash rebate of certified private expenses spent for film or TVproduction in the Slovak Republic.

Strelková explained that AVF was now awaiting the greenlight for its rebate from the European Commission in Brussels.

Bridget Jones’s Diary actress as Eleanor Roosevelt

UK actress Joan Blackham, who appeared in the 2001 film Bridget Jones’s Diary, has been cast as the US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in the Russian-Ukrainian co-production Battle For Sevastopol which is now shooting in Ukraine.

Directed by Sergey Mokritsky and produced by Natalya Mokritskaya and Egor Olesov, the historical drama centres on the life of Lyudmila Pavlichenko who killed over 300 Nazis during the Second World War as a highly decorated sniper.

Yulia Peresild has been cast as Pavlichenko, who enjoyed a 16-year friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt and inspired a song written by the legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie.

A first tranche of shooting was completed last December in Sevastopol, and the second block at locations in Kiev and Odessa will now continue until July.

The feature film - which will also be shown on TV as a four-part mini-series - will be released in May 2015 to coincide with the 70th anniversary celebrations of the end of the Second World War.

The € 3.5m production was backed by the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Culture and the Ukrainian State Film Agency, and pitched during last year’s industry programme at the Odessa International Film Festival.

Other Russian-Ukrainian co-productions (still) intending to shoot later in 2014 are Alexei German’s Under Electric Clouds, a winner of the Screen International Best Pitch Award at the Baltic Event in Tallinn, and Alexander Mindadze’s Russian-Ukrainian-German film Lovely Hans, Dear Peter.