Guka Omarova's feature debut Schizo(Schiza) picked up the Main Prize for Best Film at this year's FilmFestivalCottbus - Festival of East European Cinema (November 2-6).
TheRussian-Kazakh-French-German co-production, which was previously awarded prizesat festivals in Sochi, Copenhagen and Haifa, also won the InternationalFederation of Film Societies' Don Quixote Prize. (For Schizo review, click onlink below.)
Omarova could not make it toCottbus, so Russian director Andrei Zvigantsev (The Return) accepted the twoprizes on behalf of Omarova.
This year saw theInternational Jury for the feature film competition giving its Special Prizefor Best Director to Estonia's Sulev Keedus for Somnabulance (Somnambuul), while the SpecialPrize for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution went to the cinematographerMirko Pivcevic for his atmospheric camerawork on Croatian director ArsenOstojic's A Wonderful Night In Split (Ta Divna Splitska Noc), and a SpecialMention was made of Wojtek Smarzovski's The Wedding (Wesele).
Meanwhile, the HungarianOscar entry Nimrod Antal's Control (Kontroll) continued its internationaltrail of success by scooping up no less than four awards: the FIPRESCI Prize,the Ecumenical Jury Prize, the Audience Award and the Cottbus Student Jury'saward for Best Debut Film.
Attendance at the five-dayfestival, which presented 150 films from 28 countries and closed on Saturdayevening with a selection of films from the Visions Of Europe omnibus, climbedfrom 2003's 13,900 to 14,800 this year.
Festival director Roland Rust revealed that Cottbus' Focus in 2005's15th jubilee year will be dedicated to Hungary after this year's showcase ofcontemporary Czech cinema. "Like no other cinema of Eastern Europe,Hungarian cinema is characterised by creativity and artistic innovation,"Rust noted.