Cottbus festival, market enjoy growing relevance

17th edition to focus on Yugo states

Film from the countries of the former Yugoslavia will be center stage at the Cottbus Festival of East European Film this year, organizers said Monday.

Under the banner "After YU," November's 17th edition of the festival, held in the town southeast of Berlin, will focus on films from the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, festival director Roland Rust said.

Founded in 1991 as a forum for maintaining the regional film links severed by the end of the Cold War, Cottbus today has a tight industry focus and a growing reputation as a springboard for talent from the region.

Film projects pitched at the festival's affiliated industry event, Connecting Cottbus, have enjoyed high success rates in finding producers. Serbian director Srdjan Golubovic's "The Trap" (Klopka) found its German and Hungarian co-producers at a Cottbus pitching session three years ago, Rust said.

The strong selection, quality of material selected for pitching — and the fact that projects need only be at draft stage — has attracted interest from producers and state-funded film boards keen to find properties suitable for developing as pan-European co-productions, Rust added.

"It's a very important place; perhaps the most important place for people from Eastern Europe because the people coming to Cottbus are directly focused on the region," Golubovic said.