Eastern European Movie Showcase Cottbus Appoints New Artistic Director

Bernd Buder

Cottbus Film Festival chief Roland Rust has stepped down for health reasons.

One of the world's leading Eastern European film festivals, Germany's Cottbus Festival, which since 1991 has showcased and promoted talent from Russia, Poland, Germany and other former "Iron Curtain" countries, has appointed a new artistic director.

Bernd Buder, the festival's program director who has also headed its co-production market Connecting Cottbus, is taking over from longtime festival chief Roland Rust, who has stepped down for health reasons.

Buder's first festival will be this year's 25th anniversary edition in November.

Buder, appointed for a five-year term, is a political science graduate who has worked as a film journalist and curator for a number of festivals.

An expert on eastern European films with a career going back 20 years, Buder headed Connecting Cottbus from 2011 to 2014. The event has been a platform for launching successful movies including this year's Berlinale Silver Bear award-winning Russian film Under Electric Clouds, directed by Alexey German Jr., which was pitched at the event in 2010. This week a Russian distributor said it would release the film theatrically.

"With its unique profile, the festival has established itself internationally, nationally and regionally and offers an artistic and economic showcase for Eastern Europe’s diverse cinema, which is always good for surprises," Buder said in a statement. "I am looking forward not only to cinematic encounters but also to promoting an intercultural and cross-national dialogue that is currently more vital than ever."

Last year, a total of 165 films from 39 countries were shown over the festival's six days, attracting more than 20,000 visitors. The festival's 25th edition runs from Nov. 3-8.