goEast - Festival of Central and Eastern European Film

The goEast film festival, launched in 2001 after a two-and-a-half year preparatory phase, was founded by Claudia Dillmann, the Director of the German Film Institute – DIF. Likewise involved in developing the original festival concept was Swetlana Sikora, who has remained the festival’s Artist Director until 2010. “The time has come to open ourselves to the thoughts, images, myths and stories of our Eastern neighbours. To their culture. To their films,” wrote Claudia Dillmann in her foreword to the first festival catalogue.

goEast reactivated an earlier tradition of the DIF, which up to the 1980s had regularly compiled an “Eastern European Film Week” at the request of the German government. The programme went on tour in order to give West German audiences glimpses behind the Iron Curtain. The declared goals of the new festival were more ambitious: goEast aimed to initiate authentic cultural dialogue and exchange – with the festival promoting communication between filmmakers and filmgoers in general, with a Students’ Film Competition targeted specifically at communicative exchange between young directors from East and West, with a Symposium advancing the dialogue between historians and film scholars.

From the outset, the state capital Wiesbaden and the Hessian state government showed considerable interest in goEast, and underscored this engagement with substantial support. And it was in Wiesbaden, a city maintaining rich historical ties with Eastern Europe, that the festival found a home in the Caligari FilmBühne, one of Germany’s finest cinemas. Hilmar Hoffmann accepted the patronage of the festival, which very quickly established its profile within the festival landscape.

The City of Wiesbaden and the State of Hessen have remained the principal festival sponsors, while a range of further competent partners such as the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Foundation EVZ, ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland, the BHF-BANK Foundation, the Sparkassen-Kulturstiftung Hessen-Thüringen, the NASPA and the broadcaster 3Sat contribute to the festivals success.

In late summer 2010 Gaby Babic took over the post of Festival Director. After Claudia Dillmann, Christine Kopf and Nadja Rademacher she is the fourth front woman of goEast. For the first time Gaby Babic unites the positions of Festival and Artistic Director.

goEast now plays host to some 200 guests annually, among them such renowned directors and stars as Krzysztof Zanussi, Jiří Menzel, István Szabó , Hanna Schygulla, Béla Tarr, Jerzy Stuhr, Kira Muratova, Martin Šulik, Julia Jentsch, Otar Iosseliani, Maria Schrader, Joachim Król, Sergei Loznitsa, Bohdan Sláma, Cristi Puiu and many more. Deep in the West of the German Republic, therefore, spring is now the time when animated exchange breaks out with Eastern and Central Europe. Welcome to Wiesbaden!

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