Press Release

Three-Country Film Award for "Jiyan" (Life) by Süheyla Schwenk - German Feature Film Wins Top Award at 17th Neisse Film Festival

Großhennersdorf/Ebersbach, 26 September 2020

It is Sunday tomorrow, and also the last day of the 17th Neisse Film Festival in the three-country-corner on the Neisse River. In the corona-induced special "Wild Edition" this year, the trinational film festival has presented approximately 60 films in three competition categories and further special-topic films, as well as an accompanying program of exhibitions, film discussions and concerts at 15 locations in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. The Neisse Fish awards created by Strahwalde's artist Andreas Kupfer were presented to the winners on Saturday evening at the Award Ceremony in the Filmtheater Ebersbach.

Michael Kretschmer, Minister-President of the state of Saxony and a patron of the Neisse Filmfestival, pointed out in his greeting that this festival is unique, one-of-a-kind. He goes on to say, "Here you find a program which has been created in close cooperation between Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany and takes up current societal topics in a special way. It is good that the challenges around the climate change and structural change are in focus this year. These topics have namely been pushed aside a bit during the pandemic, out of the center of focus in public debate. I appreciate it therfore very much, that the festival organizers have had the courage to develop a corona-conform concept so that the event can take place even in this year."

The "Three-Country Film Prize" of €10,000 for the best feature film, endowed by Saxon's Minister of Science, Culture and Tourism, went to the German submission "Jiyan" (Life) by Süheyla Schwenk. The jury, made up of German film director Philipp Eichholtz, Polish set designer Jagna Dobesz and the Czech director Václav Kadrnka have had to choose from between nine films, three each from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. "All the characters in "Jiyan" feel real, like real people," according to the jurors in their statement. They continue: "That makes this drama about two refugees in Berlin so heart-rending, captivating and sad. The film portrays the current humanitarian crisis via original, suggestive, courageous and uncompromising cinematics. It is a film that gives you something to think about long after the credits have run. Süheyla Schwenk and her team have created a small masterpiece. We wish a large audience for this masterpiece."

Süheyla Schwenk was also awarded the prize for the best production design in her work "Jiyan"; this award is sponsored by the city of Goerlitz. The deciding factor for this jury was, "... the masterful combination of realism with elements of the emotional production design; this combination is somehow magical while at the same time giving the impression of a documentary film."

The award for best acting, endowed by the city of Zittau, has been awarded to Milan Ondrík and František Beleš for their moving portrayal of father and son in "Nech je svetlo" (Let There Be Light) by Marko Škop (SK/CZ). The jury points out in particular the challenge faced in simultaneously presenting suspense and intimacy in crisis situations. This was accomplished extremely well by both actors. The Neisse Fish for best screenplay, sponsored by the District of Liberec, goes to the Czech-Slovak film "Vlastníci" (The Owners) by Jiří Havelka, who also wrote the screenplay. Last autumn this comedy, superbly cast and of intimate theater character, was a surprise success in Czech cinemas and has already been awarded the Český lev or Czech Lion, the Czech film prize, three times.

Best documentary film: "Sólo" by Artemio Benki (CZ/FR/AG/ATL)

"Sólo" by Artemio Benki has been awarded the prize for best documentary film, endowed with €5,000 by "So geht sächsisch.". The film is a universal and touching film protrayal of a charismatic protagonist whose inner conflicts are at war with his artistic calling. The jury – Ondřej Kamenický, director of the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival; film critic and programmer Ingrid Beerbaum and Adam Papliński of the platform "Pitch the Doc" – emphasize in their statement: "It is the simple, universal stories that move us the most. After a long period of social isolation in a psychiatric clinic, a talented young man and artist attempts to fight his way back into normal life. The director accompanies him in a sensitive way, without unnecessary pathos or sensationalism, in his fight to reintigrate himself in society and follow his creative obsession. With deep respect for its protagonist, the film strikes a ginger balance between close observation and human sympathy."

Honorable mentions in this category go to "Wieloryb z Lorino" (Whale from Lorino) by Maciej Cuske (PL) and "Zustand und Gelände" (Status and Terrain) by Ute Adamczewski (DE).

Best short film: "Dcera" (Daughter) by Daria Kashcheeva (CZ)

The prize for best short film goes to the Czech entry "Dcera" (Daughter) by Daria Kashcheeva. In this film, a young woman remembers an event from her childhood, when she found a dead bird. She sought comfort from her father in vain, he had no time for love and compassion... The decision on this award which has been endowed by the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz Student Council, was made by the Germanactor, musician and filmmaker Jürgen Heimüller, the Czech curator Jana Čížkovská and the Polish filmmaker Michał Hytroś, who won last year's short film prize on the Neisse. The jury on the film: "Contemporary computer animation has a very strong voice – not only in this year's film selection, but in European short film production in general. We have decided to reflect this fact in our decision and to award this prize to an animated film. In her film “Tochter”, Daria Kashcheeva takes us with her into a very special world. Raw paper maché figures in fragile, handmade settings tell the story of a touching conflict between father and daughter, a refreshing alternative to the childish, stylized, high-gloss pictures in American blockbuster cinema. With sophisticated camera work and playing intensively with blurred pictures, Kashcheeva breathes intimate life into the scenes, which takes us into the memories of a childhood full of uncomfortableness, misunderstandings and voicelessness. In particular voicelessness – in the entire film, not a word is spoken. Instead, the excellent sound design causes us to long ever so more intensively for a word of comfort. A film that does more than give wings to our imagination."

An honorable mention in the short-film category goes to Nawojka Wierzbowska for "Bajka na niespokojny sen" (Nighttime Story for Not-Peaceful Sleep).

The Saxon Film Union (Filmverband) has granted its Special Prize this year to the film project "Pan Müller - hier geblieben!" (Pan Müller - stay here!) by Patrick Weißig. The film looks at the life of Jan Müller, born 1936 in Georgswalde, today Jirikov (CZ), and who can bear witness first-hand to the changes in a region. The voting for the audience favorite will continue until Sunday evening this year in light of Corona-related restrictions. The audience favorites will then be notified and the Neisse Fish delivered to the winners.

The 18th Neisse Film Festival will take place from 18-23 May 2021.

All Prize-Winners at the 17th Neisse Film Festival

Three-Country Film Prize of Saxon's Minister of Art for the best feature film (endowed by the Saxon Ministry for Science, Culture and Tourism):

"Jiyan" (Life) by Süheyla Schwen (DE) - endowed with €10,000

Best acting (endowed by the City of Zittau):

Milan Ondrík and František Beleš for "Nech je svetlo" (Let There Be Light) by Marko Škop (SK/CZ) - endowed with €1,000

Best production design (endowed by the City of Goerlitz):

"Jiyan" (Life) by Süheyla Schwen (DE), production design: Süheyla Schwen - endowed with €3,000

Best screenplay (endowed by the District of Liberec):

"Vlastníci" (The Owners) by Jiří Havelka (CZ/SK), screenplay: Jiří Havelka - endowed with €1,000

Best documentary film (endowed by So geht sächsisch.):

"Sólo" by Artemio Benki (CZ/FR/AG/ATL) - endowed with €5,000

Honorable mention in the documentary film category: "Wieloryb z Lorino" (Whale from Lorino) by Maciej Cuske (PL) and "Zustand und Gelände" (Status and Terrain) by Ute Adamczewski (DE)

Best short film (endowed by the Student Council of the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz):

"Dcera" (Daughter) by Daria Kashcheeva (CZ) - endowed with €1,000

Honorable mention in the short film category: "Bajka na niespokojny sen" (Night-time Story for Not-Peaceful Dreams) by Nawojka Wierzbowska (PL)

Clips from all prize-winning films can be downloaded here:

Impressions from the award ceremony are available here:

The program of "Neisse Film Festival - Wild Edition 2020" is now online

Grosshennersdorf, Germany - 12 August 2020

From the 24th to the 27th of September 2020, the Neisse Film Festival is entering a very special 17th edition. Due to the continuing Corona pandemic, the festival dates had to be postponed from May to September. This shift brought some changes to the planned program as well, with fewer films and with screenings primarily in Germany. Even so, on four festival days, festivalgoers can look forward to approximately 60 feature films, documentaries and short films as well as a number of additional events such as exhibitions, discussions and concerts.

The 17th Neisse Film Festival will open on 24 September with the feature film "Bruno Manser - The Voice of the Rain Forest" (DE, 2019) from the special "Films for Future" focus. This will be shown simultaneously in German, Polish and Czech venues. In the main feature film competition category, as usual there will be nine current productions, three from each country (Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic). The winning film will be awarded the €10,000 "Three-Country Film Prize" of the Saxon Ministry of Culture. In the documentary film competition there are also nine films in the running. The prize in this category is €5,000 this year, endowed by the regional campaign in Saxony, "So geht sächsisch." The Neisse Film Festival short-film competition 2020 encompasses a wide variety of genres ranging from feature films to documentaries, some funny and some tragic and displaying a variety of artistic approaches. This competition has always aimed to offer a screen particularly to young up-and-coming filmmakers, so it is fitting that the majority of the short films are submitted by film students.

The "Films for Future" focus in the 17th Neisse Film Festival is a selection of films featuring global as well as regional topics such as exploitation of resources, environmental pollution, man-made climate and structural changes, the environmental activist movements of the GDR and the question of phasing out of brown coal use -- which is a highly-charged topic right here in Lusatia at the moment. Among the films in this selection are the documentaries "Anthropocene: The Human Epoch" (CA, 2018), "Sea of Shadows -- Der Kampf um das Kokain des Meeres" ("Sea of Shadows" -- AT, 2019) and "Die Schmerzen der Lausitz" ("The pain of the Lausitz" -- DE, 1990). An exhibition along these lines will be shown in the Zittau City Hall from 15 September: "Markus Mauthe -- to the Edges of the World", and another related event is a concert on 25 September in the Kühlhaus in Görlitz with the singer-songwriter Dota Kehr.

The films focusing on "Regionalia" in this year's Neisse Film Festival include the documentary "Gundermann Revier" ("Gundermann's Zone" -- DE 2019) by Grit Lemke. It will be shown on 27 September in the Filmtheater Ebersbach, along with an open stage for texts and songs by or about Gundermann -- anyone can sign up to participate until 20 September. Among the films in the childrens' film selection are "Zu weit weg" ("Too Far Away" - DE 2019) and "Hurvínek a kouzelné muzeum" ("Harvey and the Magic Museum" - CZ, 2017).

The closing awards ceremony will take place on 26 September at the Filmtheater Ebersbach. Neisse Fish Awards wil be presented for the best full-length feature film, documentary and short films and the audience favorites as well as for best performance, best screenplay and best production design. The ceremony will be followed by the annual Festival Party in the Kunstbauerkino Grosshennersdorf with DJ IPEK.

The complete program for the 17th Neisse Film Festival is available online at

New Date in September for the 17th Neisse Film Festival

Grosshennersdorf - 4 May 2020

Originally this year's Neisse Film Festival was scheduled to begin on the 12th of May in Zittau. A full program was lined up for the 17th festival with films and events throughout the three-country corner along the River Neisse. Due to the ongoing Corona Pandemic and the limitations placed on public life, however, the festival organisers at the Kunstbauerkino in Grosshennersdorf made the decision to cancel the festival plans for May 2020.

Film-lovers and cinema fans needn't forgo the festival completely in 2020, though. An abbreviated version of the festival is being planned for 24-27 September when, as long as the conditions are favorable, the film competitions for feature films, documentaries and short films will be held, the "Films for Future" shown and a number of other related events will take place. As usual, films will be shown in all three neighboring countries. Whether our audiences and featured film guests will be able to cross borders in September remains to be seen.

On May 14 and 15, during the originally-planned festival time period, the 10th Networking Conference of the Sorbian Film and Media Professionals will take place online. This conference is organized by the Foundation for the Sorbian People and the Saxon Film Association in cooperation with the Cottbus Film Festival and the Neisse Film Festival. For more information, see: Other activities are also being planned for between now and the festival in September.

Call for entries: Feature films, short films and documentaries for the 17th Neisse Film Festival 2020

Großhennersdorf, 01.09.2019

The Neisse Film Festival in the Czech-German-Polish border region is making its 17th appearance from 12-17 May 2020. The festival team from the Kunstbauerkino in the town of Grosshennersdorf is once again calling for competition entries in three categories: feature films, short films and documentaries. Competition films will line up for the nine Neisse-Fish trophies and approximately 21,000 Euros in prizes will be awarded. In addition to the best films in each category and the audience favorites, awards will be given for the best acting, the best screenplay, and the best picture. A special prize will also be given to a film - chosen among all the films shown at the festival - which is devoted especially to the understanding and relationship between the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland.

Films produced in 2019 and 2020, and produced or co-produced in at least one of the three neighboring countries (Czech Republic, Germany, Poland), are eligible for entry into the competition at the 17th Neisse Film Festival. The final date for all submissions is 31 December 2019. Films will be selected by mid-April 2020.

One festival -- Three countries! This makes the Neisse Film Festival unique and special - it crosses boundaries between genres, is trinational in character in light of both film selection and showing locations, with films shown in around twenty locations in the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland. An extensive number of related events such as readings, exhibitions, concerts and parties, also organized with partners in and from all three countries, round out the festival week. This festival has been offering young filmmakers from the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland a platform since 2004. In addition, each festival presents well-established films and directors from one country or the other to the tri-national audience, and each year films dealing with special topics are presented as well.

For more information, and the registration form, please visit Submissions can also be made via

Photo material of the 16. Neiße Filmfestival to download:


  • Accreditation for the Neisse Film Festival can be arranged online easily and is naturally free-of-charge for representatives of the media. For our planning purposes we kindly ask you to register by noon on May 11, 2020.
  • The 16th Neisse Film Festival is under the patronage of Michael Kretschmer, Ministerpräsident des Freistaates Sachsen, Martin Půta, Hauptmann der Region Liberec, und Rafał Gronicz, Bürgermeister von Zgorzelec. Das 16. Neiße Filmfestival wird gefördert durch und mit Mitteln von: Sächsischen Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst, Kulturraum Oberlausitz-Niederschlesien, Landkreis Görlitz - Wokrjes Zhorjelc, Sparkasse Oberlausitz-Niederschlesien, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Deutsch-Tschechischer Zukunftsfonds, Bundestiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur, Liberecký kraj.

    This festival is being financed in part by tax money as per the budget passed by the members of Saxony's state parliament.



The Neisse Film Festival Leadership Team

Pic. 1 (Andreas Friedrich, Ola Staszel, Antje Schadow)

(© Hannes Rönsch)

Pic. 2 (Antje Schadow, Andreas Friedrich, Ola Staszel)

(© Hannes Rönsch)

Ola Staszel


screen-s/w or print-col

(© Hannes Rönsch)

Antje Schadow


screen-s/w or print-col

(© Hannes Rönsch)

Andreas Friedrich


screen-s/w or print-col

(© Hannes Rönsch)

The 2019 NFF Team

Pic.  1

(© Hannes Rönsch)

The Neisse Fish 2019


(© Hannes Rönsch)


Open Air in Görlitz


(© Hannes Rönsch)


The Neisse Film Festival Poster

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The Neisse Film Festival Logo

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Further photo material is available via Dropbox for downloading.

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