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Three-Country-Film Prize for "Služobníci" (The Servants) by Ivan Ostrochovský - Czech-Slovak feature film wins main prize at the 18th Neisse Film Festival

Grosshennersdorf/Ebersbach - September 18, 2021

On Sunday, the 18th Neisse Film Festival in the three-country-corner on the Neisse river will draw to ta close. This year the trinational film festival has presented, because of Corona with new dates, approximately 60 films in three competitions and various thematic groupings as well as additional events such as exhibitions and film discussions at over 20 locations in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. The Neisse Fish, the prize sculptures created by artist Andreas Kupfer from Strahwalde, were awarded at the prize ceremony at the Ebersbach Cinema on Saturday evening.

The "Three-Country Film Prize", endowed with 10,000 by the Saxon Minister of Culture for the best full-length feature film and funded by the Saxon Ministry for Science, Culture and Tourism (SMWK), has been awarded to the Czech-Slovak contribution, "Služobníci" (the Servants) by Ivan Ostrochowský. The jury, with the German film director Susanne Heinrich, the Czech producer and programmer Daniel Vadocký and the Polish director and screenplay writer Łukasz Grzegorzek had to decide between 9 films, three each from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.. "Služobníci" (the Servants) tells a universal story about friendship, resistance and betrayal in a sparing, taciturn way. "Every single frame of this film is exciting. A group of seminary students walking swiftly, arms flailing, down a sloping street toward us. The quadrangle of an inner courtyard from above, through which the students whirl, playing soccer, so that their black cassocks form fleeting patterns. A slow pan down from the ceiling to one of them jumping trampolines in his room. With these striking images, "Servants" tells the story of two friends in totalitarian Czechoslovakia who arrive as priesthood candidates at the theological faculty, which is under surveillance by state security for political machinations. It is a universalist story of friendship, resistance, betrayal; told sparingly and elliptically. The astute editing, the carefully chosen visual arrangements, the tastefully minimalist set and amateur actors with impressively naturalistic acting tell it vividly and yet pleasantly distanced. But most of all, this film is a reminder of what cinema is: an arrangement of light and shadow and movement in time. Wonderful!," the jurors write in their decision statement.

The prize sponsored by the city of Zittau for the best acting performance went to Sara Fazilat in her performance in the film "Nico" by Eline Gehring (DE). The film tells the story of the rebirth of a young carefree, slightly frightened girl into a vigilant woman full of inner aggression. The director managed to achieve great control over the main character, played by Sara Fazilat, and her balance between distinctly emotional tones. Thanks to the constant visibility of the main protagonist, emotional transparency is also present, so as viewers we see not only what is happening outside, but also inside the main character, which is very crucial for the overall tone of the film.“, the jury pointed out.

Vladimír Hruška was honored for his work on "Havel" (CZ) by Slávek Horák with the prize sponsored by the city of Görlitz for the best production design. According to the jury member, "The film is excellently built in terms of craftsmanship. It depicts in a very believable way twenty years of communism - both its lustful abundance and exuberance of the richest and the most powerful, insufficiency and poverty of the poorest. Excellently arranged scenes and the right placement of seemingly random objects, which in some places add a very sensual charge to the individual scenes helps to achieve the accuracy of the depicted period."

The Neisse Fish for the best screenplay, sponsored by the Region of Libreec, went to Lars Hubrich and director Marcus Lenz for the German film "Rivale" (Rivals). The jury thus honored „… a bold-written film about a boy from torn-by-war Ukraine who must adapt and finds his new place within the unexpected circumstances in Germany. Authors are taking a risk in building an intricate universe where the boy can act as a fighter and not just be another victim. His story, intertwined with the stories of his mother and her lover, provides not only immersing intrigues but also a very interesting portrait of a courageous boy which shows lights and shadows of an addictive love.“
 

Best Documentary Film: "Zwyczajny kraj" (Normal Country) by Tomasz Wolski

The Polish contribution, "Zwyczajny kraj" (Normal Country) by Tomasz Wolski, received the Best Documentary Film award sponsored by "So geht sächsisch" and endowed with 5,000 Euros. The jury, with the three documentary filmmakers Yulia Lokshina (DE), Tomáš Elšík (CZ) and Michal Bielawski (PL) point out in their statement: "In his film Tomasz Wolski invites us to enter a world of the ordinary in a metamorphosis. Carefully recreated from materials recorded by polish secret police, the film helps us to settle in an environment of danger and precaution. Most of the scenes are far from spectacular, they depict daily routines and movements, scraps of telephone conversations, ordinary people on streets, in parks and bars. Some cars are followed, some rooms are searched in order to train next generations of agents. Through the material of “no importance” the director speaks about the most violent aspect of political oppression within an authoritarian regime.“
 

Best short film: „Jsme si o smrt blíž“ (We are One Death Closer) by Bára Anna Stejskalová

The prize for the best short film goes to the Czech contribution, „Jsme si o smrt blíž“ (We are One Death Closer) by Bára Anna Stejskalová about a small parasite in the cadaver of a dog, and its life/survival on a trash dump. The prize, financed by the Student Council of the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz, has been decided upon by the German festival organiser and programmer Anne Gaschütz, the Czech curator Radka Weiserová and the Polish screen play author and director Bartek Kędzierski. In their statement, the jury writes: "Finding a great story is just a first step. After that, as a filmmaker you have to choose the proper language to tell the story to the viewers. And the best language is the most common. The most common, which means - wordless. „Love is just a death away” is something unique. The universal love story, the most common (wordless) language, the old-school stop-motion technology, a cute protagonist, nasty bad-guys, beautiful set design, and… remote-controlled zombies! We love them all!"

Honorable mention in the short film competition goes to "Top Down Memory" by Daniel Theiler (DE).

The Filmverband Sachsen's "Special" prize this year is going to the documentary film "Grenzland" ("Borderland") by Andreas Voigt. The film looks at Jan Müller's life story; born in Georgswalde, today Jirikov, in 1936, he bears witness first-hand to the changes of a region. Voigt visited the German-Polish border in 1991. About 30 years later he travels to the region again, seeking and finding contacts on both sides of the Oder and the Neisse. The topics are work, homeland, and love. His observations look like stories from "the margin" - yet come from the center of Europe. Voigt meets people, their history and their landscape. In the north the Szczecin Lagoon, in the south Lower Silesia - the place where, in the three-country-corner Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic meet.

The Neisse Film Festival has awarded its honarary award to the Czech film director and screenplay author Helena Třeštíková, and with her the first time on a documentary filmmaker.

Because of the shortened program days, this year voting for the audience favorite will continue through the festival Sunday. The audience favorites will be informed after-the-fact and will be sent their Neisse Fish via courier.

The 19th Neisse Film Festival will take place from 17-22 May 2022.

Up-to-date information and impressions can be found online at: www.neissefilmfestival.net
 

Scenes for all award-winning films are available for download here:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/c98xj5ularvb8xj/AADLPaRVp8i3HyBxW0qZPW5Pa?dl=0  

Impressions of the Awards Ceremony can be found here via dropbox:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/p9d70z5vjwsthm0/AAC0DUONEpJBPNhDnOCcIl9ha?dl=0

 

The prizewinners of the 18th Neisse Film Festival at a glance:

Three-Country Film Prize of the Saxon Minister of the Arts for the best feature film
(sponsored by the Saxon Ministry for Science, Culture and Tourism)
"Služobníci" (The Servants) by Ivan Ostrochovský (CZ/SK)
endowed with 10,000 Euros

Best Acting (sponsored by the city of Zittau)
Sara Fazilat for "Nico" by Eline Gehring (DE)
endowed with 1,000 Euros

Best Production Design (sponsored by the city of Görlitz)
Vladimír Hruška for "Havel" (CZ) by Slávek Horák
endowed with 3,000 Euros

Best Screenplay (sponsored by the region of Liberec )
Lars Hubrich and Marcus Lenz for "Rivale" (Rivals) (DE) by Marcus Lenz
endowed with 1,000 Euros

Best Documentary Film (sponsored by "So geht sächsisch.")
"Zwyczajny kraj" (Normal Country) by Tomasz Wolski (PL)
endowed with 5,000 Euros

Best Short Film (sponsored by the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz Student Council)
"Jsme si o smrt blíž" (We are One Death Closer) by Bára Anna Stejskalová (CZ)
endowed with 1,000 Euros

Special Prize sponsored by the Saxon Filmverband
"Grenzland" (Borderland) by Andreas Voigt (DE)
endowed with 1,000 Euros

Honorary Award of the Neisse Film Festival
Helena Třeštíková (CZ)

 

18th Neisse Film Festival in the Three-Country region on the Neisse

Großhennersdorf, September 6, 2021

The Neisse Film Festival is entering its 18th edition, from September 16-19. Due to the ongoing Corona pandemic the dates of the festival once again had to be moved from May to September. The audiences in the three-country region on the Neisse can look forward to four festival days with over 60 full-length, documentary and short films in three competition categories and accompanying films as well as a varied array of other program events.

The 18th Neisse Film Festival will be kicked off on September 16th with a film which fits very well into the special focus area of this year's festival, "Je suis Karl" ("I am Karl", DE/CZ, 2020) by Christian Schwochow, which can be viewed at the same time in three German cinemas. In the main competition of the festival, three productions each from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic vie for the award of best full-length film. These films tell, for example, stories of young people's lives and surroundings and about growing up. The winning entry will receive the "Three-Country Film Award" worth €10,000 from the Saxon Minister of Culture. In the competition for the best documentary there are also a total of nine productions competing, all of which take a critical look at the relationship between generations or between humans and nature. This award is worth €5,000 and is donated by the regional campaign "So geht sächsisch". The 2021 short film competition at the Neisse Film Festival, which the university's Student Council is financing with €1,000; this competition once again spans a large artistic range with standard films and documentaries as well as animated films looking at humans in unusual situations in a diverse manner.

"Mother Europe" -- with this title, the 18th Neisse Film Festival is turning its focus to that which connects Europeans -- to the roots of the European idea, to what makes Europe what it is today and to what a future of Europe could look like. Since its inception, the film festival on the Neisse has stood, in its trinationality, for an open, socially-just and tolerant Europe. Stark differences in standards of living, deficits in democracy and nationalistic ways of thinking challenge this vision, however, and endanger freedoms we have long taken for granted. With this year's Special Focus, the festival would like to address this discussion and contribute to the social debate from the center of Europe. One highlight on this topic will be a reading with Navid Kermani on September 27 in the Gerhart Hauptmann Theater in Zittau.

Alongside this focus, the "Regionalia" rubric brings current works of regional filmmakers addressing life at the borders and Sorbian film. In addition, film classics such as "My Fair Lady" (1964) or "Spartacus" (1960) which will be shown in 35mm and 70mm format respectively, the German-Czech-Slovak children's film "Summer Rebellion" (2020) as well as arthouse movie highlights from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic will be playing. And a retrospective will show two films by the awardee of this year's Honorary Prize, the Czech documentary film director and screenwriter Helena Třeštíková.

On September 18th the official awards ceremony will take place in the Ebersbach Film Theatre. Neisse Fish prizes will be awarded for the best feature, documentary and short films as well as awards for best acting, best screenplay and best production design. The Saxon Film Association (Filmverband Sachsen) is also giving a special prize for one film, selected out of the entirety of the festival programme, which focuses on understanding in the "neighborhood" between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.

You will find the complete programme and current information about the Neisse Film Festival online under www.neissefilmfestival.net.

Europe Lived in the Tri-Country Region on the Neisse River

The Neisse Film Festival has been presenting current feature films, documentaries and short films each May in the three-country-region including Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic since 2004. What began with the idea of showing films in three countries has developed into a cultural "bridge" for film fans and arthouse cinemas from these neighbour countries, and has become an important meeting point for national and international film-makers and representatives of the film business. The program, drawing from all three countries and more, traditionally offers three competitions and various thematic film series, which give a glimpse into interrelationships of various sorts between the peoples of eastern Europe and their cinematic treatment of the past and present, and also presents events such as concerts, readings, exhibitions and parties.

Current press photos and impressions of the 18th Neisse Film Festival are available for download here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jr47wkbcq55qckc/AAAPUj-HNgqk3n1xjpLeKzaSa?dl=0

 

Neisse Film Festival is showing program preview online

Großhennersdorf - 18 May 2021

Today, Tuesday 18 May, the 18th Neisse Film Festival was to open in Zittau. Due to the current Corona situation the festival dates had to be postponed again in 2021. The selected films and part of the accompanying program of this year's festival are now scheduled for 16-19 September in the three-country region on the Neisse River. Among other things, you will be able to see the competition entries for full-length, documentary and short films as well as the special focus series entitled "Mother Europe". The festival program can already be discovered online - without exact playing times and places at this point, however.

In the main festival competition, for the best feature film, the line-up includes three films each from the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland. These films portray, among other things, stories of young people's living situations and tell about growing up. The winning entry will be awarded the €10,000 "Three-Country Film Award" of the Saxon Minister of Culture. Nine films are also competing in the competition for the best documentary film, films which critically tackle the relationship between generations or between humans and nature. This award comes with €5,000 and is sponsored by the Saxon area campaign "So geht sächsisch." The short-film competition at the Neisse Film Festival encompasses in 2021 once again a broad artistic spectrum with dramas, documentaries and animated films which enage in a variety of ways with people in exceptional circumstances.

With "Mother Europe," the 18th Neisse Film Festival is turning its focus onto what connects Europeans -- onto the roots of the European idea, what makes Europe what it is today, and what a future of Europe could look like. In its tri-nationality, from its very beginning the film festival on the Neisse has stood for an open, socially-just and tolerant Europe. Gaps in wealth, deficits in democracy, and nationalistic thought patterns, however, challenge this vision and jeopardize freedoms that have long been taken for granted. This discussion is one that the NFF would like to approach with its special focus series this year, thus making a contribution, from the middle of Europe, to the societal discourse currently happening.

Another film series, "Regionalia," brings current films by regional filmmakers to the program. On the four festival days a children's film will be shown, as well as cinematic highlights from the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland. And a retrospective special with two films is dedicated to the honorary award winner of this year's festival, Czech film director and screenplay-writer Helena Třeštíková. The event program will be topped off by exhibitions, concerts, and a reading with Navid Kermani.

In spite of the postponement, individual events which were originally planned for the Neisse Film Festival will be taking place in May already. The exhibition "Europe in Pictures", from the focus series of the festival, can be seen until 25 May in the exhibition area of the Sparkasse Oberlausitz-Niederschlesien in Zittau. On Wednesday 19 May, at 7pm, a podium discussion on the history and future of the Sorbian-German Film Network entitled "5 Years of Łužycafilm - Prequel & Sequel" will be broadcast per livestream from Bautzen's Steinhaus. Then on 21 and 22 May is the 12th Network Meeting of the Sorbian-German Film and Media Creators, which the Foundation for the Sorbian Folk and the Saxon Film Association organize in cooperation with the Filmfestival Cottbus and the Neisse Film Festival, also online. More information on this meeting is available at www.luzyca-film.de.

You will find the complete program and most current news on the Neisse Film Festival online at www.neissefilmfestival.net.

 

The Neisse Film Festival is postponing its program to September

Grosshennersdorf - 29 April 2021

On the 18th of May, the 18th Neisse Film Festival was to begin in the Three-Country-Corner on the Neisse River. Due to the current Corona situation, however, the Festival will not be able to take place as planned. The films which have been selected and a portion of the accompanying program will now be shown or take place from 16-19 September.

"The organisation of the Neisse Film Festival with more than 20 venues in three countries is a challenge even under normal circumstances," explains Ola Staszel of the three-person festival leadership team. "In light of the ongoing pandemic, closed cinemas and an unpredictable development in the coming weeks," she continues, "a solid preparation and certain - and safe - film screenings and events is at the moment not possible, not even in the originally-planned alternatives such as open-air events. For these reasons we and our partners and sponsors have decided to postpone this year's festival program to a later date, in September."

The Neisse Film Festival has been presenting current feature films, documentaries and short films each May in the three-country-region including Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. What began with the idea of showing films in three countries has developed into a cultural "bridge" for film fans and arthouse cinemas from these neighbour countries, and has become an important meeting point for national and international film-makers and representatives of the film business. The program, drawing from all three countries and more, traditionally offers three competitions and various thematic film series, which in particular give a glimpse into interrelationships of various sorts between the peoples of eastern Europe and their cinematic treatment of the past and present, and also presents events such as concerts, readings, exhibitions and parties.

On 18 May, the original opening day of the festival, the festival organizers will announce the exact program which you can expect in September. Current information is available online at www.neissefilmfestival.net.


  • 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 September 6, 2021.
     
  • This year's patrons for the 18th Neisse Film Festival are Michael Kretschmer, Saxon Minister-President; Martin Půta, Head of the Liberec Region; und Rafał Gronicz, Mayor of Zgorzelec. The 18th Neisse Film Festival is sponsored and funded by: the Saxon State Ministry for Science, Culture and Tourism (SMWK), the Upper Lusatian-Lower Silesian Cultural Area (Kulturraum Oberlausitz-Niederschlesien), the Görlitz administrative region (Landkreis Görlitz - Wokrjes Zhorjelc), the Sparkasse Oberlausitz-Niederschlesien, Central-German Media Funding (Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung), the Saxon Cultural Foundation (Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen), the German-Czech Future Fund (Deutsch-Tschechischer Zukunftsfond) and the region of Liberec (Liberecký kraj). The festival is co-financed using tax monies on the basis of the fiscal budget as passed by the members of the Saxon Parliament (Landtag).

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Photos

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

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(© Hannes Rönsch)

 

Open Air in Görlitz

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(© Hannes Rönsch)

Graphics

The Neisse Film Festival Poster

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(© KunstBauerKino e.V.)

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The Neisse Film Festival Logo

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Every other usage is to be cleared with the NFF team.

     

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(© KunstBauerKino e.V.)


Further photo material is available via Dropbox for downloading.

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