Eastern Neighbours Film Festival

Eastern Neighbours Film Festival

Nov 04, 2020Nov 15, 2020
The Hague

Eastern Neighbours Film Festival presents the best recent films from Eastern and Southeastern Europe, from countries with a small but often powerful cinema production industry. 

Feature films and documentaries from 15 Eastern European countries

The festival brings current fiction feature films as well as meaningful documentaries from around 15 countries. The festival presents mostly Dutch premieres and introduces new talents and remarkable cinematic voices that deal with relevant topics in an exciting and thought-provoking manner.

The 12th edition of ENFF is going to be held online from November 4-15, 2020 via the Picl platform. Each year the film programme is accompanied by several side events, so this year there will also be several debates and masterclasses online and on-site in cinemas around the Netherlands. 

Highlights at ENFF 2020

Each film will be introduced either by an eminent public personality from the Netherlands or by a film director, actor or producer. Most of the films will be followed by a 10-minute "Question and Answers" session after the film.

From the Baltic states to the Balkans with humour and charm, these films bring extraordinary stories of ordinary people:

Women's Power 

Here are films exploring women's power:

Mare, Andrea Staka, Croatia / Switzerland 

A female-gaze family drama on mundane everyday routine, mid-life crisis dilemmas and sexual desire. With impressive performances by Goran Navojec and Marija Škaričić who won the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Actress.

Aga’s House, Lendita Zeqiraj, Kosovo 

Lendita Zeqiraj, a strong voice from Kosovo, whose short film Balcony was premiered in Venice, is coming back to ENFF with her compelling feature-length debut. Political, yet playful, charming and somewhat humorous, it focuses on life of five women in post-war Kosovo where many men were killed and families destroyed. A festival circuit sweetheart and beautiful coming of age story, praised by Variety magazine as ‘a punchy uncompromising drama’.

The Son, Ines Tanović, Bosnia

In her second feature, an award-winning Bosnian director Ines Tanović follows a family that is broken by internal tensions while trying to survive in transitioning society. 

Zana, Antoneta Kastrati, Kosovo

Torn between the demands of the patriarchal family to become a mother and the traumas of the recent war, a Kosovar woman is sliding into the whirlpool of nightmares while trying to find a way out. 

Documentary: If Only Dreams Came True, Višnja Skorin, Croatia

Winner of the Audience Award at a Croatian documentary festival, this charming and somewhat humorous film features an appealing main character who poses interesting questions as to the values of life.

Documentary: Golden Girl, Denisa Morariu-Tamas, Romania

A Romanian sports celebrity won at the Olympics in 2000. But her gold medal was outrageously taken away. The film explores this top-level sports scandal as well as the dramatic life of young female gymnasts in Romania. 

Photo: Invisible Child Eastern Neighbours Film Festival ENFF 2020

Cinema as cultural memory

Below are the films on the theme of cinema as cultural memory:  

The Diary of Diana B., Dana Budisavljević, Croatia / Serbia / Slovenia

Winner of four Golden Arenas at the main national festival in Pula. The main heroine of this Croatian Schindler’s list is Diana B., who led one of the largest children’s rescue campaigns of WWII. 

A Dose of Happiness, Yana Titova, Bulgaria

A deeply moving romantic and family drama, based on true events from the life of well-known Bulgarian journalist Vesela Toteva. Based on her own memoir ‘Fall and Salvation: Confessions of a former heroin addict’, it’s a tale of addiction, destitution, fear and redemption, as a rebellious young woman searches for happiness during the turbulent transitional 1990s in Bulgaria.

Documentary: Heat Singers, Nadia Parfan, Ukraine

A charming, humorous, yet serious documentary that balances patriotism and the harsh reality of working-class men in Ukraine today. The film full of music focuses on a central heating system as a symbol of modern Ukraine.

Documentary: How Far the Stars, Katalin Bársony, Hungary

Roma musician József Balázs devoted his life to jazz music. His dream is to succeed in America and to escape poverty. Then Balazs starts a collaboration with the Rolling Stones saxophonist Tim Ries.

Masters and New Talents

Here are films by established and up-and-coming filmmakers:

Father, Srdan Golubović, Serbia / Bosnia and Herzegovina / Croatia / Slovenia / Germany / France

A compelling Serbian family tragedy of parents in their search of justice and their desperate acts as they attempt to protect their children, inspired by a true story. Premiered and awarded at Berlinale 2020. 

Full Moon, Nermin Hamzagić, Bosnia and Herzegovina 

This brilliant debut by a young Bosnian director is a masterfully played suspense drama of a man whose honour has been severely challenged by the surrounding dishonoured world.

Stories from the Chestnut Woods, Gregor Božič, Slovenia / Italy 

This stunning debut, sophisticated elegy from the Slovenian-Italian border, swept 11 awards at the main Slovenian national festival – and had huge success internationally too! 

Photo: Father Eastern Neighbours Film Festival ENFF

Current relevant cinema

Here are some films that evoke the issues, concerns and questions of today:

Matriarch, Jure Pavlović, Croatia / Serbia / France / Bosnia and Herzegovina 

A great debut by the Croatian director who dwells into complex mother-daughter love-hate connection. The film has won many major awards, as well as praise for Daria Lorenci-Flatz’s stunning performance.

Old-Timers, Martin Dušek and Ondřej Provazník

A powerful road movie following two elderly men, former members of the anti-Communist resistance in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s, in what seems to be their last and most important mission. 

Ajvar, Ana Marija Rosi, Serbia / Montenegro

This charming, humorous love affair drama, deals with a dying love story of Serbian migrants in Scandinavia. With strong performances of the diva of  Serbian TV, film and theatre: Vesna Čipčić.

Documentary: A Year Full of Drama, Marta Pulk, Estonia 

An extraordinary real-life story from Estonia - a job announcement was posted for a person who has never in her/his life been in a drama theatre. The job was to watch and review some 200 theatre plays in one year. 450 applicants applied. Female director Marta Pulk takes us masterly on this exciting human journey through theatre stages and personal dramas.

Documentary: Invisible Child, Muhamed I. Sisman, Turkey

This must-see film deals with the children brought to life by women raped by enemy soldiers, and sometimes even UN peacekeepers, during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The stigma stays for life, yet some children, today grown-up, are finding their way to deal with this trauma.

Documentary: Srbenka, Nebojša Slijepčević, Croatia 

One of the most internationally awarded Croatian documentaries in the last few years deals with the hatred within ethnic groups in Croatia. The director courageously digs in the wounds of the post-war society.

Documentary: Soviet Garden, Dragos Turea, Moldavia 

The focus of the documentary is the shocking truth about the well-hidden experiments of the Soviet government, in which an atomic garden was created in Moldova that would supply huge crops of various vegetables.

Book your ENFF tickets 

ENFF tickets are available via the Picl platform, the online "arthouse cinema at home". There is a special deal throughout the festival: Watch 3 films and get 1 for free! 

Photo: A Year Full of Drama Eastern Neighbours Film Festival The Hague

Thumb photo: Srbenka