The awards ceremony of the sixteenth edition of CinEast, the Central and Eastern European Film Festival in Luxembourg, took place at Kinepolis Kirchberg on the evening of Saturday 21 October 2023; the festival ran from 5 to 22 October 2023.
The International Jury awarded the Grand Prix to the film Citizen Saint by Tinatin Kajrishvili and the Special Jury Prize to Stephan Komandarev's Blaga's Lessons. The latter also received the Critics' Prize, awarded by the Press Jury. Moreover, the Press Jury awarded a Special Mention to the film Smoke Sauna Sisterhood by Anna Hints. The Young Talents Award went to Larry by Szilárd Bernáth. Finally, the Audience Award was won by Linda Olte's Sisters.
The CinEast 2023 International Jury was composed as follows: French director Patrice Leconte (president of the jury), directors Iryna Tsilyk and Andrija Mardešić, actress Sophie Langevin and producer Vincent Quénault. The Press Jury was made up of journalists Katrin Büchler, Tómas Atli Einarsson and Isabelle Debuchy. The Young Talents Jury included Alyssa Joao, Morgane Verdin-Pol, Ethan Beaufort and François Sfalcin, all students of the BTS Cinéma et audiovisuel at the Lycée des Arts et Métiers.
Patrice Leconte commented on the jury's decision to award the Grand Prix to Citizen Saint, describing the film as an "incredible story of great originality, about false idols". He elaborated: "The mise en scene and cinematography unanimously amazed the jury. A totally accomplished film with elements of magical realism, shifting from humour to terror. The Grand Prix of the CinEast 2023 festival is awarded to the film Citizen Saint by Georgian director Tinatin Kajrishvili."
Ukrainian director Iryna Tsilyk thanked the festival for its commitment to Ukraine and justified the jury's decision to award the Special Jury Prize to Blaga's Lessons as follows: "In this film, Eli Skorcheva delivers a powerful performance in the role of Blaga, serving up an implacable script. A terrible resolution, and one that is eminently contemporary: in our individualistic world, rational beings are sometimes transformed into monsters. This is why the jury decided to award the Special Jury Prize to Blaga's Lessons by Stephan Komandarev."
Katrin Büchler and Tómas Atli Einarsson presented the Press Jury's verdict regarding the Critics' Prize: "Blaga's Lessons [...] struck a chord with us all... Poignant and shocking, the film's narrative and style show greed and desperation are not individual character traits, but societal ills."
Concerning the Young Talents Jury's decision to award Larry the Young Talents Award, Ethan Beaufort explained: "It is a film where the cinematography combines with a great sense of musicality to create a truly touching story that simultaneously offers us a vigorous spectacle and a sincere drama. We are convinced that this movie is a perfect showcase of what Eastern European cinema is capable of with such a motivated filmmaker, actors and crew."
Linda Olte's film Sisters received the highest score in the public vote (in cinemas and online) and thus received the Audience Award for Best Feature Film. The Audience Awards for Best Short Films were awarded to Island of Freedom by Petr Januschka (Best Short Fiction Film), The Silence of the Banana Trees by Eneos Çarka (Best Short Documentary Film) and Crab by Piotr Chmielewski (Best Short Animated Film).
The awards ceremony was followed by the screening of the film Guardians of the Formula by Dragan Bjelogrlić.
Another screening of Citizen Saint, having won the CinEast Grand Prix, took place at the Cinémathèque in Luxembourg-Ville on the evening of Sunday 22 October 2023.
Whilst the festival ended on Sunday, several films will remain available online, via the "CinEast Online Cinema" platform, until 5 November 2023.