Credit: EEFFN

The awards ceremony at this year's CinEast, the Central and Eastern European Film Festival in Luxembourg, on Saturday 21 October 2023 saw the announced creation of the Eastern European Film Festival Network.

The Eastern European Film Festival Network (EEFFN) brings together five film festivals dedicated to promoting and showcasing Eastern European cinema, as well as one partner organisation. The primary objective of the network is to enhance cooperation and collaboration between the member festivals in order to increase the visibility and impact of Eastern European cinema across Europe. 

The network will be comprised of the following festivals and organisations: CinEast film festival (Luxembourg); GoEast Film Festival (Wiesbaden, Germany); BEAST International Film Festival (Porto, Portugal); Eastern Neighbours Film Festival (The Hague, the Netherlands); A l'Est film festival (Rouen, France); EU Youth Cinema: Green Deal (Vienna, Austria).

Through this initiative, according to the EEFFN members, the festivals will share best practices, programming strategies and technical resources in order to enhance the quality of their respective events. Additionally, they will jointly develop and implement initiatives such as film exchanges, talent development programmes and co-screenings in order to further promote Eastern European cinema and foster the growth of the industry in the region.

The EEFFN members added that the network is committed to promoting diversity, inclusion and creativity in the film industry, as well as providing a forum for dialogue and exchange among filmmakers, industry professionals and audiences from around the world. The network expressed its belief that this would lead to increased recognition and appreciation of the rich cultural heritage and film talent of Eastern Europe. By leveraging their collective expertise, resources and knowledge, the festivals aim to provide a platform for emerging and established filmmakers from the region to showcase their work to wider audiences. 

The Eastern European Film Festival Network Award will be given out annually to feature-length films that demonstrate exceptional artistry, innovation and impact within the Eastern European film industry. Each festival will nominate a film to a shortlist of nominated films, competing for the overall award. The final vote will be open to a jury made up of members of each festival.

Starting with the upcoming 2024 editions, the EEFFN Award will be presented through each of the five festivals within the network. The winning film will receive not only recognition but also an opportunity for screening and national distribution in each of the network's member countries, which include Luxembourg, Austria, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Portugal. In addition, the winning film will be granted promotional support through the partnering festivals. This includes inclusion in their future programmes.

The participating festivals explained in their joint statement: "We believe that this award will be an important recognition of the vibrant and dynamic cinema of Eastern Europe and will provide a platform for filmmakers to gain wider recognition and exposure for their work. It also represents a new level of collaboration and cooperation between the festivals within the network, as they work together to support and elevate the Eastern European film industry."