The foundation of CinEast was laid by the Days of Polish Cinema that took place in 2006. A year later, a group of Polish, Czech, Slovak and Hungarian cinephiles decided to organize a festival dedicated to Central European movies. The inaugural Central European Film Festival took place on October 8–9, 2008. Its program featured movies form the four aforementioned counties.
The festival got its current name in 2010. By that moment, the attendance had doubled, and screenings were held at several venues. Despite its growth, the festival preserved its friendly and relaxed atmosphere. The 2010 CinEast was the first festival to feature Romanian films. In 2011, its program included Bulgarian movies for the first time. In 2012, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia joined the festival. In 2013, the rest of former Yugoslav states participated in CinEast. Ukrainian and Moldovan filmmakers submitted their works for the first time in 2014.
The main goal of the festival is to acquaint a wide audience with the latest films made in post-communist states. Although CinEast focuses on full-length feature films, its program also includes documentaries, short films and animated films.
From 2010 onwards, CinEast is a competitive festival. An international jury awards the Gran Prix and the Special Jury Prize. Besides, based on the results of the audience voting several films are bestowed with the Audience Awards in several categories such as Best Feature Film, Fest Short Feature Film, Fest Short Documentary Film and Best Documentary Animated Film.
Along with competition screenings and the awards ceremony, CinEast offers a wide range of accompanying events such as special screenings, concerts, debates, parties, meetings with famous film directors, etc. During the 17 festival days, the CinEast film festival offers to watch over a hundred films fro 18 countries, striving to provide a current, concise and representative overview of contemporary Central and Eastern European cinema.
Photo by Margo Skwara