The festival from Porto dedicated to the current Eastern European cinema scene took place in an online format. The focus of this edition was Romania.
Since 2017, the BEAST International Film Festival has revealed itself to the public as an event that seeks to create a stage to show the new works and talents of fictional, documentary and experimental cinema in Eastern Europe, through the diversity of a range of cultural options that includes a total of 21 countries in this region.
As it was impossible to hold the festival in-person at various venues of Porto, like in previous years, the event presented by OKNA Cultural Association has adapted itself and for five days provided a digital cinematic experience, through the indie films streaming platform Filmin Portugal.
This year, Romania was the country chosen by the festival for the Focus Country programme, which premiered in the opening session one of the most acclaimed documentaries of 2020: “Ivana The Terrible”, the second feature film by filmmaker Ivana Mladenović. The film is based on a documentary narrative that oscillates between drama, comedy and non-fiction when leading the protagonist, who lives in Bucharest, during a visit to her small hometown.
The programme also included sessions dedicated to other documentaries in Romania, such as the feature “Acasa, My Home”, which was awarded by the Sundance Festival last year; “The Distance Between Me and Me”, by filmmakers Dana Bunescu and Mona Nicoară, which, using the footage of images, videos, poems, secret police surveillance materials and official appearances, reconstructs the iconic figure of Romanian artist Nina Cassian; and “The Soviet Garden”, a documentary by director Dragos Turea, who inspired by his grandmother's lethal illness, and the memories of the matriarch who lived in the Moldova region, portrays the industrial shock imposed on the region by the Soviet State and the weight of these long-term consequences.
In addition, BEAST also brings together the competitive sections "EastWave", "EastDoc" and "experimentalEAST", which feature medium-length films and short films by young emerging talents.
The festival runs until June 1st, with monthly special exhibitions, events and the holding of the third edition of the “Visegrad Film Hub”, an industry event dedicated to the countries of the Visegrad Group, including more exhibits, master classes and workshops from an online offer and, if restrictive measures permit, in-person registration in Porto’s spaces, such as Cinema Trindade, Passos Manuel Cinema , Casa das Artes and the Almeida Garrett Municipal Library.