As winter draws to a close, Vienna’s movie buffs look forward to the LET’S CEE Film Festival, a celebration of celluloid gems from Central and Eastern Europe all the way to the Caucasus.

Showing over 140 films over six days and featuring competitions for features, short films and documentaries, the LET’S CEE Film Festival brings together nine countries of the region, further confirming Vienna’s status as the “Bridge of Europe.” Previously held in October, the same month as the city’s iconic Viennale film festival, this is the first time in its five-year history that LET’S CEE has opted for a springtime slot.

Three weeks short of the festival’s start, founders Magdalena Żelasko and Wolfgang Schwelle proudly introduced this year’s extensive program to a curious bunch of reporters and journalists gathered in a cozy, half-filled and slightly darkened cinema, lending a lingering bohemian feel to the scene. Despite fighting sundry battles over insufficient funding, Żelasko and Schwelle have stayed positive, encouraging everyone to mark their calendars and enjoy this year’s selection.

Festival founders Magdalena Żelasko and Wolfgang Schwelle (Photo ©AB Photography)

Eastern Promises

With all pictures screened in their original language and subtitled in English and German, cinephiles are treated to a representative cross section of the best the region has to offer: like Attila Till’s Kills on Wheels, a Hungarian black comedy about wheelchair-bound hit men; or the short film Buzzing of a Bumblebee by Vladimir Beldian, a subtle examination of life in a Russian home for the elderly.

In the documentary category, Tarik Hodžić’s Scream for Me Sarajevo celebrates music and unrelenting spirit, chronicling an unlikely 1994 concert performed in the war-torn city by Iron Maiden’s singer, Bruce Dickinson.

March 25 will feature exclusively Austrian content, allowing a peek into the local film scene, including the promising entries Kinders, Fly Away Home, The Ivory Game and Night of a 1000 Hours.

Tickets cost €9 per movie (€70 for a festival pass). Admission is free to the short-film competition screenings at the Urania. Several other ticket packages and reduced rates can be purchased at any oeticket outlet in Austria, or on the festival website.




LET’S CEE Film Festival


March 21-27, various locations and times