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Get your tickets for the opening now!

On Saturday, June 1st, at 4 p.m., we will kick off the festival in the artistically designed festival center at the old fire station in Wolfen. An unforgettable festival summer begins with a big swim (don’t forget your swimsuit!) and a joint visit to the art parcours, which leads to several places of industrial culture! In the evening, starting at 7 p.m., WELT WEIT WOLFEN is an artistic program with two captivating performances by artists Maryna Makarenko, Oscar Olivo, Elsa Saade and Amy Trompetter, which deals with the upheavals in the former film cities of Wolfen, Rochester in the USA and Shostka in Ukraine from an international perspective. Musicians Thomas Kürstner, Sebastian Vogel and actress Jenny Schily will then venture into a new version of Bruno Taut’s spectacular DER WELTBAUMEISTER UND DIE ANDEREN, an architectural drama for symphonic music. In KEIN LICHT, KEINE FASER, the lights go out and the music comes on: The fire station becomes a disco! A very special dance experience that you won’t soon forget. Get your tickets for the opening night now!

The festival program is online!

The festival program is online! With a varied cultural program, the festival will once again artistically trace the upheavals in East Germany, using the example of Bitterfeld-Wolfen, from 1st to 16th June. The focus will be on the eventful history of film and fiber production in the Wolfen district and international perspectives on structural change. Artists will present theater and music pieces, performances and films, many of them premieres, at sites of industrial culture. Workshops, talks, excursions and many other events take a fresh look at the present and the future and offer an opportunity to get into conversation with one another. Click here for the calendar of events. We hope you enjoy discovering the program and making your festival plans!

Advance ticket sales start on April 15th online and at the Städtisches Kulturhaus Bitterfeld-Wolfen (during box office opening hours) and at the Stadt- und
tourist information office of the town of Bitterfeld-Wolfen. Most of the events can be attended free of charge.

Next OSTEN festival from June 1 to 16, 2024

From June 1st to 16th, the OSTEN festival invites you to artistically explore Bitterfeld-Wolfen and the former East of Germany (and beyond) as a landscape of change for people, nature and coexistence. The focus of this year’s festival will be on the eventful history of film and fiber production in the district Wolfen and the transformations that have accompanied it. Several places of industrial culture will become the stage and unusual spaces in the city will be used in the area between the former cinema, the municipal cultural center, the former factory fire department of the film and fiber factory, the industrial and film museum and the town hall. You can look forward to lots of exciting and varied theater and music pieces, performances, movies, workshops, talks, excursions to interesting places of industrial history and the present, special meetings with artists and much more!

The program and tickets will be available from 9th April on the festival website https://osten-festival.de/. Most of the events can be attended free of charge.

New: The OSTEN Archive!

In the past few months we have intensively renovated the Speicher here on the festival website and at the same time built up a new artistic OSTEN archive. While the Speicher gives a new home to the past events, the OSTEN archive enables a more thematic access to the content that was negotiated during the festival. Because in the process of artistic work, many documents, artefacts and references have been created or secured that have not yet found a digital place. From today you will find a variety of artistic perspectives on the „East“, its history, present and landscape also at osten-archiv.de (but for the beginning only in german)! We will constantly expand and grow the archive. Have fun discovering!

Become part of the artistic long-term projects for 2024 now!

Would you like to get involved creatively at the next festival? Then you are warmly invited to register for our long-term artistic projects! If you have old photos from and about Bitterfeld-Wolfen and something to tell, you can submit photos and stories to Anke Heelemann, for example (to info[at]vergessene-fotos[.]de). The media artist wants to create a photo archive about Bitterfeld-Wolfen that will be shown at the festival next year. Gardeners and those who would like to become gardeners can, together with the theater director Ron Rosenberg, help design a biotope in an allotment plot in the Rodelberg complex (with registration to kontakt[at]kultur-park[.]de). More projects and information here.

Thank you for this beautiful kick-off event

Thank you for filling the empty cinema in Wolfen with life again this weekend! Thank you for all the wonderful encounters and inspiring conversations! More than a thousand visitors took the opportunity to experience the usually empty film theater in Wolfen in action this weekend. We couldn’t have imagined it being nicer. Now we are all the more looking forward to working on the festival for next year!

With all the impulses from the weekend in their luggage, Aljoscha Begrich and Susanne Beyer, who will direct the festival in 2024, together with Anne Diestelkamp, Martin Naun and Christian Tschirner, who was already part of lesdramaturx at the first festival OSTEN, will be there in the next few months curating the program. More soon!

It starts tomorrow at 7 p.m.!

Tomorrow we’re off! After our internal working meeting on June 29 and 30, in which we exchange ideas with artists, cultural institutions and local partners about the planning of the festival in 2024, we will then open the former film theater to the public tomorrow, 7 pm. Anne Diestelkamp and Martin Naundorf, who are leading the project in 2023, and Aljoscha Begrich, Christine Leyerle and Ludwig Haugk from our Kulturpark board will then welcome you. Dr. Sebastian Putz, State Secretary for Culture, will represent the state of Saxony-Anhalt, which sponsors the event alongside the Federal Agency for Political Education, with a welcoming speech here.

Starting at 7:30 p.m., the sounds of artist Maryna Makarenko will take us on a journey through the history of the largest film factory in the Soviet Union, to Shostka in Ukraine. Afterwards, she will be in conversation with photographer and filmmaker Tobias Zielony, who took an in-depth look at the turbulent history of the Wolfen film factory for the first Festival OSTEN. The project resulted in his recently published book WOLFEN, which he will present for the first time on site, starting at 8:30 p.m., together with Anne König and Jan Wenzel, the publishers:inside of the Leipzig publishing house Spector Books. Two former workers of the film factory will also take part in the discussion.

Our first evening together at the cinema will end with a night walk from 10 p.m., which leads to the site of the former film factory. The focus here is on the perceptions of the women who worked in near total darkness to coat the footage. The former worker Christine Plohmann will accompany us as a contemporary witness. We are already very excited!

This way to the calendar.

Set-up work for the opening event at the cinema in Wolfen started

Starting today, June 26, a big part of the team working on the kick-off event for the next festival OSTEN is in Wolfen and transforming the old film theater in Freiherr-vom-Stein-Strasse into a very special place. Because in just a few days, it’s all going to start! In addition to the historic cinema building itself, we are also declaring the adjacent cinema garden an oasis that invites you to linger and get in the mood for our festival next year. We can hardly wait to welcome you here!

Do you have any questions about arrival, stay and so on? Then take a look at our FAQ. Here you will find all important information about your visit to the cinema in Wolfen. If your question is not answered, please contact us via kontakt[at]kultur-park[.]de!

Program for kick-off event from 30th June to 2nd July at cinema wolfen online!

The program for our kick-off event at the Wolfen cinema is online! With lots of art we want to bring the empty cinema in Freiherr-vom-Stein-Straße to new life from June 30 to July 2. Together with you we would like to start a conversation about the upheavals that shape and have shaped the former film city Wolfen, the industrial region Bitterfeld-Wolfen and the „East“ beyond, to set the starting signal for our next festival in 2024.

You can look forward to performances, creative workshops, concerts, readings, excursions and much more! And even independent of the events, there are a variety of artworks and films to discover in the cinema. Last but not least, the landmarked cinema itself is of course an eye-catcher worth exploring! You don’t get in here every day, and it’s due for refurbishment soon. So don’t miss the chance!

Her you finde the whole programm.

OPEN CALL for short films and video art on the topic of structural change in the East

Based on the history of structural change in Wolfen, we are looking for a new generation of filmmakers who engage cinematically with the topic of structural change in the East and/or societies undergoing transformation. An international perspective is welcome. We are particularly interested in films that trace transformations of cities, societies, landscapes and work.

WHO CAN APPLY?: Students of film and art schools and alumni who graduated no longer than three years ago.

FILM DURATION: max. 60 min

LANGUAGE: We welcome submissions in any language. At the same time, we would like to make the films and video works accessible to all. German subtitling of foreign language films is therefore a condition for films to be screened (subtitling can also be added to the film after submission). If your film/video has a German audio track and you have the possibility to subtitle the film in English, we are of course very happy.

FORMAT OF SUBMISSION: Please submit your video as a vimeo link with download function. 

JURY AND SELECTION PROCESS: The winners will be selected by the curators of the OSTEN Festival and notified about the selection by June 12th 2023.

SCREENINGS: The selected films will be screened during 29th June to 2nd July 2023 in the cinema hall of the former cinema at Freiherr-vom-Stein-Straße 1 in Wolfen. The former cinema is equally da festival center. All events are free of charge.

DEADLINE: 14 May 2023, 11:59 pm

You can find the LINK to the form here.

Download english version as PDF.

SAVE THE DATE: 29th June to 2nd July

Together with a network of cultural institutions and artists already involved in the first festival, but also new ones, the festival team is already working on ideas for the next edition – and invites you to exchange ideas from June 29 to July 2 at the former Wolfen cinema. Which art projects will bring the eventful history of the film factory in Wolfen to life? In which formats can artists and Wolfen residents engage in conversation about the upheavals in the biographies and the city?

For the next festival, as in the first edition, numerous projects are to be created in which people and institutions from Bitterfeld and Wolfen can participate directly.

The program for the opening weekend will be published on May 10 at www.osten-festival.de.

REUNION IN WOLFEN: Festival continuation planned for 2024

After the successful first edition of the OSTEN festival at the Kulturpalast Bitterfeld, the team around the Kulturpark e.V. is again looking for encounters and exchanges with the people of Bitterfeld-Wolfen and is deepening the existing networking and cooperation with cultural institutions in the region. The next edition, which is planned for summer 2024, will focus on Wolfen, the eventful history of the former film factory, and the upheavals that have accompanied it in biographies, urban society, and nature.

Thank you for this amazing Festival OSTEN!

Three great weekends of Festival OSTEN with you are behind us! We are overwhelmed by this beautiful, intensive time and the great popularity that the project has experienced. We welcomed 5.000 visitors from near and far at the Kulturpalast Bitterfeld-Wolfen and at our excursions – wow! We are particularly pleased that so many people from different groups and generations, people from Bitterfeld and Wolfen and visitors from outside, have used art to talk about the region, its history and present. And many a guest who only wanted to stop by the Kulturpalast spontaneously stayed longer because there was so much to discover!

We would like to thank all creative people and artists, partners and sponsors, all technical and other service providers and all the voluntary helping heads and hands! Without you all this would not have been possible. OSTEN is living from the fact that we cooperate with other actors here in the region, in Bitterfeld-Wolfen. We very much hope that these many, valuable contacts will remain with us and that we will be able to expand them in the future!

Film tip: A year in the palace
We were happy to see that many media reported about our festival in the past weeks! We would especially like to recommend the reportage of the MDR culture magazine „artour“, which was published a few days ago. For several months a film team accompanied us during our festival preparations, now „A year in the palace – Bitterfeld and the art festival OSTEN“ can be seen in the ARD-Mediathek! Have fun watching!

WELCOME TO BITTERFELD: Our festival program is online!

WELCOME TO BITTERFELD: Our festival program is online! You can expect an exciting, diverse program of theater and music pieces, films, installations, workshops, talks, excursions to interesting places of Bitterfeld’s industrial history and its present, as well as meetings with artists on the beach of Lake Goitzsche. From July 1 to 17, our festival in Bitterfeld explores and celebrates the „East“ as a landscape of change for people, nature and coexistence. A special focus lies on the history of labor and the traces that this history has drawn into the landscape. Don’t miss it!

Tickets for stage plays, films and workshops can be purchased now directly via the festival calendar and, starting May 12, also at the City and Tourism Information Office of the City of Bitterfeld-Wolfen. Many events are free of charge.

We hope you enjoy discovering the program!!!

New Festival-Website: www.osten-festival.de

OSTEN has a new digital home! From now on you can find all information concerning the festival and the cultural network behind it, as well as the participating artists and your visit to the festival online at www.osten-festival.de. Our festival programme, including all theatre and music pieces, films, talks, workshops and excursions, will be announced on 5 May. From this day on, tickets for plays, films and workshops will be available for purchase online and at the Bitterfeld-Wolfen city and tourist information office. Many events are free of charge.

Scholarship from the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt), the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and Kulturpark e.V. for artists in cooperation with scientists and contemporary witnesses

Bitterfeld-Wolfen represents the exploitation of nature as well as the rapid change after ’89/90 and a successful ecological redevelopment. Industrialisation, a change of political system, economic upheaval and ecological consciousness raising have left their mark – on the people as well as on the landscape. How can this change be mediated? And what future can emerge from it? In cooperation with the Federal Environment Agency and the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, we are offering a tandem scholarship to find out.

Three artists will be given the opportunity to develop a project in Bitterfeld for two months together with scientists and contemporary witnesses. The project will be shown at our OSTEN festival from 1 to 17 July. Two experts from the Federal Environmental Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA), who work in the Federal Environmental Specimen Bank, and a former employee of the UBA, who herself comes from Wolfen, will be taking part. In addition to the monthly work scholarship and a travel allowance, the scholarship also includes accommodation at the Bauhaus Foundation from May 15 to July 17, 2022.

Do you know artists who might be eligible for the project or would you like to apply yourself? It would be great, if you could share our public tender or send your application documents to tandemstipendium@uba.de by 21 February 2022. More information is available here.


In July 2022, the festival OSTEN is to take place in Bitterfeld-Wolfen. Together with the music school „Gottfried Kirchhoff“ the composer and director Ari Benjamin Meyers has a special plan: He wants to found a factory orchestra. If the slogan of the Bitterfeld Way 60 years ago was „Reach for the pen, buddy!“, now it’s „Reach for the instrument!“ In keeping with the tradition of the former Workers‘ Symphony Orchestra. What’s special here is that in this orchestra, the children are the teachers. They teach adults basic skills on their instrument. Together, they create an orchestra that is all about one thing: learning to listen to each other. And not taking themselves too seriously. Ari Benjamin Meyers writes a composition for the new orchestra. In the end, there will be a world premiere at the international arts festival.