Friday, April 28th @ 7:30 PM
Los Angeles Premiere
In a follow-up feature to their internationally acclaimed The Lesson Bulgarian directing team Grozeva & Valchanov focus on a quiet, undemonstrative railway worker who happens to find millions of cash on the tracks. His decision to report the find to the police triggers disturbingly hilarious chain of events that threatens to expose corruption scandal cover up.
Winner of 19 awards at international festivals including Best Film in Kolkata, Hamptons, Boulder, Gijon, special mentions and nominations for top prizes in Locarno and Ghent, and other awards.
Kristina Grozeva graduated from Sofia State University and worked as a journalist for Bulgarian TV before she decided to enroll at the National Academy for Theater and Film Arts (Sofia, Bulgaria) to study film directing. Her student short films won several awards at international student film festivals, among them Best Fiction Debut at the Bulgarian Film Academy Awards 2008 for Birds of Heaven; Special Mention of the Jury at the International Student Film Festival, Casablanca, Morocco 2009; and Special Mention of the Jury at the Media School International Film Festival, Lodz 2009. She also won Best Short Film Under 10 Minutes at the International Student Film Festival in Montevideo, Uruguay, and the Best Film of International One-Minute Film Festival (FILMINUTE, UK, 2007) for Game.
Petar Valchanov was born in 1982 in Plovdiv. He graduated art school in his hometown in 2000 before moving to Sofia to study film directing at the National Academy for Theater and Film Arts (2002). His first short film Shock was in the student program at Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2001, while his subsequent shorts – Resurrection, Captured and Family Therapy – have been shown around the world and recognized with several awards. Valchanov directed the documentary, Parable of Life (2009), and the TV movie, Forced Landing (2010), together with Kristina Grozeva, which marked the beginning of a permanent collaboration. Grozeva and Valchanov’s short film, Jump, was nominated for the European Film Awards 2013 at Clermont – Ferrand, making it the first Bulgarian short ever nominated for the EFA. Jump won the Grand Prix at Brussels SFF 2013, the Excellence Award for Best Picture at Busan, and Best Short Film by the Bulgarian Film Academy in 2013, among others. The Lesson is their feature debut, which won multiple awards at San Sebastian, Tokyo, Warsaw, Thessaloniki, Gothenburg, Transylvania, Sofia and many others.
My Aunt in Sarajevo
Saturday, April 29th @ 9:30 PM
West Coast Premiere
Q&A with the actor Milan Dragišić after the screening.
Bosnian refugee Zlatan works as a construction worker in Sweden. Though he has never gone back since the war of the 1990s, every month he sends money to the housekeeper who cares for his old aunt, his only living relative. When Zlatan’s Swedish-born daughter Anja decides to find out more about her Bosnian roots, her father reluctantly agrees to travel back… Winner, Sweden’s Guldbagge Award for Best Director, and Best Actress for Sadžida Šetić.
Goran Kapetanović was born in 1974 in Sarajevo. He studied film direction at the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts (SADA). His last four shorts and novel films have been rewarded with 23 international awards, amongst others: Shortlisted for the Oscars for the short film, Kiruna-Kigali; Best Foreign Drama, Toronto Short Film Festival; Best European Short Film, Sedicorto International Film Festival; Best Narrative Short, Montreal Black Film Festival; Kanada Best Foreign Drama, Intl. Student Film Festival, Hollywood, USA; Uppsala Film Jackdaw for Best Children’s Film. Between 2005 and 2010, Goran worked as a producer and mentor with workshops for SIDA and SI in Kigali, Rwanda where five short films were made together with people from the Rwanda Film Centre. The films premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2011.
King of the Belgians
Saturday, April 29th @ 7:30 PM
This deadpan comedy takes us on an unforgettable road trip through the Balkans with the fictitious King Nicolas III of Belgium and his hapless aides after a solar storm has shut down all communications and air travel. Discovering the eccentric side of the Balkans is also a journey of self-discovery for the King. Winner of KNF award at the Rotterdam Film Festival 2017.
SEEfest thanks the Consulate General of Belgium in Los Angeles for their support of this screening.
Born in 1971, Jessica Woodworth is a former TV writer-producer-director, now working for cinema with Belgian filmmaker Peter Brosens, whose acclaimed common works to-date are Khadak (2006) and Altiplano (2009) and whose love for ethnography she shares. Before this stage in her career, Jessica Woodworth had worked for television in Hong Kong and Beijing. She shot her first theatrical movie Urga Song (1999) in Mongolia. After making The Virgin Diaries, a documentary filmed in Morocco, she chose to join Peter Brosens for a fruitful collaboration.
Born in Leuven, Flanders in 1962, Peter Brosens is a Belgian filmmaker who has always taken a keen interest in what happens far away from his native land. Brosens’ first film is an award-winning documentary filmed in Ecuador in 1992, The Path of Time. He then directed and produced his internationally acclaimed Mongolia Trilogy, consisting of the documentaries City of the Steppes (1993), State of Dogs (1998) and Poets of Mongolia (1999). His last foray into far horizons is Altiplano (2009), a drama set in the High Andes.
Peter Van Den
Georis Lucie Debay
Titus de Voogdt
Pieter Van Der Houwen
Friday, April 28th @ 9:30 PM
Los Angeles Premiere
Q&A with actor Adrian Titieni after the screening.
Inspired by true events, the film centers on young journalist Radu, who is sent to report on a scandal involving an underage prostitute. To prove himself, he is ready to unscrupulously overcome each obstacle to meet the girl and deliver a good story until he realizes he must face moral limits to reach his goal.
Adrian Sitaru’s 2007 short film Waves won the Golden Pardino – Leopards of Tomorrow at the Locarno Film Festival for Best International Short Film. His debut feature film, Hooked (2008), premiered at Venice Days and established him as one of the most important new voices in Romanian post-communist cinema. The Fixer is his fifth feature film.
Adrian Titieni is the Romanian actor of the moment with an impressive track record of roles and accolades nationally and internationally. Since his debut at National Theatre in 1983, his career has been a journey upward, achieving remarkable theatrical performances under the leadership of important Romanian directors. Numerous appearances in television shows have made him well known in every corner of the country. His film career is marked by his successful work with Romanian directors of different generations, like Cristian Mungiu, Cristi Puiu, Adrian Sitaru, Calin Netzer, Dan Chisu, Lucian Pintilie, Dan Pita, Serban Marinescu, Nicolae Mărgineanu, Marty Ryan, Mircea Daneliuc, Stere Gulea, Tudor Jurgiu, Andrei Zinca, etc.
He received numerous awards: 2008 FESTCO – Award for Best Comedian 2010 – Award for Best Actor at the International Festival GrandOff Warsaw 2011 – Award for Best Actor at the UCIN Romania 2012 – Award Gopo for Best Actor 2013 – Award Pro Cinema Gala Gopo Awards 2016 – Award for Best Supporting Male at the International Film Festival Listapad – Minsk (Belarus) 2016 – Bayard Prize for Best Actor at the International Francophone Film Festival in Namur (Belgium) 2016 – Silver Hugo Award for the leading role at the Chicago Film Festival, and many more.
Tudor Aaron Istodor
My Father’s Wings
Sunday, April 30th @ 7:30 PM
North American Premiere
In this exceptionally mature directorial debut, we meet Ibrahim who joined a construction crew working on a high-rise apartment building to support his wife and children. When the unexpected diagnosis of an illness leaves him with no guarantees for the future, his dignity will push him to sacrifice himself for his family.
Kıvanç Sezer, born in 1982 in Ankara, studied engineering during his time at the university before moving to Italy to take up a career as a filmmaker. He studied editing in Italy for two years at the prestigious Cineteca di Bologna. While there, he met a number of important directors who inspired his work. He returned home to Turkey in 2009, making a living as an editor on TV projects and documentaries. He has created several shorts that have been screened at a variety of domestic and international venues. My Father’s Wings represents his first foray into features as a director.
Monday, May 1st @ 9:30 PM
West Coast Premiere
Q&A with writer and actress Tahmina Rafaella after the screening.
Arzu, a young girl growing up in contemporary Azerbaijan, falls in love with Rafael, her piano teacher, twice her age and veteran of the war. They both wish to escape the repressive society they live in but will be forced to make an ultimate choice and sacrifice.
An Azerbaijani film and theatre director, Ilgar Safat’s short films and documentaries have been screened and awarded prizes at various film festivals around the world. His first feature film, The Precinct, was Azerbaijan’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards. A second feature that he directed Inner City continues to be screened and compete at various international film festivals. It won the Best Actress for Tahmina Rafaella at Lake Van International Film Festival in Turkey.
That Trip We Took With Dad
Wednesday, May 3rd @ 7:30 PM
Los Angeles Premiere
Q&A with Anca Miruna Lăzărescu after the screening.
With 1968 ‘Prague Spring’ as the backdrop, two German brothers and their father set on a journey from Transylvania, Romania, to German Democratic Republic, to undergo surgery. Caught in the middle of the turbulent events, they accidentally end up in West-Germany, where difficult choices and sacrifices await them.
Born in Timisoara, Romania, Anca Miruna Lăzărescu emigrated with her family to Germany in 1990. She studied at the German Academy for Film and Television in Munich and directed several documentary and short films that have attracted international interest. In June 2016, her first feature film That Trip We Took With Dad had its double world premiere at the International Munich Film Festival and at the Moscow IFF. She won Best Narrative Feature at Cinequest, San José. In Munich, she won the Special Jury Award for Best Music. At the Jameson Cinefest in Miskolc, Hungary, she won the Art Cinema Award of the CICAE Association. Her graduation film, the Filmallee production Silent River (APELE TAC) had its premiere in the international competition of the Berlinale Shorts 2011 and was invited to over 300 international festivals since then, winning more then 80 awards such as: Grand Prix at the film festivals in Brest, Lille, Bruxelles and Québec and the Audience Award at the Corona Cork Film Festival in Ireland. The film was also nominated for Best European Short 2011 by the European Film Academy.
The Romanian Film Academy awarded Lăzărescu as Upcoming Talent and her film as the Best Romanian Short in March 2012. Lăzărescu attended numerous seminars on creative writing and script development hold by Mark Travis, Keith Cunningham and Hans-Christian Schmid.
She also spent time abroad, volunteering in an Israeli Kibbutz and completing a traineeship at CNN and on Disney’s TV comedy series Scrubs in Los Angeles. Her affection for subjects such as the East-West conflict, and themes such as immigration and the outsider in a community, are influenced by her own background having been born and raised in a country with plenty of identity issues, if not an inferiority complex. Anca Miruna Lăzărescu is member of the Romanian and European Film Academy.
Wednesday, May 3rd @ 9:30 PM
North American Premiere
The beauty of the cycle of seasons in the picturesque Moldovian hilly countryside mirrors the overwhelming, intense feelings of Anishoara, an attractive 15-year-old girl, as she experiences first love, longing and innocence lost in this touching and poetic coming-of-age story.
Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu was born in Moldova in the former Soviet Union. After four years residing in West Africa, where she worked at the theatre, she moved to Berlin and studied directing at the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb). She was a jury member at both the Warsaw International Film Festival and the Sofia International Film Festival. Prior to her directing studies, she worked as an assistant director for the German documentary filmmaker, Volker Koepp, as well as the Romanian director, Christian Mungiu. Her short films have received awards at international festivals such as ZINEBI Bilbao, Warsaw, Motovun and others. For Panihida, she won the prestigious Robert Bosch Co-Production Prize. The film celebrated its world premiere at the Rome International Film Festival 2012 and won the CinemaXXI competition. For Anishoara, she won the “When East Meets West” Development Award 2013 in Trieste. The film is her graduation film at the dffb.
The Black Pin
Sunday, April 30th @ 9:30 PM
Los Angeles Premiere
In the spirit of a Mediterranean comedy, the film’s protagonist is a disillusioned orthodox priest who finds nothing but trouble in his picturesque Montenegrin village. He is at odds with colorful local characters who dream of foreign investors and believe in the supernatural, while trying to get him to sell his ancestral land.
Ivan Marinović was born in 1984 in Kotor, Montenegro. He graduated FAMU film and television academy in Prague (MgA degree in film directing) in 2011. He has shot several short films, as well as the noted documentary, Praise the Sea, Stick to the Shore. He was also a co-writer and directing assistant on IvoTrajkov’s feature film, 90 minutes – The Berlin Project, which was selected for Cameraimage in Poland, and Manaki Brothers in Bitola. The Black Pin is his first full-length feature as a writer/director. It has won multiple awards for best screenplay (Jerusalem Film Lab 2014, Cinelink Sarajevo Film Festival).
Monday, May 1st @ 7:30 PM
North American Premiere
Anna is a single mother determined to go to America for a better life for herself and her autistic son. When American Consulate rejects her visa application it sets in motion her desperate efforts to find money to immigrate illegally. Ekaterine Demetradze in the role of Anna majestically conveys the iron will of a determined mother and the vulnerability of a single woman who fights for her dignity. Winner of Grand Prix award at Valencia Festival in Spain, Best Director award in Arras, France, Fipresci award in Cairo, Egypt, Merit award in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Best Director in Sakhalin, Russian Federation.
Nino Basilia, born in Georgia, is a director and scriptwriter. She studied at the High School of Scriptwriters and Filmmakers and at the Tbilisi Pedagogical Institute, Faculty of Philology. She also has a degree in Journalism at Georgian State University. Among her many films 6 ½ Minutes won at the Moscow Film Festival. “I had a desire to create a feature film reflecting the life and dreams of young people living in Georgia who do everything to improve their living conditions. The film retells about the problems of a young, single lonely mother, her optimism, her poverty, her devotion to her child, and the difficult labyrinths through which she has to pass.”