Narrative Shorts 1: The Unknown

Saturday, April 29th @ 1 PM – Goethe-Institut – BUY TICKETS HERE

PET

Director: Chris Moraitis

Producer: Christos Liakouris

Duration: 11 minutes

Genre: Drama

Country: Greece

Ten-year-old Dimitris is the only child of a rich family. When his parents decide a cruel future for him, Dimitris cripples the most pure side of himself in order to survive.

Christos Liakouris was born in Athens, Greece in 1983. He studied Applied Math and Physical Sciences at NTUA and Film Directing at STFA. He attended various seminars in London and Los Angeles, including Robert Mkee: Story, Storynomics; Syd Field: Screenplay; and Judith Weston: Directing Actors. Since 2008, Christos has been working in cinema and theater. PET, his latest short film, has received 54 international official selections, 22 nominations and 8 awards. PET is also the first Greek Independent Oscar Qualifying Film.

 

 

LIMBO

Director: Konstantina Kotzamani

Producer: Maria Drandaki  

Duration: 30 minutes  

Genre: Drama

Country: Greece  

The leopard shall lie down with the goat, the wolves shall live with the lambs and the young boy will lead them, in this beautifully artistic film.

Born in Komotini, Konstantina Kotzamani is a graduate student of the Film Department of Fine Arts of Thessaloniki. Her short movies have participated in several international festivals and have received several awards. Her film, Washingtonia, premiered in Berlinale 2014 in the Berlinale Shorts Competition program. Washingtonia was awarded by the Hellenic Film Academy Best Short Film of 2014 and nominated for Best Short Film by the European Film Academy in 2015 (EFA awards). Kotzamani was selected to present her work at Future Frames in the 50th Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2015. Her last short film, Yellow Fieber, premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in 2015 in the international competition Pardi di Domani.  

 

LOST EXILE

North American Premiere

 

 

Director: Fisnik Maxhuni

Producer: Britta Rindelaub

Duration: 28 minutes

Genre: Drama

Country: Bulgaria, Kosovo, Serbia

Emir, a family man, works for the local underworld as people smuggler between Serbia and Hungary to repay its debts. Hana, a young woman from Kosovo wants to flee an arranged marriage meets Emir to bring her to Hungary.

Fisnik Maxhuni was born in Kosovo during the dismantlement of Yugoslavia. He illegally emigrated to Switzerland in 1993, where he grew up. After finishing his Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations in Geneva, Switzerland, he moved to Tokyo, Japan for nearly a year to work in diplomacy. In 2012, he began his Master studies in Geopolitics, Security and Territory at King’s College London and did one semester abroad in Singapore. During his time in Japan (2012), Indonesia (2013) and Argentina and Bolivia (2014), he wrote and shot several films, blending fiction, documentary and experimental approaches. It was only natural for him, then, to turn to professional cinema and keep to a political approach to his projects.

He is a recent Master graduate of Cinema at ECAL (Lausanne) and HEAD (Geneva) with specialization in directing. During the two years of his Master studies, he directed On Culture and Tropics (2014) as well as Ministarstvo Sjecanja (2015), which was shot in collaboration with Béla Tarr in Sarajevo. He wrote and directed his graduation film, Lost Exile, shot entirely in Kosovo with an international team. It premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in the Pardi di domani competition and won a prize from the jury. Lost Exile portrays the life of Hana, a young Kosovar wishing to leave her country to reach Europe. In order to do so, she requires the services of Emir, a Serbian people-smuggler to drive her to Hungary. On the way, problems arise as Emir’s unscrupulous bosses wish to deliver Hana to a prostitution ring.

At the moment, Fisnik is working on writing two new projects. The first is a hybrid between documentary and fiction shot in October and November 2016 in the southern states of the United States against the backdrop of the Trump-Clinton presidential election. The other is a screenplay for his first long-feature fiction film, Caballeros Indignos, which takes place in the horse-trading milieu in Uruguay. With Lost Exile and his new projects, Fisnik always combines his interest and experience in politics with his cinema perspective.

 

REFUGEE 532

 

 

Director: Goran Kapetanović

Producer: China Åhlander

Duration: 15 minutes

Genre: Drama

Country: Sweden, Bosnia Herzegovina

The unaccompanied twelve-year-old refugee tries to cope with his new life in Sweden. Struggling between hope and despair, he waits for news from the war zone in Bosnia. Bullied by the other young refugees, he decides to throw a party his own way.

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.

 

NARRATIVE SHORTS TWO: GOODBYES

Saturday, April 29th @ 2:45 PM – Goethe-Institut – BUY TICKETS HERE

128

World Premiere

 

 

Director/Producer: Onur Atalay Şenol

Duration: 7 minutes

Genre: Drama

Country: Turkey

In a countryside of Turkey in the 90’s, a boy and his friends are waiting for the start of class at their school.

Onur Atalay Şenol was born in İstanbul in 1990. His parents, Nuran and Nazım Şenal, are both from the ancient Anatolian town of Kastamonu. Onur graduated from the Radio-TV section of Aydın Doğan Communications High School. He has worked on various television series and feature films as an assistant director since high school. He continues his education now in the Faculty of Forestry at Istanbul University. He also has made a music video and an experimental short film. 128 is his first short fiction film.

 

 

MAGDA MOZARKA

West Coast Premiere  

   

 

 

Director/Producer: Bojana Momirović  

Duration: 15 minutes  

Genre: Drama

Country: Croatia  

 

Magda awaits the return of her fiancé on the small island of Sipan, Croatia, in the 1930’s. Every day she goes down to the port and sings at the pier. The villagers mock her. She waits.

Bojana Momirović was born in 1979 in Bosnia & Herzegovina. She spent her childhood in Sarajevo, New York and Brussels. When war broke out in the former Yugoslavia in 1992, she travelled with her parents to Heidelberg, Germany where she continued her education and obtained a doctorate degree (PhD) in literature at the University of Heidelberg in 2008.  

In 2004, she moved to Paris where she began her film career. Since then, she has directed 15 works (shorts and documentaries) that have had festival selections and TV screenings. In 2014, Bojana became the Manager of Continuing Education at the prestigious film school ENS Louis-Lumière in Paris. Previously, she worked for four years with TOMAY Productions as a producer of short films, documentaries and feature films. Her first professional experience was in business with SynerTrade France where she worked in finance, administration and online negotiation. She also organized and conducted over 30 conferences about film for the film association Collectif Prod and gave filmmaking classes as the Espace Beaujon in Paris.  

 

YOU DIDN’T FORGET

West Coast Premiere

 

 

Director: Simon Intihar

Producer: Jani Virk

Duration: 15 minutes

Genre: Drama

Country: Slovenia

An elderly woman’s day is turned upside down when she sets out to find her missing husband, who’s been struggling with memory loss.

Simon Intihar, born in 1990 in Postojna, Slovenia, graduated in Film and TV Directing at the Academy for Theatre, Radio, Film and Television in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He works on various Film, Video and TV projects. He is also an active musician.

 

 

 

ONE NIGHT

North American Premiere

 

 

Director: Strahinja Savić

Producers: Vukota Antunović, Jovan Vukašinović, Igor Vranjković

Duration: 17 minutes

Genre: Drama

Country: Serbia

Lasting friendship between two girls is put to the test when one of the girls is preparing to move abroad.

Strahinja Savić was born in 1991 in Belgrade. During elementary school, he wrote novels, short stories and directed drama pieces. At the age of 11, he moved to Rome where he started making movies. There. he made his first amatorial full-length fiction movie, Memento Mori. Strahinja graduated from Film and TV Directing in 2014 from the Faculty of Drama Arts in Belgrade as the generation’s best student. He went on to direct about 30 internationally award-winning shorts, such as Tango in 3 Spaces and 3 Characters, Rujka and Nine Days. He is currently a PHD student at FDA in the Department of Theory of Dramatic Arts, Media and Culture.

 

A NEW HOME

 

 

Director: Žiga Virc

Producer: Boštjan Virc

Duration: 14 minutes

Genre: Thriller

Country: Slovenia

What is the biggest danger Europe faces: the crisis on its borders, or its own paranoia and fear?

Film and television director Žiga Virc (b. 1987) graduated from the Academy of Theatre, Radio and Television in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He was voted a finalist for Best Foreign Short Film at the Student Academy Awards in 2010 for his short film, Trieste Is Ours! Virc has directed numerous commercials, documentary films and fiction films, for which he has also received numerous awards. He is experienced in cross-platform approach, and some of his works have gone viral internationally. His work combines a dramatic visual style with a detailed approach to narrative structure, which makes it appealing to a broad audience.

 

SHORTS PROGRAM 3: HUMOR, KINDNESS & HOPE

Saturday, April 29th @ 4 PM – Goethe-Institut – BUY TICKETS HERE

FIGHTING FOR DEATH

West Coast Premiere

 

 

Director: Eleonora Veninova

Producer: Goce Kralevski

Duration: 15 minutes

Genre: Comedy

Country: Macedonia

Two aging inhabitants of a remote village lead a bitter fight over who dies first and gets the only remaining grave in the village.

Eleonora Veninova is a screenwriter/director who graduated from California State University Northridge with M.A. in Screenwriting. She is the writer/director of short fiction films and writer of several feature-length scripts. Her last short film, Hairs, was financed by the Macedonian Film Fund and won a Gold Remi Award at the Worldfest Houston. It participated in a dozen festivals worldwide. After living and working in Los Angeles at Bold Films and Sixth Sense Productions as well as in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she currently resides in Skopje, Macedonia. She is an alumni of both Berlinale Talents and Sarajevo Talents as well as many other international forums and workshops.

 

 

 

LETTER TO GOD

 

 

Director: Maria Ibrahimova

Producer: Emin Ibrahimov

Duration: 17 minutes

Genre: Drama

Country: Azerbaijan

A lonely widower discovers that he is dying and after a series of mysterious encounters decides to do the only thing he can think of: write a letter to God. A film about the power of faith – irrespective of belief or religion.

Award-winning filmmaker Maria Ibrahimova made her debut film, the documentary Miss Gulag, with the support of the Sundance Institute and the Ford Foundation. The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and traveled the world to more than 40 festivals. It was later shown on the BBC Channel and many other channels in Europe and the United States. It is also currently available on iTunes. Awarded a Fulbright to pursue her documentary work on land-mines in Azerbaijan, Maria completed several documentary and TV projects there, including work on episodes of the TV series, Amazing Race and Build It Bigger, as well as on an array of music and tourism videos. In 2015, Maria made her debut narrative short film Letter to God, which won the Audience Award at the DCShorts Film Festival in Washington D.C.

 

MINUS ONE

North American Premiere

 

 

Director: Natassa Xydi

Producer: Fenia Cossovita

Duration: 16 minutes

Genre: Drama, Romance

Country: Greece

Summer in Athens and everything is grey except of the fuchsia hair of the teenage Elsa, who is in love. But what about dreams? Do dreams have color?

Natassa Xydi was born in Athens and studied theatre, visual arts and film in Greece, the UK and the Czech Republic. She has directed performances in non-theatrical locations, documentaries for the National Broadcasting Channel (ERT) and has taught digital media in secondary schools. Her first short film, Travel Express, has won several awards and was nominated for Best Short Film by the Hellenic Greek Academy. She just completed her second short film, -1, which was funded by Athens International Film Festival. Natassa is now developing the film into a feature. -1 (the feature) participated in the Mediterranean Film Institute and Sarajevo Script Station.

 

ABOUT ARIF

 

 

Director/Producer: Hasan Kalender

Duration: 12 minutes

Genre: Drama

Country: Turkey

Arif lives with his mother. Arif helps his mother with chores. He tidies up, washes the dishes, and takes his mother for a walk. His neighbors, however, know a different truth.

Hasan Kalender studied fine arts at Dokuz Eylül University located in Izmir in Turkey and finished his filmmaking course at the New York Digital Film Academy. His documentary Remains from History was added to the archives of The Union of Documentary and Cinema Makers and was also run in film festivals in all European countries in the context of 1001 documentary film. Furthermore, he was awarded three prizes for his short film, The Last Breathe and fourteen prizes for his short film, The Last Decision, which received support from the Ministry of Culture. With the aide of the Sinepark Short Film scholarship, Hasan furthered his education in filmmaking at the New York Digital Film Academy. He worked as an assistant director for three years, then began to shoot commercial films. Hasan created the montage, To Better Days (Güzel Günler Göreceğiz), in 2011 and became the supervisor of the film. Later, he won the Best Montage prize at the Festival of 48 Antalya Int. Film Festival. As of 2008, Hasan has been shooting commercial films freelance.

 

DONKEY XOTE

USA Premiere

 

 

Director: Ottó Bánovits

Producer: Tamás Joó

Duration: 24 minutes

Genre: Comedy

Country: USA, Hungary

Sometimes, falling is the only way to get Home.

Ottó Bánovits is a Hungarian/Swedish award-winning filmmaker. His most recent short film: Donkey Xote is a Hungarian-Swedish co-production, which was awarded the prestigious Best Film Award at the Montreal World Film Festival. Ottó has been a regular behind-the-scenes director for Annie Lebovitz for her world exhibition tour, Women and in the World of Fashion, which has a high-end clientèle. Ottó completed his BA studies at the University of the Arts London, BA Film & Video Course, and most recently, he graduated from the Master Program in Directing at the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts. Momentarily, he is in the process of completing his graduation film, entitled Dark Chamber.

 

SHORTS PROGRAM 4: RESISTANCE

Friday, April 28th @ 8:30 PM – Goethe-Institut – BUY TICKETS HERE

FORGIVENESS

North American Premiere

 

 

Director: Vanya Jekova

Producer: Vita Start

Duration: 30 minutes

Genre: Drama

Country: Bulgaria

An exploration of the hardships that a family goes through in communist Bulgaria. A story about cruelty and love, the footprints they leave, and about the choices we make.

Vanya Zhekova is an essayist, screenwriter and producer who has recently explored Bulgarian communist history. With her documentaries, Forest People and Catharsis, Vanya participated as a guest lecturer at universities and international institutes. Her book Frankly for Eiffel Tower was published in 2012. She is Master of Art and Education.

 

 

 

 

 

THE OTHER SIDE OF HOME

 

 

Director/Producer: Naré Mkrtchyan

Producers: Robert N. Fried, Iliana Guevara, Cristina Malavenda

Duration: 40 minutes

Genre: Drama

Country: USA, Armenia

A close-up look at how Turkey’s denial of the Armenian genocide affects two women on opposite sides of the conflict 100 years later.

Born in Armenia and raised in Los Angeles, Naré Mkrtchyan tries to combine both: the American filmmaking technique and international, independent spirit. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. She has written, directed and produced over 60 short films. Her passion is telling unique human stories that connect people and move beyond the boundaries of nationality, gender, and religion.

 

 

 

 

CITY OF WALLS

World Premiere

 

 

Director/Producer: Eneos Çarka

Duration: 22 minutes

Genre: Drama

Country: Albania

An insight into the vibrant street art and graffiti culture in Tirana, Albania, and how it clashes with authorities.

Eneos Çarka is a film student in University of Arts of Albania. He has made two short documentaries: Mimi and City of Walls.

 

 

 

 

 

SHORTS PROGRAM 5: DREAMS AND REALITIES

Sunday, April 30th @ 1 PM – Goethe-Institut – BUY TICKETS HERE

CAROUSEL (MERRY-GO-ROUND)

 

 

 

Director/Producer: Luka Popadić

Duration: 15 minutes

Genre: Documentary

Country: Serbia

The Singing Women of Požega, a choir group of enthusiastic elderly women full of life, share their daily routine with us in this poetic and humorous documentary.

Luka Popadić was born in 1980 of Serbian parents and grew up in Baden, Switzerland. After studying political science in Zurich, he enrolled at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade as a film director and earned his M.A. in 2014. During his studies, he made films that have been shown at more than 70 festivals around the world (i.e. Vision du Reel, Tampere, Max Ophüls) and awarded more than 20 times (The Golden Medal of Belgrade, Bronze Egg at the Küstendorf Film Festival, the Audience Award in Beijing). Upon graduation, he worked as an assistant to Želimir Žilnik in Serbia and Africa, and he conducted an acting workshop in Belgrade with Scott Fielding. He is currently preparing the production of his first feature film.

 

LITTLE BUCHAREST

North American Premiere

 

 

Director: Sam Geyskens

Producer: Laikin Chang

Duration: 21 minutes

Genre: Documentary

Country: Belgium

A tragicomic documentary portraying one of the many rest stops where Eastern European truck drivers gather to spend their time off during the weekends, to make their home sickness more bearable.

Sam Geyskens is a Belgian documentary filmmaker. He graduated with honors at the Royal Institute for Theatre and Sound. As a freelancer, he makes documentaries for television. Last year, his student documentary Thuisfront was aired on public broadcast and was recently sold to CNN. Thuisfront is a documentary about a foreign fighter who went to Syria to join ISIS. After a few months, he returned to Belgium and was tried for his participation in Sharia4Belgium. Sam also directed the student documentary, Guhunga, which won the bronze prize at the LA DOC and was later nationally screened on television. In the film, the protagonist, Uwase, contacts her deceased father to tell him how his family fled at the beginning of the genocide. Uwase was only a toddler when the genocide broke out, but her memories of the horrors are still vivid. The documentary brings those recollections back to life through animation, giving a childlike display to her darkest memories. His latest project, Little Bucharest, has so far been selected for the International Film Fest Gent.

 

BABA USTA: WHERE WE ALL END UP

West Coast Premiere

 

 

Director/Producer: Abdurrahman Bastug, Ozgun Kabakcioglu

Duration: 22 minutes

Genre: Documentary

Country: Turkey

Baba Usta is a graveyard worker. When his office is threatened, he has to face both the municipality and a mysterious rival with powerful connections.

Abdurrahman Baştuğ was born in Turkey in 1993. He graduated from Bahcesehir University Film & TV in 2016. He has directed several short films and helped many independent film projects. Since 2011, he participates in a music band, and they are continuing their art. Born in Ankara and raised in Istanbul, Ozgun Kabakcioglu had a childhood in the center of a multicultural, chaotic city that ultimately shaped his look on the world. Up until his enlistment and throughout his education in BAU’s Cinema and Television program, Kabakcioglu worked on many short films, taking on roles as writer to editor to anything as needed. He is currently focusing on new projects using different mediums in visual storytelling.

 

DYNAMIC PLANE

North American Premiere

 

 

Director: Saša Pančić

Producer: Architectural Association of Istria (Dai Sai), Croatia

Duration: 10 minutes

Genre: Documentary

Country: Serbia, Croatia

With an act of filling the soil over the foundations of archeological remains, one enters the active intervention of “putting asleep.” A certain plane is being created, a visual field of memories, with deposited inner content which connects the present with the past over imaginary space.

Saša Pančić was born in 1965 in Mostar, Yugoslavia. He graduated painting in 1989 and gained a post-graduate degree in 1992 at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade. After finishing his studies, he started his professional career as both a painter and a sculptor. Until now, he has had 25 independent exhibitions and dozens of collective exhibitions in the region and around the world. Between 2007 and 2010, he was the president of the Association of Fine Artists of Serbia. He now lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia. Pančić’s works have taken part in numerous collections such as: Zepter Museum, Belgrade, Serbia / Macura Museum, Belgrade / Telenor Art Collection, Belgrade / Ljuba Erić Art Collection, Belgrade / Luciano Benetton Art Collection, Italy / New Moment Art Collection Gallery, Belgrade / Thalberg Gallery Art Collection, Zurich, Switzerland­ / Gallery Lamusee Art Collection, Tokyo, Japan / Emil Ivanov Art Collection, Sofia, Bulgaria / City Gallery Grožnjan Art Collection, Grožnjan, Croatia / Claude de Saint Pierre Art Collection, Paris, France / Kevin Cottell Art Collection, Los Angeles, USA.

Pančić’s sculptures can also be found in public spaces at: the Belgrade Drama Theater Hall, Belgrade / Sculpture Park “Kakslauttanen” Lapland, Finland / public space of Sofia / and the public space of Belgrade. After 2006, Pančić began to work on short format films including, Dynamic Plane (Dinamička Ravan), 2016 / Bodies of Darkness (Tela Tame), 2015 / and Black Light (Crna Svetlost), 2006. He participated with his short film, Bodies of Darkness (Tela Tame), at the Belgrade International Festival of Short Film.

 

I WANT TO FLY

West Coast Premiere

 

 

Director: Maria Ibrahimova

Producer: Emin Ibrahimov

Duration: 22 minutes

Genre: Documentary

Country: Azerbaijan

Kamal has a dream: he wants to fly, but many say paragliding is an impossible dream for a man in a wheelchair. An inspiration in the Paralympic community, he’s helped many beat the odds. Now it’s his turn to try.

Award-winning filmmaker Maria Ibrahimova made her debut film, the documentary Miss Gulag, with the support of the Sundance Institute and the Ford Foundation. The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and traveled the world to more than 40 festivals. It was later shown on the BBC Channel and many other channels in Europe and the United States. It is also currently available on iTunes. Awarded a Fulbright to pursue her documentary work on land-mines in Azerbaijan, Maria completed several documentary and TV projects there, including work on episodes of the TV series, Amazing Race and Build It Bigger, as well as on an array of music and tourism videos. In 2015, Maria made her debut narrative short film Letter to God, which won the Audience Award at the DCShorts Film Festival in Washington D.C.

 

SHORTS PROGRAM 6: SEE ANIMATION!

Sunday, April 30th @ 5 PM – Laemmle Music Hall

Tuesday, May 2nd @ 4 PM – West Hollywood Library

BUY TICKETS HERE

THE PRIME MINISTERS

North American Premiere

 

 

Director: Stefanos Chachamidis

Duration: 4 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: Greece

Inspired by the Rebetiko song played in dens and taverns of Greece commemorating the events of 1936, the year of the six prime ministers.

Stefanos Chachamidis is a 3D rigging artist. He has been in the animation industry for more than 10 years, working for various studios in the creation of commercials, animation series and movies. The Prime Ministers is his first short film that combines his love for rebetiko music and animation.

 

 

 

 

IN EXILE

 

 

Director/Producer: Alexander Kurilov

Duration: 11 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: Moldova

A boy lives with his grandmother in an Eastern European village and dreams of a flying device that would reunite him with his parents working abroad.

Born in 1985, in the Soviet Union, Alexander Kurilov’s first encounter with film was through an improvised cable service set up by the neighbors. Growing up in a country with no theaters and no film industry, every film he experienced had a huge impact. Over time, a heightened interest toward storytelling had developed, and Alexander started practicing his screenwriting skills by reading scripts of famous films. Through learning programming, he became interested in the technical side of the visual experience. This would be the inception of his interest toward computer animation.

After spending an exchange year at the St. Mark’s School of Texas, where he finally had the opportunity to make his first films and get a hands-on experience of the production process, Alexander founded his own production company. His company makes advertising films for clients from all over the world. The highlight of the company’s experience is a Grand Prize Trophy at the MOFILM festival, awarded to Alexander personally by none other than Terry Gilliam himself. Currently, Alexander has been developing several film projects. In Exile is the first film completed and will hopefully be a firm first step into the world of international film production.

 

 

FIREBIRD

North American Premiere

 

 

Director/Producer: Velislava Gospodinova

Duration: 7 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: Bulgaria

Driven by the rhythm of music and the freedom of dance, Love overpowers death in this magical world.

Velislava Gospodinova was born in 1986 in Sofia, Bulgaria. She is a radiant, cheerful person with dark, imaginative mind and crazy, twisted dreams. She graduated with Masters Degree in Animation Directing from the New Bulgarian University in Sofia. Her graduation film from 2009, The Lighthouse (Farat) has been screened at more than 100 international film festivals, has been certified with numerous awards and has won the attention and recognition of renowned film professionals and critics nationally and internationally.

The Blood (Kravta) (2012) is her debut film, supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center. It recently ended its successful festival run, very well received, with a few awards and already more than 30 screenings. For over 10 years, Velislava has worked commercially in the field of visual effects and 2D compositing. She is a freelance art director, compositor and animator. In 2010, she was selected and participated in the prestigious Berlinale Talent Campus. In 2014, she founded her own production company in Sofia, Red Stroke Ltd. Just recently, Velislava finished the production of her short animation film, Firebird (Zhar Ptitsa) in 2016, supported again by the Bulgarian National Film Center.

 

 

ETHNOPHOBIA

West Coast Premiere

 

 

Director: Joan Zhonga

Producer: Irida Zhonga

Duration: 14.2 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: Albania, Greece

Humorous depiction of humankind’s intolerance of the Other in spite of how much we’re all alike.

Joan Zhonga is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts of Albania. He has worked in the film and TV industry as a director, art director and animator for numerous production companies and commercials. Ηe currently works as a director for the national Greek broadcaster, ERT. Throughout his career, Joan has written and directed many short films, some of which have been screened and awarded in the international film festivals of Annecy, Giffoni, Hiroshima, Gutenberg, New York, Prague, China, Drama and more.

 

 

 

THE WISH

 

 

Director: Aspasia Hatzirvasani

Duration: 1.23 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: Greece

PSA-style, beautiful short animation video on the subject of human trafficking.

Aspasia Hatzirvasani was born in 1991 in Athens, Greece. She always loved telling stories and drawing mermaids. She followed her dream and graduated with honours from TEI of Athens in 2014, with a degree in graphic design and a specialization in Comics and Animation. Since then, she has worked as a designer for an advertising company. In her free time, she continues her personal projects, like short comics and illustrations. The Wish was her first short animated film. You can find her more recent work at inthewindcomic.tumblr.com or at behance.net/aspahatz.

 

 

 

 

FAREWELL

North American Premiere

 

 

Director: Leon Vidmar

Producer: Kolja Saksida

Duration: 6 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: Slovenia

A simple bath reminds grown-up Lovro of the fishing trips with his grandpa. Memories and reality merge into one.

Leon Vidmar graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Ljubljana, with his animation short, (In)tolerance. He collaborated on Boles, a Cartoon d’Or-nominated puppet animation by Špela Čadež, as an animator, and on Koyaa – Flower as an assistant animator.

 

 

 

 

PLASTIC FLOWERS

World Premiere

 

 

Director: Claudia Ilea

Producer: HaHaHa Production

Duration: 3.5 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: Romania

Music video whose protagonist finds it more and more difficult to distinguish reality from illusion, in the pursuit of his own inner fulfillment.

Claudia Ilea recently received her MA degree in Graphic Arts at the National University of Arts, Bucharest and is currently exploring new mediums to express her thoughts about people, nature, science and society. She started with drawings, using anything from pens, pencils and ink to charcoal but then discovered engraving techniques that she fell in love with. Yet, she joyfully embraces other mediums like installation and video. Her latest passion is animation movies, which she considers has “finally brought to life” some of her wild ideas. Her work in animation currently consists of music videos for various Romanian bands, a few independent movies and some commercial projects.

 

 

GOOD NIGHT

North American Premiere

 

 

Director/Producer: Henning Backhaus

Duration: 6.5 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: Austria

Both funny and sad, this sock puppet animation and dark expressionist black and white imagery wittily channel the ambivalent musical mood of Schubert’s “Winter’s Journey” song cycle.

Born in Dresden, Germany, Henning Backhaus has worked as a projectionist, lighting technician, boom operator, cutter and broadcast director. At Filmakademie Wien, he is currently a student of the Austrian/French film director, Michael Haneke. In 2013, Backhaus shot his debut film, Local Heroes, on 16mm and 35mm film.

 

 

 

FLIPOSCOPE

North American Premiere

 

 

Director: Krunoslav Jović

Duration: 5 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: Serbia

Group of hard cinema workers are rushing the production of an animated film about Icarus for an impatient audience. But not everything goes according to plan…

Krunoslav Jović was born and raised in Belgrade, where he currently resides. He attended Belgrade High School of Design and, graduated from the Applied Arts Academy in Belgrade Animation Department, where he also worked as an assistant. He was a guest lecturer at the SAE Institute for the class of animation. His animated films have won numerous awards at festivals in the country and abroad. He also served as a jury member at several film festivals. Since 2010, he has been animating advertisements for film festivals and cultural events.

 

 

JUSTICE

North American Premiere

 

 

Director: Jelena Vučić

Duration: 5 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: Serbia

When the system fails to punish drunk driver who killed their daughter, grieving parents take justice in their own hands. Powerful statement about grief, justice and decisions we take.

Jelena Vučić was born in 1993 in Belgrade. In 2012, she enrolled in the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade at the Department of Animation in the class of Professor Rastko Cirić. She is the award-winning participant of the International Comics Festival in Belgrade and one of the authors of the second comic book series, The Front Line, published by System Comics. Her first comic book album, Tito, was issued in 2015. Her film, Justice (Pravda), is her first animated film. She graduated in 2016.

 

 

 

OUR CITY (BELGRADE WATERFRONT 2)

North American Premiere

 

 

Authors: Katarina Ćirilović Popović, Ana Đorđević Petrović, Luka Tilinger, Ivana Marić Maloinović, Isidora Stanić, Jelena Milunović

Duration: 8.37 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: Serbia

Group of authors created this charming animated film for the campaign to preserve the city from overdevelopment.

Born in 1974 Belgrade, Katarina Ćirilović Popović studied psychology there and then devoted herself to film and visual arts. In 2008, she became a member of UFUS – Association of Film Artists of Serbia. She is the co-author of 10 short experimental and animated films, which were broadcasted and awarded at different national and international film festivals. Belgrade based graphic designer and activist Ana Đorđević Petrović is a master in Interior Design. During her 15 years working as a freelancer, she has worked on many, both personal and professional, design concept projects for various clients. Her work includes: book layouts, packaging design, visual identity, promotional material and video art. She has expanded her field of action and initiated several projects to improve Belgrade’s public spaces.

 

NIGHT SHADOWS

 

 

Directors: Ivan Viaranchyk, Bat-Ami Rivlin

Producer: Bat-Ami Rivlin

Duration: 7.1 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: USA

In a dark, old Victorian city, a young doctor is summoned by a mysterious coachman to attend to a patient in need…

Ivan Viaranchyk and Bat-Ami Rivlin have created their first short animation, Night Shadows, as students at the School of Visual Arts. Both international students, Bat-Ami was born in Israel and Ivan in Belarus. Both graduated from SVA in 2016. Their joint film, Night Shadows, has won the Dusty’s Film and Animation Festival Outstanding Achievement in Animation Production Design Award and was screened at the SVA Premieres event in Hollywood in June 2016. Night Shadows was selected Best Animated Short and Best Soundtrack in a short at the Macabre Faire Film Fest in Long Island. It was selected to participate at the Canberra Short Film Festival (Australia), Wasaga Film Festival (Canada), Anim!Arte Student Film Festival (Brazil), Animac International Animation Festival (Spain), Madeira Film Festival (Portugal), and the Independent Days Film Fest (Germany). Bat-Ami and Ivan both live and work in New York City.

 

BLIND VAYASHA

 

 

Director: Theodor Ushev

Producer: Marc Bertrand

Duration: 8 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: Canada, France

Based on a story by Georgi Gospodinov. Vaysha is a girl whose left eye sees the past and right eye sees the future, making her unable to live in the present. Nominated for an Oscar 2017.

Theodore Ushev was born in Kyustendil, Bulgaria in 1968 and graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia. He first made a name for himself as a poster artist in his native country before settling in Montreal in 1999. Ushev found fertile ground for developing his own original artistic style at the National Film Board of Canada. The Man Who Waitedand Tzaritza (2006) quickly earned the respect of audiences and peers, as did his acclaimed trilogy on the relationship between art and power: Tower Bawher (2006), Drux Flux (2008) and Gloria Victoria (2013). With Vertical (2003), Sou (2004) and Demoni (2012), Ushev solidified his reputation as an inquisitive and daring artist by exploring new content-delivery platforms.

His 16-time award winner Lipsett Diaries (2010), narrated by Xavier Dolan, examined the pioneering work and tragic destiny of Canadian filmmaker Arthur Lipsett. Ushev quickly followed with Nightingale in December (2011), Joda (2012) and Third Page from the Sun (2014), a scathing reflection on the future of books. In Blood Manifesto (2014), a poetic and ferocious short which Ushev animated with his own blood, he ponders whether ideals are worth spilling blood for. His latest project, Blind Vaysha (2015), is a philosophical tale about the importance of living in the moment.

 

FLUTTER

 

 

Director/Producer: Vladimir Todorov

Producer: Ivo Venkov

Duration: 10 minutes

Genre: Animation

Country: USA

Visually reminiscent of the great sci-fi classics, this tale of flying is a nod to a force more powerful than gravity: love and companionship.

Vladimir Todorov is a concept artist, illustrator and animator. He studied Fine Art and Animation in his native country, Bulgaria, and began his career as an animator at Amblimation Studio in London, UK, where he worked on several films, including An American Tail 2, Fivel Goes West, We’re Back, and Balto. In 1995, Vladimir joined Uli Meyer Studio as a lead animator, working on Space Jam, Lost in Space and various TV commercials. In 1997, Vladimir moved to Warner Brothers to work on their animated feature The Quest for Camelot. In 1998, Vladimir joined Sony Pictures Imageworks in LA as an animator, storyboard and concept artist, working on Stuart Little, Stuart Little 2, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone and the Academy Award winning animated short, The Chubb Chubbs. In 2002, he began working as a character design supervisor for Robert Zemeckis’ The Polar Express.

Vladimir left Sony in 2005 to become a freelance artist. He has worked as a character designer on Beowulf, Christmas Carol, Mars Needs Moms, Jack the Giant Slayer, Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass and many other feature films. Vladimir has also written and illustrated three children’s books, The Moon Rock, Oliver’s Tantrums and Archipelago NY.