The 2020 edition of SEEfest officially began on April 22, 2020, with the Cultural and Literary Salon, our now traditional pre-festival event. A wide-ranging discussion covered many aspects of this year’s festival theme, Boundaries of Belonging.
We paid tribute to Fellini’s centennial and his magical cinematic universe, announced the upcoming BRIDGES book about the cultural bridges of South East Europe, touched on the French 1920’s famous court case that still challenges our conceptions of identity, and discussed minority cultures and language as homeland.
The presentation also gave SEEfest viewers a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the 3D design work on Black Panther, a film that featured an altogether imagined universe.
Our panelists questioned the limits of art in expressions of difference—cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and political—to consider how historical processes shape our understanding of self in an increasingly hybrid world.
Julia Koerner, Designer
Julia Koerner is an award-winning Austrian designer working at the convergence of architecture, product, and fashion design. She is internationally recognized for design innovation in 3D-Printing, Julia’s work stands out at the top of these disciplines.
Thomas Harrison, UCLA Professor
Thomas Harrison is a professor in the UCLA Department of Italian. He is the author of the seminal book 1910. His research focusses especially on Italy and Austria, and the region of Trieste and northern Adriatic from 1860 to the present.
David Shafer, CSULB Professor
David Shafer is a specialist in modern French history, with an emphasis on cultural history and a secondary interest in the history of former Yugoslavia. His most recent book is a biography of Antonin Artaud.
Nina Bjekovic, UCLA Ph.D. Candidate: Moderator
Nina Bjekovic specializes in 19th and 20th-century Italian culture and literature, with an upcoming doctoral dissertation, The Triestine Other: Negotiating Alterity in Claudio Magris, Boris Pahor, Giuliana Morandini, and Giorgio Pressburger.
This program is presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood. For more info on WeHo Arts programming please visit www.weho.org/arts or follow via social media @WeHoArts; and in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles.
SEEfest 2020 screens over 50 new films from South East Europe – features, documentaries, short and animation. SEEfest promotes cultural diversity, serves as the cultural hub for ex-pat independent artists and filmmakers, and creates opportunities for a lively cultural exchange.
Continuing what started years ago as a companion program to the festival with a SEEfest book fair featuring the great scholar and translator, as well as SEEfest’s early supporter, the late Michael Heim, the festival hosted a cultural and literary salon on April 17 at the West Hollywood Library City Council Chambers.
The Star panel included scholars Thomas Harrison from UCLA, David Shafer from CSULB, guest from Germany and current artist resident at the Villa Aurora, Fatma Aydemir, author of multiple award-winning novel Elbow, and moderator and UCLA Ph.D. candidate, Nina Bjekovic.
An engaged and appreciative audience kept the conversation going until 10 PM! The sentiments expressed in these comments best illustrate the overall atmosphere and flair of the Salon:
“The theme of audacity is a great common denominator to start the dialogue about the role of art today.”
“I walked away from the event with a new interest in Artaud and the French avant-garde, a growing anticipation for the English translation of ‘Elbow’, and an eagerness to study more Nietzsche.”
The discussion touched on issues such as authenticity, originality and audaciousness of artists through the ages, ranging from Salvador Dali to Jimi Hendrix to punk, the possibility of poetic expression in the age of social media, the relationship between artists’ private lives and their work, and living dangerously as did one of the celebrated Italian writers, poets, filmmakers: Pier Paolo Pasolini.
The Salon set the tone for the upcoming week of SEEfest’s Cinema of Audacity starting May 1, and bringing to Los Angeles 56 films that boldly and audaciously speak about our difficult, but also intriguing times – times that offer rich trove of stories to artists to turn the mirror onto us and make us look boldly into our own complex way of living in a world fraught with challenges on a global scale.
Presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division.
Photos by Michael Gaines, Photographic Arts