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Göbeklitepe- The World’s First Temple

12,000 years ago, the world’s first temple, Göbeklitepe, was built near Urfa in Turkey. 

Massive carved stones were arranged in rings by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools. The stones are covered in carvings of foxes, lions, vultures, and scorpions using only stone hammers and blades. The tallest pillar is 16 feet and the site pre-dates Stonehenge by 6,000 years.

 After Göbeklitepe was dismissed by many as an abandoned Medieval cemetery, German archeologist Klaus Schmidt decided to look for himself. He saw a hill with a gently rounded top and knew it had to have been man-made.

Funnily, Göbeklitepe means “potbelly hill” in Turkish. Schmidt and a team of archeologists have been excavating and analyzing the site. The site is believed to have been a social ritual gathering place attended by hunter and gatherer inhabitants.

A documentary on the Göbeklitepe is available online and has been made available for free by the filmmakers.  Watch it below or you can find it on both YouTube and Vimeo.

Have you been to the Göbeklitepe site? Let us know in the comments. And, be sure to sign up to get Festival emails so you don’t miss any SEEfest events!

SEEfest Alumna Gets Distribution for “HOMEMADE” Documentary Web Series

SEEfest Accelerator Alumna Ivana Strajin Joins Forces with Dunn Vision

Food is so personal. Growing up, some of my favorite childhood memories were those spent in the kitchen cooking with my dad and baking with my mom. As a kid, I didn’t realize that what we were preparing had any cultural significance. It was just food. I thought everyone in Toronto made sarma in the winter!

 Now more than ever, I treasure these multi-generational family recipes as many members of the diaspora do. We preserve these recipes because they connect us, not only to our heritage but to loved ones, both alive and long lost.

HOMEMADE Celebrates Cultural Heritage Through Food

 I knew that this personal connection to food was universal. I wondered what kinds of interesting stories we’d hear if we asked home cooks to tell us about their most treasured family recipes and the meaning behind them. Feeling inspired, I decided I wanted to create a web series that would shine a spotlight on home cooks. HOMEMADE was born.

 Several Canadian home cooks agreed to share their stories. We went into their homes and kitchens. We filmed them as they prepared their favorite dish or meal. We interviewed them afterward. We asked them about the personal significance of the dish, and they shared more than just the mechanics of how to prepare the dish. They shared heartwarming stories and unique traditions associated with these deeply personal recipes.

 HOMEMADE features recipes from all around the world, from South India to Haiti. However, there are seven episodes. Naturally, we could not get to every region! Perhaps it will be a possibility in the future.

 Our very first episode features a home cook whose family heritage is from South East Europe! Yasemin Kamci shares her family’s Turkish-Cypriot dolma recipe. For centuries, stuffed grape leaves have been a staple in the cuisines of countries across South Eastern Europe to Central Asia. Depending on where you enjoy these culinary delights, they may be referred to as dolma, dolmeh, sarmice… and more!

 Yasemin’s multi-generational recipe features grape leaves that are stuffed with rice, tomatoes, and herbs. It happens to be a completely vegan recipe. That said, it’s common to find variations on this recipe that include ground beef or lamb. Some include zucchini, peppers, and eggplants. Aside from regional nuances, every household has its own take on this classic dish.

 In Yasemin’s family, dolma represented the start of summer in Ontario. Her parents grew grapevines in their backyard and would pick the leaves to make dolma. Everyone would save their appetite all day to leave room for their big dolma feast in the evening. While we couldn’t time travel to Yasemin’s childhood to film these family gatherings, Jane Guan, our animator, transports us there through her beautiful illustrations.

 We featured Episode 1: Dolma by Yasemin Kamci in our short festival run. It was this very episode that caught the attention of the team at Dunn Vision. They saw the episode and reached out to me directly to include our series on their new streaming service. The episodes are now available for your viewing!

 My hope for audience members is that you’ll resonate with the stories shared by our home cooks and continue to treasure your family recipes, traditions, and memories.

Watch all seven episodes here.

Exposé COLLECTIVE | Video

A conversation about the film COLLECTIVE, investigative journalism, and filmmakers who document their work

In 2015, a fire at the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest, Romania, killed 27 people and injured 146. Romanian Health Minister assured the nation that the burn victims would receive the highest level of healthcare. Instead, another 37 club attendees died in the hospitals which used many times diluted disinfectant in ICUs which led to infections and sealed the fate of the burn victims.

Filmmaker Alexander Nanau’s powerful film documents the painstaking work of Sport Gazette’s investigative journalists, who uncovered the shocking scandal behind the tragedy. Prominently featuring the persistent Catalin Tolontan who pursued the powers that be at every turn, their account of corruption at all levels of government led to one of the largest public protests that toppled the government, and brought in a patient rights advocate as the new Health Minister.

The cinematic power of COLLECTIVE is as gripping as Tom McCarthy’s academy award-winning narrative, SPOTLIGHT. The Gazette’s journalists who pursue the layers of corruption in Romania are as captivating as the Globe reporters as they uncover the depths of deception from the Catholic Church.

The program features excerpts from relevant films and spotlights investigative journalism in South Eastern Europe. Mocha Jean Herrup, founder of the New Bedford Film Society and content producer for the South Coast Film Forum,  and Chale Nafus, founding board member and long-time director of programming, Austin Film Society, join in the conversation with Vera Mijojlic, festival director, South East European Film Festival, SEEfest, Los Angeles, CA.

The live event was presented in November 2020 on the co-watch platform Beem.

Collective is available for at-home streaming. Collective is Romania’s official Oscar entry for Best International Feature.

SUPPORT SEEFEST

If you enjoy our programming and appreciate the cultural mission of SEEfest, consider making a donation to support our work so we can continue to serve you in the coming years. Thank you!

 

FRIENDS OF SEEFEST

LaemmleLumiere CinemaThe Frida Cinema, and New Filmmakers L.A. each offer a wide variety of films for you to stream online.

 

SEEfest program and activities are supported, in part, by the California Arts Council, a state agency; Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture; and by an Arts Grant from the City of West Hollywood. Special thanks to ELMA, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for their continued support of our programs.

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Meet the SEEfest 2020 Jury

The Jury of the 15th SEEfest

Judging the films in competition for this year’s virtual edition of the festival are 21 members of the entertainment community who will choose the best feature, documentary, and short films as well as vote on the achievement in cinematography.

The Jury members for Best Feature Film are renowned actresses Joanna Cassidy and Denise Grayson, and former director of programming and founding board member of the Austin Film Society, Chale Nafus.

In narrative documentary jury, they are joined by award-winning producer, director, and camerawoman Michelle Paymar, IDA Documentary Awards Competition Manager Ranell Shubert, and writer/director George Paul Csicsery.

Producer Tessa Bell, editor Robin Katz and actress/director Melanie Mayron are judging short fiction; documentary filmmakers Christine LaMonteJames Tumminia and Åsa Kalmér are judging short documentaries; and Spanish filmmaker Nathalie Martinez, director of Animation Is Film festival Matt Kaszanek and photographer Brian McCarty are judging short animation.

Two cinematography juries, one for feature films and one for documentaries, feature six more distinguished artists: designer and documentary director Arnold Schwartzman, cinematographers Anette HaellmigkAlan CaudilloAttila Szalay, and David Frederick, and concept designer and illustrator, Milena Zdravkovic.

Meet the 15th SEEfest Jury here.

Filmmaker news: Another successful writer

 

 

 

 

 

Filmmaker Varta Torossian, who participated in SEEfest Accelerator this year to hone her pitching skills, entered the ISA Pitch Challenge (International Screenwriters Association) and was selected as a finalist. Congrats to Varta, and good luck with the next step!

Learn about more new creative voices here.

 

Films from the archives: Mexico in the Balkans!

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy this entertaining documentary by Slovenian filmmaker Miha Mazzini about the unique YuMex, Yugoslav Mexico musical craze in communist Yugoslavia. The film is 45 minutes long and it is available for free on YouTube.

Watch on YouTube

 

SUPPORT SEEFEST

If you like our programming orientation and the cultural mission of SEEfest, consider making a donation to support our work. Thank you!

FRIENDS OF SEEFEST

LaemmleLumiere CinemaThe Frida Cinema, and New Filmmakers L.A. each offer a wide variety of films for you to stream online.

 

SEEfest program and activities are supported, in part, by the California Arts Council, a state agency; Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture; and by an Arts Grant from the City of West Hollywood. Special thanks to ELMA, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for their continued support of our programs.

Follow SEEfest on Instagram and Facebook where we post SEE news as it happens!

Tickets Are On Sale Now For All Screenings And Events

SEEfest 2019 Kicks Off in 2 Weeks

SEEfest 2019 Cinema of Audacity, May 1-8, 2019Tickets are on sale now for all SEEfest 2019 features, shorts programs, and special events. Screenings will take place in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Echo Park and other locations — find all the venues here and don’t forget to go Metro! Plan your trip using the Trip Planner on the venue page.

This year’s SEEfest, running May 1-8, will explore the theme of cinematic audacity by drawing attention to filmmakers whose works grapple with complex existential, ethical, and historical questions in innovative, and provocative ways. You can secure your festival pass now on Eventbrite.

 

A SAMPLING OF SEEFEST PREMIERES!

See more of the festival lineup online and get your festival pass and single tickets today on Eventbrite. 

I Act, I AmI ACT, I AM
Los Angeles Premiere!
Bosnia Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia
Director: Miroslav Mandic

May 9 at 9:30 pm at Laemmle Music Hall Beverly Hills

Talk about method acting! Three stories examine, through actors, the paradox of life stripped bare of societal constraints. In each story, an actor is either researching or playing a role, eventually beginning to live the life of the character.

Watch the trailer and get tickets here

Borders, RaindropsBORDERS, RAINDROPS 
North American Premiere!
Bosnia Herzegovina
Directors: VLASTIMIR SUDAR, NIKOLA MIJOVIĆ

May 6 at 9 pm at Laemmle Music Hall Beverly Hills

Jagoda, a city girl, is on a summer visit to her extended family in the Balkan countryside overlooking the Adriatic. Her presence awakens hope, love, and the sense of mystery.

Watch the trailer and get tickets here. 

Occupied CinemaOCCUPIED CINEMA
North American Premiere!
Serbia
Director: 
SENKA DOMANOVIĆ

May 6 @ 8 pm at Echo Park Film Center

An engrossing documentary about guerrilla action initiated by young activists taking over a long-abandoned privatized cinema in Belgrade. The occupation revitalizes the cinema over the course of a year with 500 screenings, dozens of concerts and public discussions, and participation from hundreds of artists, activists, and filmmakers.

Watch the trailer and get tickets here

 

What Does “Premiere” Mean?

Do you know precisely what it means when a screening is labeled as a Premiere?

World Premiere: first official screening of the film.

International Premiere: first screening outside the country of origin. And also the first festival screening.
SEEfest is proud to be screening many North American premieres such as Occupied Cinema and Borders, Raindrops mentioned above.
Learn more in this article about the various levels of Premieres and what they mean.

 

SEEFEST SPONSORS

SEEfest program and activities are supported, in part, by the California Arts Council, a state agency; Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; and presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division. Special thanks to ELMA for continued support of our programs.

First Peek at SEEfest Film Highlights!

SEEfest is excited to unveil the first batch of films for the 14th annual festival! This year’s SEEfest, running May 1-8, will explore the theme of cinematic audacity by drawing attention to filmmakers whose works grapple with complex existential, ethical, and historical questions in innovative, and provocative ways. You can secure your festival pass now on Eventbrite

Just a few of the 56 films in competition: 

The DelegationThe Delegation
North American premiere!

Bujar Alimani’s multiple award-winning powerhouse of a film from Albania probes the layers of oppression between a prisoner and his unlikely entourage in what is essentially a first-rate road movie, or as Cineuropa describes, “a dark, absurdist comedy as it depicts how the officials try to uphold a system that is obviously in the process of falling apart.” Winner of the Grand Prix at Warsaw International Film Festival, Trieste Award for Best Feature Film, as voted for by the audience, and the PAG Jury Award at Trieste International Film Festival

Re-Generation #SEEfest2019Re-Generation
West Coast Premiere!

Emir Kapetanovic’s documentary about a group of Bosnian adolescents from all ethnic groups in search of a future that is not held hostage by the past. 

 

 

Crush My Heart - #SEEfest2019Crush My Heart
North American Premiere!

The first feature by Slovakian director Alexandra Makarova is an Austrian Romeo and Juliet love story with Roma protagonists. Winner of “Best Screenplay” and “Audience Award” at European festivals, SEEfest welcomes the North American premiere!

 

 

Together - #SEEfest2019Together
North American Premiere!

Emotionally charged story of a gay Slovenian man who fights for custody of his deceased partner’s daughter tackles persistent prejudice and social obstacles facing same-sex couples.

 

 

Scopophilia - #SEEfest2019

Scopophilia
West Coast Premiere!

From Greece, Natalia Lampropoulou and Ilektra Aggeletopoulou create a slick homage to Hitchcock’s Rear Window, using a webcam app on the computer.

 

 

Prisoner of Society - #SEEfest2019Prisoner of Society
North American Premiere!

Winner of numerous Oscar® qualifying awards and the first Georgian short documentary to be nominated for European Film Academy Awards, Rati Tsiteladze’s Prisoner of Society is a beautiful portrait of a transgender man who can’t leave home.

 

 

Pre-Festival Event

Before SEEfest kicks off on May 1st, join us on April 17th at the West Hollywood Library for the literary and cultural salon Audacious Storytellers, with a thought-provoking interdisciplinary discussion of audacity in all of its forms. Through personal anecdotes, literary perspectives, and geopolitical histories, the panel will discuss the nature of audacity in an area of the world where borders continuously challenge national and cultural paradigms. Presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division. Click here to RSVP. 

Stay tuned for more announcements about the Opening and Closing Night films, a new sci-fi sidebar program, full film lineup, and the Business of Film Conference!

 

Community Partner Spotlight: International Documentary Association 

International Documentary AssociationOn March 19th, join the IDA for a special 20th-anniversary of Doug Block’s 1999 documentary Home Page, which explored the emerging culture of the internet and led directly to the formation of The D-Word. The event will begin at 800 Degrees from 5:30 pm with a mixer, continuing with a special screening of Home Page at 8 pm at the historic Linwood-Dunn Theater. Director and D-Word founder Doug Block will be present for a Q&A after the film, moderated by former IDA Board President and longtime D-Word co-host Marjan Safinia. More details and tickets here.

 

SEEfest program and activities are supported, in part, by the California Arts Council, a state agency; Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; and presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division.

Gyula Gazdag receives Lifetime Achievement Award in Budapest

We are delighted to share with SEEfest fans the news from Budapest where our festival’s long time friend and renowned filmmaker, educator and mentor Gyula Gazdag was honored at the Budapest International Documentary Festival with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Congratulations! 

Gyula Gazdag is a professor at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He has served as the Artistic Director of the Sundance Filmmakers Lab since 1997. Gazdag has been a creative advisor at the Maurits Binger Film Institute in Amsterdam since 2002, and at the Script Station of the Berlinale Talent Campus since 2006. Daily Variety selected him as one of the ten best film teachers of 2011. His numerous feature films include A Hungarian Fairy Tale, winner of Best Feature Film of the Year of the Hungarian Film Critics and screened at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, Stand Off, winner of a Special Jury Prize at the San Sebastian Festival, Lost Illusions, winner of Best Screenplay at the Hungarian Film Week, Swap, Singing on the Treadmill, which was banned in Hungary for 10 years, and The Whistling Cobblestone, which was banned from foreign exhibition for 12 years. His documentary work includes The Banquet, Package Tour and The Resolution, which was named one of the 100 best documentaries of all time by the International Documentary Association, and The Selection.The latter two were also banned in Communist Hungary for more than a decade.

SEEfest was honored to have Gyula Gazdag on the jury for Best Documentary Film, and as festival advisor and cultural ambassador. Most recently SEEfest presented Gazdag’s influential documentary, Package Tour at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in November 2017. 

Greg Irwin: Narrative Documentary Programmer

SEEfest Staff Writer | March 23, 2015, 8:35 AM

 

Gregory Irwin is a screenwriter and documentarian currently working with USC Shoah Foundation, an academic institute founded by Steven Spieberg, to assemble and distribute an archive of over 53,000 audiovisual testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides.greg

In addition to his filmmaking pursuits, he presently focuses on coordinating an overhaul of the Institute’s annual Student Voices Film Contest, and constructing videos for its various educational and research endeavors.

 

Programming SEEfest’s narrative documentary category has been an absolute treat for him: so many fascinating, relatable human stories and so many new discoveries about the rich beauty and culture of southeast Europe. He’s thrilled to share this year’s documentary slate with festival attendees, and to get to experience these films alongside audiences who’ve never seen them before.

 
 
 
 
 


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It’s Open Season For “Love Hunter”

SEEfest Staff Writer | March 3, 2015, 5:10 PM

 

Critically Acclaimed Indie Film To Have Limited Theatrical Release in the US and Canada, Opens in Los Angeles at Laemmle Music Hall Theater, March 13-19, 2015

“Love Hunter,” the musical/comedy/drama by Serbian born NY based filmmakers Nemanja Bala and Branislav “Brane” Bala, will embark on a North American tour beginning Valentine’s Day in Chicago.

The critically acclaimed film, starring Serbian rock star Milan Mumin, Jelena Stupljanin and Eleanor Hutchins, has screened at several international film festivals. The film opened theatrically in Chicago on February 14 at the Gene Siskel Film Center with additional dates on February 17 and18; Los Angeles, March 13-19 at Laemmle Music Hall Theater; San Francisco, March 5 at Roxie Theater; Washington D.C., March 5 at West End Cinema; and Toronto, March 14 at The Royal. Additional cities to be announced shortly.

“Love Hunter” first premiered in New York on November 14, 2014 and was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, naming it “one of the most refreshing New York independent films since Ramin Bahrani’s Man Push Cart.” Hollywood Reporter described the film as “highly enjoyable” and “a highlight” of the Warsaw International Film Festival.

The film chronicles a month in the life of singer/songwriter Milan Mumin, frontman of the seminal Serbian rock band ‘Love Hunters’ that gave a voice to a generation of young Serbians during the turbulent 1990s. Now, ten years later, we find Milan driving a taxi in New York City and cobbling together funds for a studio session to make his dream album – to be recorded and released in America. When his bass guitar player suddenly quits, he finds a talented but prickly replacement and romantic interest, in a free-spirited guitarist named Kim. Just as rehearsals start to pick up steam, Milan’s longtime Serbian girlfriend Lela arrives with very different plans for their future. She wants him to come home to Serbia where his reputation will let him be anything he wishes, but Milan is determined to make his recording in America, at any cost.

The film mirrors the real life of New York City-based Milan Mumin, Serbian musician, composer, singer, songwriter, performance artist, and cab driver. Milan gained recognition for his work in 1995, when his group ‘Love Hunters’ won the Band of the Year Award in Serbia. In 1997 and 2000, he was voted the country’s Person of the Year. He has released 10 albums with ‘Love Hunters’ and in 2009 released his first U.S. album ‘Asthma Sky,’ featuring his American band ‘The Undercover Maniacs.’ www.milanmumin.com

Filmed entirely in New York City, in between real cab rides with a documentary-like crew, “Love Hunter” was directed and written by brothers Nemanja and Branislav “Brane” Bala, and produced by Nemanja and Branislav “Brane” Bala with Fay Ann Lee and their fellow alumni from Columbia Film School, Bogdan George Apetri (director of photography) and Biljana Ilic.

Kino Lorber will release the film on VOD on March 17, and DVD/Netflix on April 15.

Trailer: http://vimeo.com/111320885

Press Kit and Photos: http://lovehunterfilm.com/

US • 2014 • 86 minutes • English/Serbian

 

 

 


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SEEfest Documentary Programmers Celebrate their Newest Film

Vera Mijojlic | December 7, 2014, 7:27 PM

 

It is with great pleasure that we announce that our friends, fellow SEEfest volunteers, Tina Mascara and Guido Santi are celebrating the theatrical release of their newest documentary, Monk with a Camera, a film about the life and journey of Nicholas Vreeland. It will be opening this coming Friday, December 12th at Laemmle Royal Theater. There will be Q&A with Nicholas Vreeland and the filmmakers at 2:55, 5:20 and 7:45.

Get your tickets now!

 

MONK WITH A CAMERA chronicles the life and spiritual quest of Nicholas (Nicky) Vreeland, who for the past twenty-eight years, has been a Tibetan Buddhist monk. The son of a United StatesAmbassador, grandson of legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, and a photographer by trade, Nicky left his privileged life behind to follow his true calling. He moved to India, cutting his ties with society, photogrMonk with a Cameraaphy, and his pleasure-filled world, to live in a monastery with no running water or electricity. There he would spend the next 14 years studying to become a monk. Then in one of life’s beautiful twists, Nicky went back to the worldly pursuit of photography in order to help his fellow monks rebuild their mnastery, one of the most important of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. His journey from being a photographer to becoming a monk and, most recently, to being appointed as the abbot of the monastery he helped to rebuild, are the core of the story.

Guido and Tina were last year’s documentary programmers for the festival. Guido Santi started his career directing narrative short films for Italian television and working with director Ermanno Olmi’s group of young filmmakers, Ipotesi Cinema. After receiving his Master’s degree in Film at USC, he produced and directed TV specials and documentaries.

Tina Mascara started her career making narrative feature films, “Jacklight” and “Asphalt Stars”. In 2006, Tina co-founded Asphalt Stars Productions with Guido Santi and embarked on her first documentary film, the critically acclaimed and awards winning “Chris & Don: A Love Story” released by Zeitgeist Films in 2008.

 

See Nicholas Vreelands’ website here. http://nicholasvreeland.com

Review from Variety.

Nicholas Vreeland’s interview with NPR.

 

Follow the film:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/monkwithacamera

Twitter: @monkwithacamera

Don’t miss this exciting film!

 

 

 

 


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