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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About How the Academy’s Foreign Language Award Works

Legendary cinematographer John Bailey (American Gigolo, Ordinary People, Groundhog Day, As Good as it Gets, Mishima: Life in Four Chapters) who has twice honored us at SEEfest to serve on our jury for Best Cinematography,
gives a detailed account about the selection process for the foreign language Oscar® candidates.

In his popular John’s Bailiwick blog on the ASC site he writes about the stages in the selection process, followed by a list of some of the movies from previous years including, we’re happy to say, one from our own SEE director, Oscar®-winner Danis Tanovic (Bosnia Herzegovina) whose An Episode in the Life of an Iron icker was shortlisted a couple of years ago. Tanovic previously won the Oscar® in 2002 for No Man’s Land.

Read more here.




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SEE Region Actress to Produce and Star in New CBS Show

SEEfest Staff Writer | December 8, 2016, 7:15 PM


Congrats to Serbian-born actress Bojana Novakovic for landing a major TV role on an as-yet untitled comedy TV show on CBS. 

Bojana Novakovic moved from Belgrade to Australia at the age of 7. She graduated from NIDA with a BA in Dramatic Arts in 2002 and has been creating a name for herself as an actress ever since. Her most recent accomplishment is an executive producer and starring performance role on a new, untitled CBS show. SEEfest is proud to see an actress from the SEE region doing so successfully!

Click here to read a full article about the new show.


Mandatory Credit: Photo by MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock (5706210o) Bojana Novakovic 2nd Annual Art for Animals Fundraiser Evening For Eastwood Ranch Foundation, Los Angeles, America - 04 Jun 2016

Mandatory Credit: Photo by MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock (5706210o)
Bojana Novakovic
2nd Annual Art for Animals Fundraiser Evening For Eastwood Ranch Foundation, Los Angeles, America – 04 Jun 2016




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SEEfest Hosting 2 Films at AFI Fest 2016

Vera Mijojlic | November 3, 2016, 12:28 PM


This year, SEEfest will be hosting two South East European films at the 2016 AFI Fest, Graduation and Death in Sarajevo. Both are fantastic films by phenomenally prominent South East European directors, and the SEEfest family could not be more proud to be associated with them at AFI this year.

The AFI Festival 2016 will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood from November 10th-17th, and tickets are free on a first come first served basis.





Director: Cristian Mungiu
Screenwriter: Cristian Mungiu
Producer: Cristian Mungiu
Executive Producer: Tudor Reu
Director of Photography: Tudor Vladimir Panduru
Editor: Mircea Olteanu
Production Designer: Simona Pădurețu
Cast: Adrian Titieni, Maria Drăguș, Lia Bugnar, Mălina Manovici, Vlad Ivanov, Gelu Colceag, Rareș Andrici, Petre Ciubotaru

Romania, 2016
128 min.
World Cinema Section

When a doctor’s bright young daughter is assaulted the day before her final exams, he will do anything to make sure her scholarship to Cambridge isn’t jeopardized.

Romeo, a middle-aged doctor living in the Romanian city of Cluj, is faced with a brutal moral dilemma. His bright young daughter, Eliza, is on the cusp of receiving a scholarship to Cambridge — she just needs to ace her final exam to secure her placement at the prestigious British university. When Eliza is assaulted the day before her exam, suddenly the likelihood of her passing the test with flying colors grows dim. Desperate to see his daughter leave the corrupt and dysfunctional Cluj and start a life of opportunity in the UK, Romeo begins the precarious dance of pulling strings around town with various higher-ups to make sure Eliza receives the marks she needs. Romanian master and AFI FEST alum Cristian Mungiu again crafts a deft, slow-burn social thriller that exposes the diseased nature of the system and how it infects everyone operating within it. With Mungiu’s signature long takes, and a finely modulated performance by Adrien Titieni as Romeo, GRADUATION is a film not only about corruption but also the grey areas of parenting and family striving. — Beth Hanna





Director: Danis Tanović
Screenwriter: Danis Tanović
Producer: Francois Margolin, Amra Bakšić Čamo
Director of Photography: Erol Zubčević
Editor: Redžinald Šimek
Production Designer: Mirna Ler
Music: Mirza Tahirović
Cast: Jaques Weber, Snežana Vidović, Izudin Bajrovic, Vedrana Seksan, Muhamed Hadžović, Faketa Salihbegović-Avdagić, Edin Avdagić, Aleksandar Seksan

France l Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2016
85 min.
World Cinema Section

Director Danis Tanović turns the luxurious Hotel Europa in the heart of Sarajevo into an ideological battleground in this Silver Bear winner out of the Berlinale.

In 1914, a Serbian man named Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, kicking off the chain of events that led to World War I. One hundred years later, during a centennial commemoration of those events, Academy Award®-winning director Danis Tanović turns the luxurious Hotel Europa in the heart of Sarajevo into an ideological battleground. As visiting luminaries arrive for the ceremony, a looming hotel-worker strike pits a furious staff against management’s underhanded cronies, while elsewhere, arguments about the region’s turbulent history of violent conflict — beginning with Princip’s fateful act — threaten to reach a dangerous boiling point. Tanović’s sublimely fluid camera glides through every corner of the expansive hotel, breathlessly capturing the escalating tensions with virtuosic panache. The film, a potent reminder that our unstable present has deep roots in the past, won the Silver Bear at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. — Mike Dougherty




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57th Annual Thessaloniki Film Festival Begins This Week

SEEfest Staff Writer | November 1, 2016, 4:06 PM


This week kicks off the 57th Annual Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece. The festival is held at the Olympion Theater- a magnificent piece of architecture which was built in the 1920’s and sits in the center of the city. Every year hundreds of films are shown at the festival, and this year introduces new program sections and welcomes three films of the Official Competition of the European Parliament’s Lux Prize.

It’s a special festival that’s consistently celebrated much talent over the years. Among this talent is Dimitri Kerkinos who has been showcasing Balkan cinema for years, and consistently brings selections of the SEE region’s finest films to the TIFF audience.

Below, you will find info from TIFF on the Balkan Survey program:



For 23 years the Thessaloniki International Film Festival’s Balkan Survey section, curated by Dimitri Kerkinos, has been showcasing the best samples of the Balkan area’s film production. A variety of film genres and styles coupled with a genuinely engaging approach of contemporary issues describe this year’s Balkan offerings. The 57th TIFF Balkan Survey also celebrates the work of Turkish auteur Zeki Demirkubuz by presenting -for the first time internationally- a full retrospective of his films. The filmmaker will be in Thessaloniki to introduce his work to the Festival’s audience.


Directors in attendance also include Cristi Puiu (Romania), Paul Negoescu (Romania), Reha Erdem (Turkey), Bariş Kaya (Turkey), Faton Bajraktari(UNMI Kosovo), Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu (Moldavia) and Petar Valchanov (Bulgaria), whose new films will also be screened in the 57th TIFF.


Zeki Demirkubuz Tribute

Sometimes I think that if it wasn’t for jail, I would not be a filmmaker.” -Zeki Demirkubuz


Pioneer of the new Turkish independent cinema Zeki Demirkubuz was born in Isparta, Turkey, in 1964. Following the 1980 military coup, his left-wing beliefs led him to prison for three years, at age 17. It was there that he found inspiration in the work of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and went on to create film characters born and bred in the Turkish society. Demirkubuz’s cinema is deeply existential and contemplative; it elegantly reflects class and sex discriminations with exceptional realism and sensitivity. His films are a multi-faceted examination of both the Turkish society and the human psyche.


Demirkubuz began his film career as assistant director to Zeki Ökten in 1986, and worked as such for various filmmakers until making his feature film debut Block C (1994), about a middle-class housewife struggling to escape from her boring life and society’s conflicting expectations of the role of women. The film established Demirkubuz’s style and themes. After this, he continued to work as an independent filmmaker writing his own original screenplays.


His second feature Innocence (1997) –a complex study of love, loss and human obsessions-, drew the attention of film critics and international audiences and redefined the melodrama genre, becoming also one of the most influential films in new Turkish cinema. The Third Page (1999) is a film about fate and moral dilemmas that evokes Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment”, featuring another handful of the director’s trademark marginalized characters. Demirkubuz’s “Tales of Darkness” trilogy masterfully explores guilt, morality and freedom in three riveting films: Fate (2001) –loosely based on Camus’ “The Stranger”-, Confession (2001) and The Waiting Room (2003), which features the director as protagonist. Destiny (2006) traces the characters of Innocence in their youth, introducing us to the chronicle of an unrequited love, where desire haunts everyone’s fate. The intense period drama Envy (2009) captures the darkest side of human emotions, unfolding a tale of beauty and ugliness, jealousy and lust. Inside (2012), a free adaptation of Dostoevsky’s “Notes from Underground”, also delves into the abyss of the soul, focusing on a self-destructive man driven by hatred and revenge. Nausea (2015) is a character study of another disturbing male personality; an emotionless man (played by Demirkubuz himself) who loses his family and surrenders to apathy and meaningless affairs.


The director’s latest film Ember (2016) is another thorough, slow burning examination about a society trapped in the past, confirming once more why Demirkubuz is established as one of the most important filmmakers of the independent European cinema.


With the support of the Culture & Tourism Office of the Turkish Embassy in Athens:  

The Balkan Survey Films:

The Balkan Survey main program presents the latest and most notable works by renowned filmmakers of the region, as well as promising newcomers.

Cristi Puiu returns with Sieranevada (Romania’s official Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film) and zooms in a family that reunites to honour their late patriarch in a meal which keeps getting postponed; people and conversations come and go, while secrets and truths emerge unexpectedly in this comedy/drama with surreal hues. Also from Romania, Bogdan Mirica’s gripping debut Dogs (FIPRESCI prize, Un Certain Regard – Cannes Film Festival) is a violent western about the story of a man who inherits his grandfather’s land in the countryside; soon he will brutally confront the local mafia, whose lord was his deceased relative. Set in 1937, in a sanatorium on the Black Sea coast, Radu Jude’s latest film Scarred Hearts -based on the autobiographical novel from Max Blecher-, is an intriguing drama about a young man suffering from bone tuberculosis; he quickly becomes part of the hospital’s microcosm, where friendship, love and politics thrive despite the circumstances. On a lighter tone, Paul Negoescu’s comedy Two Lottery Tickets is an entertaining road movie in which three friends set off on a journey to retrieve their lost lottery ticket.


Serbian actress Mirjana Karanović makes her directorial debut with the film A Good Wife, where she also stars as the main character; a woman who is devastated to discover that her husband is involved in horrific war crimes.

Reha Erdem’s modern fairytale Big Big World, filled with both beauty and violence, shares the story of a brother and a sister who flee into a dazzling forest after a crime is committed (Special Jury Prize, Venice Horizons-Venice Film Festival). Mehmet Can Mertoğlu’s first feature Album is an irrational comedy that reflects upon the contemporary Turkish society through the story of a couple who try to conceal that they adopted a child (France 4 Visionary Award, Semaine de la Critique-Cannes Film Festival). In Bariş Kaya and Soner Caner’s bittersweet debut Rauf, a young boy embarks on a journey in search of pink fabric for the girl he loves, facing the hardships of the adult world, amidst a turbulent socio-political situation.


An honest man becomes the pawn of a PR plan organized and executed by the government, in Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s Glory; a poignant, tragicomic  satire about politics and corruption.


Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu’s Anishoara observes the life of a teenage girl who falls in love for the first time; an almost silent and truly captivating coming-of-age story, set in the ravishing Moldavian countryside, a place forgotten in time.


Two films of the Balkan Survey section delve into the aftermath of the war. In Zrinko Ogresta’s On the Other Side, a traitor who fought for “the other side” reappears and disrupts his family’s balances in this powerful psychological drama with exemplary script and plot twist (Label Europa Cinemas – Special Mention-Berlin Film Festival / Croatia’s official Oscar submission). Faton Bajraktari’s debut film Home Sweet Home points to the absurdity of the post-war society by unfolding the story of a man considered dead in battle; when he suddenly returns to his family, he realizes that their prosperity relies exclusively on his death (UNMI Kosovo’s official Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language film).


In addition, the Balkan Survey section of the 57th TIFF will present 5 short films that skilfully tackle with various significant themes, such as the refugees issue (A New Home by Žiga  Virc), gender (Transition by Milica Tomovic) and father-son relations (The Beast by Miroslav Sikavica, The Son by Hristo Simeonov), but also shed a humorous light on modern Balkan living (A Night in Tokoriki by Roxana Stroe).





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SEEfest Launches Project Accelerator in April-May 2016

Vera Mijojlic | March 13, 2016, 9:27 PM


Filmmakers To Present Projects to Hollywood Insiders

SEEfest’s 11th edition, April 28 – May 5, will see the launch of an exciting opportunity. International and independent filmmakers with projects in advanced stages of development will have a unique chance to present their projects in front of a panel of judges of Hollywood industry professionals. This jury will subsequently choose a winner for the inaugural “Impact Award.” Accelerator platform was created with a goal to help connect internationally viable projects with Hollywood professionals and to provide guidance for the next stages of development.”

This program connects South East European and independent filmmakers with Hollywood industry people: screenwriters, producers, film financing executives, entertainment attorneys and other successful industry professionals. Vera Mijojlic, founder and director of SEEFest, and Hans-Martin-Liebing who co-founded with her the international project accelerator have launched this initiative to address the lack of opportunity for many filmmakers to pitch their projects to Hollywood insiders and to receive valuable advice on the best ways to make their films commercially viable, accessible to a wider audience and attractive to buyers.

This truly aligns with SEEfest’s mission to bring stories from South East Europe to an international audience. “In order to bring to light the stories that are not usually heard in the media, it is imperative to connect independent and foreign filmmakers with experienced Hollywood professionals who can help steer the projects in the right direction,” says Vera Mijojlic. “Ultimately, the purpose of the accelerator goes hand in hand with our long-term goal to bridge the gap between countries on opposite sides of the world through filmmaking.”





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