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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. 

Southeast European Animation Day – March 25 at East L.A. College

SEEfest has partnered with East Los Angeles College and Cinema Without Borders to present on Saturday, March 25 the Southeast European Animation Day.

Join us for a day of delightfully entertaining animated shorts and chat with well-known animation experts.

FREE event. RSVP: [email protected] or call 310 422 4629.

WHEN: Saturday, March 25th, from 11:30am – 3:00PM
WHERE: East Los Angeles College, Music Recital Hall theater (Building S2)
1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park, CA 91754.
PARKING: Free parking in Structure #3 (off of Avenida Cesar Chavez) or Structure #4 (corner of Floral and Collegiate Avenues)

For details about the program check this article on Cinema Without Borders portal

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Get your festival pass for SEEfest 2017, opening April 27 at the Writers Guild Theater! We have eight days of screenings, panels, events, parties, and special guests. Book your 8-Day Full Access Festival PASS here.

Serbian-American VR Wunderkind at Tribeca

Only a year ago at Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier did Milica Zec present a short narrative piece called “Giant.” By this Spring she, together with her partner, Winslow Turner Porter III, has become a fixture on the festival circuit with stops at Cannes and now Tribeca. At Tribeca Milica will present “Tree,” which premiered earlier this year.

“See and feel what it is like to become a tree in this haptically enhanced VR experience. With your arms as the branches and your body as the trunk, you experience the growth from a seedling to its fullest form, taking on its role in the majestic rain forest and witnessing its fate firsthand.”

If you live in New York City, don’t miss the opportunity to experience Milica’s work and meet her in person. She’s quite charming! 

More about the Virtual Arcade at Tribeca 

More about Milica Zec and TREE 

 

 

 

 


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Hungarian, Romanian and Croatian Films Win Prizes in Berlin

Congratulations to Eastern European women filmmakers on their great success at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale. Golden Bear for best film went to Hungarian feature On Body and Soul directed by Ildiko Enyedi, a filmmaker returning to form after 18-year long hiatus. All winners from Eastern Europe are women, another first. Here’s the list: 

HungarianOn Body and Soul  won the top prize, GOLDEN BEAR. Directed by Ildiko Enyedi.

Polish director Agnieszka Holland was awarded the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for Pokot (Spoor).

Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution went to Romanian sound designer Dana Bunescu, who worked on Ana, Mon Amour (directed by Calin Peter Netzer)

Croatian filmmaker Eva Cvijanovic won GENERATION KPLUS Special Mention for her short stop-motion film, Hedgehog’s Home

Another Croatian filmmaker, Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic, whose Eye for an Eye was featured last year at SEEfest 2016, won GENERATION 14PLUS Special Mention for her new short, U Plavetnilo (Into the Blue)

More on the 2017 Berlinale

Prizes of the International Jury

Awards in the Generation Section 

Have you attended Berlinale? Let us know what your favorite films were on our Facebook page!

 

 


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WHAT’S AN OFFICIAL OSCAR PARTY? FLY TO NEW YORK AND LONDON TO FIND OUT!

Two Academy-hosted Oscar-viewing parties will be held in New York and London for Academy members and invited film industry guests on Oscar Sunday, February 26. The awards show live broadcast begins at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT/00 GMT.

Oscar Night London, supported by Rolex, will take place at Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel and feature a midnight feast, complete with espresso martinis. In New York the party is taking place at the Rainbow Room on the 65th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Executive Chef Jim Botsacos is preparing an ‘inspired menu’.

Viewers in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide are expected to watch the show. 

 

More on the Oscars

THE OSCARS: HOLLYWOOD STREET CLOSURES

Oscars Governors Ball Menu 2017

Are you planning to watch the Academy Awards on Sunday? Let us know on our Facebook page!

 


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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.

 

 

graduation

GRADUATION (BACALAUREAT)

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.
Feature
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

 

 

death-in-sarajevo

DEATH IN SARAJEVO (SMRT U SARAJEVU)

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.
Feature
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:

 

BALKAN SURVEY

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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Cinema Under Siege – UC Berkeley, 10/7/16

SEEfest Staff Writer | October 20, 2016, 2:11 PM

 

SEEfest’s friend Fareed Ben-Youssef, Chancellor Fellow in PhD Program in Film & Media at UC Berkeley, coordinated a lovely event image5earlier this month: “Cinema Under Siege: The Sarajevo Film Festival and the Question of Curatorial Responsibility.” It was held on UC Berkeley’s campus on October 7th, 2016, and attracted a very successful turn-out.

 

The event included a discussion with Elma Tataragic, a successful programmer who worked on the Sarajevo Film Festival during wartime in the 1990’s and all subsequent 21 iterations. This was followed by a screening of The Diplomat, a reflective documentary about the life of former US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, directed by his son, David Holbrooke, who was present for a Q&A following the film.

image-from-event-3
Thought provoking and all too rare are these discussion of cinema and curation as art forms which carry with them a unique type of accountability. This event touched upon just that and much more in what was surely a thoughtful evening of audience participation and artistic reflection.

 

 

Here, in Fareed’s own words, is a review:

We began the evening with Elma’s discussing everyday life during the Siege as well as the urge to preserve a sense of normalcy. Then, she detailed the history of the film festival’s first iteration and considered the question of her curatorial responsibility to the city and its history. The audience asked her to further elaborate on her feelings leaving the city during festival preparation (which sparked an account of how she longed to return to Sarajevo) as well as her thoughts on cinema as a mode of grieving and healing.

 

David Holbrooke opened The Diplomat with a passage from Ambassador Richard Holbrooke’s biography wherein he described his less-than-ideal time at UC Berkeley in the sixties – I think Holbrooke the Younger had a much more positive experience!

 

The Q+A with David touched on the question of cinema as a tool of diplomacy as well as his experiences in Sarajevo during the festival. The audience asked for further elaboration on how he visualized the grind of negotiation and another student interested in the diplomacy posed a question on the problem of ambition.

 

Following the event, audience members spoke very highly of the proceedings, especially citing the valuable contextual work that Elma brought to the film. In short, it was a fascinating evening! See the attached photos. Please feel free to share any and all.

 

 

Fareed Ben-Youssef is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Film and Media at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his BA in English Literature with a Film Concentration from Princeton University and his master’s degree in the Film Studies Program in the department of Rhetoric at Berkeley. His dissertation, Visions of Power: Violence, the Law, and the Post-9/11 Genre Film, is concerned with specific moments where genre films (the Western, Film noir, and the Superhero film) disrupt a public discourse shaped by Manichean divisions. His conclusion examines international genre films to show how these texts articulate regional concerns and reflect on the ways in which their respective governments have responded to America’s global War on Terror. Aware of the cross-sections, slippages, and conflicts that exist within the ongoing dialogue between Hollywood entertainment and political discourse in the creation of competing visions of power, his study frames genre as a contested critical site—one of equal interest to politicians and to resistant filmmakers. Vacillating between wielders of state power and its victims, he ultimately shows how genre can serve as an invaluable mode of human rights critique. 

 

 

 

 


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