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Crash Course: Southeast European Film Festivals

Celia Eydeland | March 28, 2016, 11:26 PM


In the United States, most people know of film festivals such as Cannes, Venice and Toronto; however, little is known about other film festivals due to a lack of coverage by popular U.S media.

Southeast Europe is a region filled with rich history and culture, and home to many exciting film festivals. Here’s a crash course for anyone interested in Southeast cinema, as SEEFest approaches late April.

The Sarajevo Film Festival is considered the biggest and premier film festival in Southeast Europe for over twenty years now. Founded after a tumultuous time in Southeastern European history, following the Bosnian War of Independence, the Sarajevo Film Festival has been bringing international and local filmmakers together every August to celebrate Southeast Europe.

Dokufest is held each year in Kosovo, celebrating international documentaries and short films. The festival was founded in 2002 by a group of friends and has since grown to be an exciting event, bringing international and local audiences, artists and filmmakers together. Dokufest is also held every August, and is generally considered a younger, hipper alternative to the Sarajevo Film Festival.

The Balkan Beyond Border’s Short Film Festival is run by a non-governmental organization in Southeast Europe. The organization aims to provide opportunities for the Balkan youth to come together and promote dialogue and interaction. The goal is to provide the Balkans with “stability, cooperation, and modernization” through its youth, according to their website. The film festival is in its 6th year, and wants filmmakers to submit works that comment on contemporary issues affecting the region.

Held in Greece’s second largest city, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival has become one of the biggest festivals to showcase Balkan films from emerging directors. The festival began in 1992, and holds a wide array of events. This include premiering international and local films, celebrating Greek culture and history, and paying tribute to leading figures in the film community.

Finally, on the other side of the world, you can find a hub for Southeast European culture and films in Los Angeles through the Southeast European Film Festival. SEEFest’s mission is to educate and promote cultural diversity in its representations of Southeast Europe through its film festival and year-round screenings and programs. The festival also holds many opportunities for cultural exchange and communication between Americans and Southeast Europeans. This year’s 11th annual SEEFest will begin April 28 thru May 5.




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