Handsome adolescent Arman was adopted as a baby. Soon after his adoption, the parents got a biological son. Arman is constantly fighting the demons of his past, and, at the same time, he tries to protect his younger brother Dado (14) from all the challenges of today’s Sarajevo – drugs, guns, or going to war in the Middle East. The film follows a family struggling with internal tensions while fighting to survive in Bosnia.
THE SON is a second feature for director Ines Tanović. The film is currently playing in the SEEfest virtual cinema.
Full scale 2020 SEEfest program is here!
The full festival program is now online. Our team has worked hard to put together an engaging lineup of features, documentary, and short films. Information about all selected films is available on our website, at seefilmla.org. This year you can binge-watch the entire SEEfest selection of 2020 films. Please note that online viewing will be available for patrons in the U.S. only.
Classic book behind 2020 SEEfest movie: IZA’S BALLAD, by Magda Szabó
We invite you to read the novel that inspired one of this year’s SEEfest films in competition (Pilate). Written by the celebrated Hungarian writer Magda Szabó, the book, titled IZA’S BALLAD in English translation by George Szirtes, is a mother-daughter story that spans the bygone 20th century past and the new utilitarian age of neo-capitalist Hungary. Find the book HERE.
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FRIENDS OF SEEFEST
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.
While the 15th South East European Film Festival is temporarily postponed, we invite you to stay in touch and enjoy some of the films from our past editions online. They are available on Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and some on YouTube (and some for free)! We’ll share updates, tips, and recommendations on Instagram at @seefest and here, on our website.
Stay safe, and we hope you enjoy our movie choices! Be sure to let us know in the comments, which films are your favorites! Check out SEEfest At Home Part 2
This lavishly produced thriller was first screened at the opening of our festival in 2014. The story is told from the point of view of the examining magistrate who was tasked with investigating the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 2014. It perfectly summarized the festival’s theme, “Europe in time of turmoil”, highlighting the turbulent past that looms large over the present.
Directed by Andreas Prochaska. Main cast: Florian Teichtmeister, Jürgen Maurer, Melika Foroutan, Edin Hasanović.
THE WAY I SPENT THE END OF THE WORLD
Shown at SEEfest back in 2007, the film is a bitter-sweet throwback to Romania on the eve of the 1989 revolution, with ordinary people committing small and oftentimes comic acts of defiance while naively dreaming of swimming across the Danube to freedom – or fantasizing about escaping in a submarine.
Directed by Catalin Mitulescu. Main cast: Dorotheea Petre, Timotei Duma, Ionut Becheru, Jean Constantin.
The opening film of the 2017 edition of our festival. While recovering from a homophobia-driven assault, a Croatian professor confronts his own xenophobia after agreeing to help his Serbian neighbor memorize the Croatian constitution for a citizenship exam. An example of a great director-writer pairing (Rajko Grlić and Ante Tomić), this film features three amazing actors from Serbia and Croatia in a very funny and poignant ‘love story about hate.’
Directed by Rajko Grlić. Main cast: Nebojša Glogovac, Ksenija Marinković, Dejan Aćimović.
NO MAN’S LAND
Danis Tanović’s Academy Award®-winning satire of the war in the Balkans is an astounding balancing act, an acidic black comedy grounded in the brutality and horror of war. Stuck in an abandoned trench between enemy lines, a Serb and a Bosnian play the blame game in a comic tit-for-tat struggle while a wounded Bosnian soldier lies helplessly on a land mine. A French tank unit of the U.N.’s humanitarian force (known locally as “the Smurfs”), a scheming British TV reporter, a German mine defuser, and the U.N. high command (led by a bombastically ineffectual Simon Callow) all become tangled in the chaotic rescue as the tenuous cease-fire is only a spark away from detonation. Tanovic directs with a ferocious, angry eloquence and makes his points with vivid metaphors and savage humor as harrowing as it is hilarious. Searing and smart, this satire carries an emotional recoil.– written by Sean Axmaker.
Directed by Danis Tanović. Main cast: Branko Đurić, Rene Bitorajac, Filip Šovagović. SEEfest held a special 10th-anniversary screening of the film in 2012.
THE EYE OF ISTANBUL
The legendary Armenian-Turkish photographer Ara Güler dedicated his life to recording the spirit of one of the most vivid cities on earth: Istanbul. Güler’s colorful life and witty commentary will keep you entertained while you discover the unforgettable vistas and rarely seen corners of the great city. The film, directed by Binnur Karaevli and Fatih Kaymak, screened at SEEfest in 2016.
Become a guest curator for our online edition!
While we all need to do our part and follow the public health guidelines to keep us and others safe, shelter-in-place can be challenging. When you take a break from working remotely or get tired of binge-watching your favorite shows, join the SEEfest community of artists and create a short video, podcast, jingle or cartoon and share with us on Instagram and tag us @seefest or submit to us via the website.
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 Art and Culture; and 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. Special thanks to ELMA, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for their continued support of our programs.
SEEfest cannot exist without the fabulous interns and volunteers who are working behind the scenes day in and day out, especially between January and May. We’re putting the spotlight on these dedicated cinephiles who make the annual festival a reality.
Nejra Kravic comes to Los Angeles by way of Sarajevo. She’s a Media Studies major at Pomona College.
Here’s Nejra, in her own words…
What attracted you to volunteer for SEEfest?
I have volunteered at film festivals before and wanted to continue being a part of a community that cherishes film as an art form, all while bringing together viewers and artists alike.
How long have you been involved with SEEfest and the Festival and what volunteer positions have you held?
This is my first year as an intern at SEE fest and I could not be more excited! I have volunteered at the 2019 festival.
Are you involved in the film industry? If so, what do you do? How did you get started?
I have an enormous interest in the film industry, and besides volunteering for a couple of film festivals and working at Pomona College’s film equipment service, I am also a Media Studies major looking to pursue a professional career within the field.
What’s your favorite film and why?
That might be one of the hardest questions ever! I feel like I am always going through ‘’phases’’ with certain filmmakers and genres. Right now, I am a huge fan of Andrei Tarkovsky, a famous Russian director, and the majority of his filmography. I enjoy the inherent poeticism of his films, as well as his appreciation of one’s relationship with nature.
Tell us a bit about your life: where are you from; what do you do for a living; what do you love about Los Angeles and how long have you lived here?
I am from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and currently a rising junior and an international student at Scripps College in Claremont, California. My favorite part about Los Angeles, besides the incredible weather, is the abundance of things to do around the city. I like going to the movies, exploring museums, bookstores and coffee shops, or simply hanging out with some friends at the beach.
What do you look forward to most about working with SEEfest?
Before becoming an intern at SEE fest, I was always involved with film festivals during the actual event season. I would love to take part in everything that comes prior, and learn more about what it actually takes to keep a film festival running throughout the year.
Please say hello in the comments and welcome to Nejra Kravic to SEEfest!
Click the button below to learn more about becoming a SEEfest Volunteer.
Psst! Please do us a favor and subscribe to the SEEfest YouTube Channel. We’ll be posting a lot more videos there this season!
During the recent Sarajevo Film Festival (sff.ba) Bosnian Film Center announced plans for a new Museum dedicated to the legendary film about the WWII resistance hero, Vladimir Peric, popularly known by his undercover name Walter. He was killed in the final battle for Sarajevo against the Nazi occupying forces in April 1945.
There is a unique cinematic connection to Walter. Quarter century ago Bosnian and Yugoslav director Hajrudin “Siba” Krvavac made the iconic film Walter defends Sarajevo, the third in his trilogy of WWII movies about partisan resistance fighters. Walter has since gained a cult status even in China (“Some 1.3 billion people now live in China and half of them have seen Walter Defends Sarajevo,”) as well as a reference point for defiant Sarajevans during the siege of the city in the 1990s. The closing line of the film, spoken by a Nazi officer looking down on the city from the hillside vintage point, “Das ist Walter,” (“This is Walter”) has become the defining moment to characterize Sarajevo as the city that will always stand tall in face of aggression and injustice.
Jasmin Durakovic, filmmaker and director of the Bosnian Film Center was joined by Alen Cengic, owner of the Park of the Princes restaurant where the press conference about the Museum was held – at the very spot where the iconic ending of the film took place. “Walter Defends Sarajevo has attained the status of a cult achievement of our cinema,” said Durakovic. “This film is one of the few widely recognized and uniquely Sarajevan reference points which is why the Sarajevo Film Center has decided to create the Museum dedicated to the film.”
The Walter Museum is expected to be completed in two months and will be located in the Film Center’s building (former Sutjeska Film Studio) in downtown Sarajevo. On the site of Park of the Princes restaurant overlooking the city a giant mural backdrop commemorates some of the scenes from the film – with Chinese subtitles. Even before the media event was over groups of Chinese tourists flocked to the site and started taking photographs. Young couples with children instantly recognized the imagery from the beloved film of their parents’ generation and enthusiastically confirmed that Walter still holds his immortal cinematic place in the hearts of the Chinese people. Bathed in the afternoon light the city of Sarajevo was lying below, its spirited citizenry in the party mood for the film festival. Yet quiet echoes of the legendary film live on in Sarajevo where one line of a movie dialogue forever defined its unconquered spirit. After all this is not an ordinary city. Das ist Walter.
Hajrudin “Siba” Krvavac (1926 – 1992) is best known for his hugely popular trilogy of war movies about WWII partisans whose heroic resistance became the stuff of legends: The Demolition Squad (Diverzanti, 1967), The Bridge (Most, 1969) and Walter Defends Sarajevo (Valter brani Sarajevo, 1972). Krvavac was also a well known documentary director. He was among the internationally acclaimed Bosnian filmmakers whose movies made the name of the production company Sutjeska Film Sarajevo known well beyond the country’s borders. He died in July 1992 during the Siege of Sarajevo. “However, Krvavac lived long enough to see the people of Sarajevo in 1992 chant, “We Are Walter!” in protest of the conflict.” (wiki)
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
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 (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
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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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 earlier 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.
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.
Support international cinema in Los Angeles and new film talent from South East Europe. Donate here!