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Ukraine in the 17th edition of SEEfest

The 2022 South East European Film Festival announces the inclusion of Ukraine in the 17th edition

The 2022 South East European Film Festival announced the inclusion of Ukraine in the program, with two outstanding films, the 2022 Sundance directing award winner Klondike by Maryna Er Gorbach and the US premiere of Blindfold by Taras Dron. Both films focus on ordinary people trying to live their lives under the constant threat of new conflict and war traumas that just won’t go away. 

2022 Sundance directing award winner Klondike by Maryna Er Gorbach

SEEfest is proud to bring to L.A. audiences these remarkable films with strong female characters at the center of the story,” says Vera Mijojlic, founder and director of the festival. “We have previously worked with Maryna Er Gorbach who co-directed, with Mehmet Bahadir Er, 2020 festival entry Omar and Us. We look forward to continuing this collaboration and supporting our colleagues in Ukraine.”

US premiere of Blindfold by Taras Dron

Info about Blindfold is here. Klondike info is here.

Two short animation films from Ukraine are also in the program. The 17th annual edition of the Los Angeles-based film festival is slated to unfold as a hybrid, with in-person as well as virtual screenings on the Eventive platform. 

SEEfest is proudly co-presented by ELMA, the L.A.-based foundation for European Languages and Movies in America

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In Solidarity

Less than a quarter-century since the last deadly fighting was over in Eastern Europe the winds of war have again engulfed the region. Under attack, hundreds of thousands of civilians are fleeing Ukraine and pouring into neighboring countries. Non-Ukrainian residents and Ukrainians alike are seeking shelter in Romania and Poland, and farther afield. The danger of a widening conflict is ominously present.

Please check these two internationally recognized relief organizations working with refugees worldwide:

International Rescue Committee, the IRC, is already working on the ground in Poland; and the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, helping displaced families.

Romania has already accepted a large number of refugees, and the Embassy of Romania, together with the Romanian United Fund, has established Ukrainian Peace Fund to support health facilities with necessary supplies such as medicine, as well as food and hygiene items.

Art, especially visceral cinema such as recent movies by Ukrainian directors, brings us up close to what people on the ground experience. Art by itself may not stop tanks, but it gives the fuel to the human spirit to fight them.

Memorable films from the SEEfest archives

Some of the memorable films from the SEEfest archives about either the societies at war or in the post-conflict state include No Man’s Land, The Cordon, Before the Rain, Borderline Lovers, Kukumi, The Paper Will Be Blue, California Dreamin’, The War is Over, Medal of Honor, Valley of Peace, A Day on the River Drina, Fuse, Sarajevo, My Beautiful Country, Half Shaved, Babai, A Good Wife, Refugee 532, That Trip We Took With Dad, Politiki Kouzina, Omar and Us, Ethnophobia, The Grey War, Men Don’t Cry, The Other Side of Everything, The Diary of Diana B., Zana, So, What’s Freedom?, and Quo Vadis, Aida?

They are mementos of the past that should not be forgotten.

Cover image is a still from Quo Vadis, Aida?

SUPPORT SEEFEST

Not a member yet? Become an art patron with other SEEfest arthouse aficionados in support of great events and programs, as well as our mission to keep you informed about initiatives from our wide network of fellow cultural organizations.

We Welcome YOU!

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.

Slovenian Film Retrospective and Remembering Christo

From the SEEfest archives

In 2011 SEEfest partnered with UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Slovenian Film Center to present the first-ever L.A. retrospective of Slovenian post-WWII cinema. Titled Slovenia Begs to Differ, the program featured VALLEY OF PEACE (Dolina Miru), 1957 Cannes Film Festival’s Best Actor Award for John Kitzmiller in the role of the stranded American paratrooper; and VESNA, 1953 socialist rom-com which was so popular that Slovenia’s highest film honor was also named ‘Vesna;’ The pretty actress Metka Gabrijelčič (pictured above) appeared in two more films before leaving acting for a career in civil engineering!

On the playbill were also THE RAFT OF THE MEDUSA (Splav Meduze, 1980), a whimsical throwback to the dada movement in the Balkan backwaters of the 1920s, when Serbian homegrown Zenitism blew some welcoming breath of fresh air onto the art scene; DANCE IN THE RAIN (Ples v dežju, 1961), an enigmatic drama of love between a brooding young painter and an older actress, played by the lovely Duša Počkaj; and PAPER PLANES (Na papirnatih avionih, 1967), featuring an ad man romancing a young ballerina in the Slovenian Alps.

Ten films were shown at the Billy Wilder Theater housed at the Hammer Museum in Westwood. The films were screened from 35mm archival prints, courtesy of the Slovenian Film Center.

We remember Bulgarian-born artist Christo

Christo was famous for his monumental projects, wrapping landmarks around the world and creating temporary installations such as floating piers, field of umbrellas, or gigantic curtains and pyramid-like structures made of oil barrels. His partner in life and in art, Jeanne Claude, died in 2009. Take a journey through his works and browse the project portfolio.

 

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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SEEfest Volunteer Spotlight – Nejra Kravic

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.

Nejra Kravic

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!

SEEfest Volunteer Spotlight – Alex Blazina

SEEfest cannot exist without the fabulous 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.

Alex Blazina comes to Los Angeles by way of Croatia. He’s studying film at California State University, Los Angeles and is a filmmaker, photographer, and storyteller, whose skills are an ideal match for creating fun, short content for social media. SEEfest is tapping into Alex’s talents for filmmaking to document behind the scene activities as SEEfest 2019 comes into being. You’ll be able to see Alex’s short films on our YouTube Channel, Facebook, and Instagram.

Here’s Alex Blazina, in his own words…

What attracted you to volunteer for SEEfest?

I was born and raised in Croatia, which is in the Southeast of Europe, so I have a strong connection with events and films from that area.

How long have you been involved with SEEfest and the Festival and what volunteer positions have you held?

This is my first volunteer year.

Are you involved in the film industry? If so, what do you do? How did you get started?

I am not involved in the industry. (Editor’s note: take a look at a recent video Alex shot on a road trip.)

What’s your favorite film and why?

Stanley Kubrick – The Shining. It’s a masterpiece that every film student should watch for its amazing cinematography and camera work that we all use today in our films. It is a film that defined the dolly tracking shots and long hallway scenes.

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 Croatia, born and raised. Moved to Britain to study film. Currently, I am in LA, doing a year abroad program studying film as well. What I love about LA is how different it is from other cities. You have everything you want here (sunshine, beach, ocean, mountains, skyscrapers, desert and many more). And also there are a lot cultures here. You meet people from different parts of the world, with great life stories. 

What do you look forward to most about SEEfest2019?

Meeting people from the industry, seeing great films and just helping others find out about our past and culture.

Alex Blazina in front of Disney Hall

Alex Blazina in front of Disney Hall, Los Angeles

 

Please say hello in the comments and welcome to Alex Blazina 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!

SEEfest Volunteer Spotlight – Izaura Avitia

SEEfest cannot exist without the fabulous volunteers who are working behind the scenes day in and day out, especially between January and May. It’s high time we put turned the spotlight on these dedicated cinephiles who make the annual festival a reality.

To kick off the series of posts, we’re pleased to introduce you to Izaura Avitia, a new addition to the SEEfest Team and intern for this 2019 season. (more…)

SEEfest’s Passport to Trieste Festival Opens on April 26th, 2018

SEEfest’s Passport to Trieste Takes Angelenos on a Cinematic Journey to South East Europe

The 13th annual South East European Film Festival (SEEfest), April 26 – May 3, brings a large selection of feature, documentaries and short films to the Writers Guild Theater, Laemmle Music Hall and West Hollywood Council Chambers/Library campus, highlighting a bygone era of 100 years ago centered around Trieste, once a major port of the Habsburg empire and a magnet for artists like Rilke and Joyce.  

 As a crossroads between Austrian, Italian, Slavic and Jewish cultures on the peripheries of Habsburg Austria, modern Italy, and the Balkan Peninsula, Trieste has been defined by its proximity to borders erased and redrawn with unusual frequency. 

Contested and contemplated by poets, scholars, novelists, and filmmakers, it has been depicted as a microcosm of plurinational civility, an uncanny non-place or as a site of mystery and political intrigue, in works of narrative fiction and non-fiction that blur the line between myth and reality. 

SEEfest invites you to reflect on this city as a metaphor for the ironies, uncertainties and possibilities that characterize not only the South East European experience, but many facets of our global age; shifting and disappearing borders, fervent nationalisms, placeless places and the multiplicity of identities that are confluent, and sometimes conflicting, in us all.

Festival visitors will be given the facsimile of a passport book and receive a stamp at each event they attend during the program, with prizes awaiting those completing the entire journey.

Irina Maleeva presents “Gypsy in my Soul”

Pre-festival events include musical theater Gypsy in My Soul starring Irina Maleeva on April 6, 7:30 PM at the WACO Theater Center in North Hollywood, featuring memorable songs and dances from the Gypsy musical tradition. Tickets for this one-night-only show are available on Eventbrite

Trieste Literary Salon is on April 17 at 7 PM at the West Hollywood Council Chambers with UCLA professor Thomas Harrison, author of “1910” in conversation with John Agnew, distinguished professor of Political Geography; Tzvi Rafael Rivlin, Trieste cultural scholar from Montreal, Quebec; Nina Bjekovic, PhD candidate in Italian studies researching the literature of prominent authors of the Slovene minority in Northern Italy; and moderator MariaCristina Heller, Trieste-born actress and journalist. 

RSVP is required for the Trieste Literary Salon. Tickets are free.

Trieste

Featured Films

Highlights of the festival include documentary film Trieste, Yugoslavia by Alessio Bozzer about the 1970-1990 shopping bonanza when Yugoslavs traveled to Trieste in droves to buy jeans and other coveted Western garments; The Nearest Elsewhere. A Journey to Slovenia, by Elisabetta Sgarbi, traveling to Trieste’s next-door neighbor Slovenia.

Men Don’t Cry is the debut feature by Bosnian filmmaker Alen Drljevic about war veterans in a group therapy for PTSD; Bulgarian WWI satire Enemies by Svetislav Ovcharov; The Miner from Slovenia, Hanna Slak’s thriller-like exploration of dark secrets from the past; Twice Upon a Time animated delight about a king with a split personality by the multi-talented Vojin Vasovic; and documentary The Other Side of Everything, portrait of a country by Mila Turajlic (Cinema Komunisto), winner of the top award at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam.

The specific brand of humor and zest for life against all odds make these stories universal, transcending language and borders. They open doors into another experience altogether and by taking us on a journey halfway across the globe help us to better understand challenges in our own backyard.

Festival passes, and tickets to pre-festival events are available on https://seefest18.eventbrite.com

About the South East European Film Festival (SEEfest)

SEEfest presents the cinematic and cultural diversity of South East Europe to American audiences and creates cultural connections through films, artistic and social events. It was founded in 2006 by Vera Mijojlić, long-time film critic, and cultural entrepreneur.  

Not a Cine-Fan yet? Join SEEfest today!

Become a Cine-Fan and engage with other SEEfest members, make new friends and join the journey of cinematic and cultural discovery.  Cine-Fan Members receive a 20% discount on Festival Passes and Tickets.

Annual General Membership is $55. Student membership is $30. All are welcome! Click here to join today. THANK YOU!

The 13th Edition of SEEfest kicks off on April 26, 2018!

Mindset that knows no borders: Interview with Otto Banovits

Online cultural magazine Transatlantic Panorama (TAP) has just published an interview with film director Otto Banovits, whose short film Donkey Xote won Best Short Film Award at SEEfest 2017. He talks about his migratory life that took him from Sweden to Hungary to England and Los Angeles, and how this journey informed his work – and his mindset that knows no borders. Interviewed by Bettina Botos, publisher of TAP, Banovits touches upon many themes including, among others, form vs. content, quotes Hungarian writer István Eörsi, and references the 2016 Oscar-winning film Son of Saul by László Nemes when talking about the fate of refugees. You can read the entire interview here

 

 

Meet Festival Programmers June 3rd, Columbia College Hollywood

Our friends from the Valley Film Festival have organized a Panel with festival programmers on Saturday, 6/3. This event is FREE to attend. Tickets are available at FilmFreeway. Location: Columbia College Hollywood, 18618 Oxnard Street, Los Angeles, California 91356. Moderator: Ken Storer, Writer, Law and Order, Special Victims Unit. 

Dances with Films (@DancesWithFilms) June 1-11, 2017 @ TCL, Hollywood

DTLA Film Festival (@dtlaff) September 21-30, 2017 @ Regal Cinemas, Downtown LA

Hollywood Shorts (@hollywoodshorts) Monthly @ The Attic, Hollywood

LA Film Festival (@filmindependent) June 14-22, 2017 @ ArcLight Cinemas, Culver City

SEE Fest (@seefilmla) April 2018 @ Various Venues (West Hollywood & Beverly Hills)

The Valley Film Festival (@ValleyFilmFest) October 25-29, 2017 @ Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood 

Schedule:

5:00pm – Network with peers & colleagues over complimentary tea, coffee, and green drinks from our generous sponsors:

Pete’s Coffee in Tarzana – @PeetsCoffee

David’s Tea in Woodland Hills – @davidstea

Troy Casey in Los Angeles – @Mr.Healthnut

5:30pm – Panel Discussion on Programming + Screening of Selected Shorts

7:30pm – More networking over pizza, courtesy of The Valley Film Festival (@valleyfilmfest), and salad donated by Stonefire Grill (@stonefiregrill)

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Whether you are a professional in the film industry, a student of the arts, or a lover of foreign films, SEEfest is your cultural hub. 

Become a Cine-Fan and engage with other SEEfest members, make new friends and join the journey of cinematic and cultural discovery.

Annual General Membership is $55. Student membership is $30. Click here to join today.