SEE FEST brings two wonderful projects this year as part of the new section, SEE Fest Youth Program. One is Transitland, a most ambitious collection of videos by young artists across Eastern Europe dealing with the issue of profound but painful transition taking place in their societies. Transitland will be introduced by one of its lead curators from Berlin, Kathy Rae Huffman who will attend the festival and moderate discussions with youth from L.A. area schools.
The other project is Crossing Boundaries, a 10-country strong presentation of winning shorts by young artists and curated by ten Goethe-Institute’s centers in Eastern Europe. Professors from UCLA and teachers from Los Angeles area public schools will engage high school students in a discussion about much less visible, but equally strong boundaries that exist between ethnically, linguistically, racially, culturally and otherwise very diverse groups in today’s Los Angeles.
ALIVE! – Albania, 2009, feature- Dir Artan Minarolli
From the director of the elegiac “Moonless night” (SEE Fest 2008) comes a powerful story about blood feud that haunts a young student caught in a web of complicated relationships based on an antiquated code. With excellent ensemble cast and pitch-perfect atmosphere of uncertainty till the very end.
THE OTHER IRINA –Romania, 2009, feature- Dir Andrei Gruzniczki
Irina is a fascinating exploration of human capacity for denial. In one of the finest examples of Romanian minimalist style of filmmaking the film also features a bravura performance by lead actor Andi Vasluianu. Not to be missed!
VOICES UNVEILED – WOMEN WHO DARE -Turkey/USA 2010, feature documentary – Dir Binur Karaevli
The force of nature that are modern Turkish women is the power that grabs the viewer watching this film. Boldly yet eloquently director Karaevli in her debut film unveils what these women are made of and how they succeeded in pursuing their chosen careers against many odds. Fearless and passionate, these women redefine modern female who can be both driven and yet remain feminine.
SECRET YEARS – Hungary 2009, feature documentary, Dir Mariá Takács
The years lesbian women spent hiding their true identities under communism offer a totally different point of view as we look back on that era in Eastern Europe. Double identities adopted by gay people in a system based on dysfunctional double standards brings a profoundly humanistic perspective and wonderful novelty to the tired communism-is-bad genre.
RAPRESENT – Serbia, 2009, documentary short, Dir Ivana Todorovic
A rare totally authentic, no nonsense documentary etude of the highest order about a young, self-destructive graffiti artists living in the streets of Belgrade, homeless, but never hungry; there is a heartbreaking thing or two to be learned about eating food from garbage containers and telling it with disarming honesty and yes, even charm, straight to the camera. Not to be missed!
DREAMERS – Bosnia Herzegovina, 2009, documentary short – Dir Nermin Hamzagic
What are two hip-hop artists to do when the mayor of their small town in Bosnia recognizes himself in their song? The real-life story of the hapless rappers turned into a small cause célèbre and became part of a traveling stage play “Class enemy” about disenfranchised youth in Bosnian schools, thanks to the producing force of the famed theatre director from Sarajevo, Haris Pasovic. After the whirlwind tour however the rappers go back to their town … to rap, or not to rap?
I AM NOT YOUR FRIEND – Hungary, 2009, feature – Dir György Pálfi
Second feature by the man who shook Cannes with Taxidermia (2006), this film is seemingly made in Mike Leigh’s style of improvisation with nine odd characters playing themselves, or so we are made to believe. Director plays with truth and reality, omitted truths and half lies, his characters switch roles and in the end it all comes together as it does in real life, where we suddenly recognize in all of them a little bit of us. Warning: the film does not end quickly! It only seems that it does….
The South East European Film Festival is the only festival in the United States devoted exclusively to south east Europe. Its message is not only to show films but to educate about the South East Europe’s region, its troubled history, and cultural diversity.
Fifth annual SEE Fest runs from Thursday, April 29 through Monday, May 3, 2010. Screenings April 29 & 30 start at 6:30pm, May 1 & 2 start at 3:30pm and are held at the Goethe Institute, 5750 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90036. The closing night of the festival is held on Monday, May 3rd at 6:30pm at the James Bridges Theatre on UCLA campus in Westwood. SEE Fest 2nd annual Business Conference takes place on Monday, May 3 at UCLA’s Faculty Center.