South East European Film Festival, SEE Fest 2010 concluded Monday night in Los Angeles with the screening of award-winning Turkish feature that explores religious extremism and people caught up in its violent agenda, “A Step into the Darkness” directed by Atil Inac. The film won festival’s Critics Award for Best Film, presented by Cinema Without Borders founder, Bijan Tehrani and director of the SEE Fest Vera Mijojlic.
Hosted by radio personality Hettie Lynne Hurtes, the evening’s guests from South East Europe included directors Artan Minarolli (Alive!) from Albania, and Atil Inac (A Step into the Darkness) from Turkey; producer Amra Baksic-Camo from Bosnia Herzegovina and actor Andi Vasluianu from Romania (The Other Irene), and webfest creator Bogdan Brkic from Serbia; and south east European talent from Los Angeles directors Max Freeman (Apostol Karamitev), Ivana Todorovic (Rapresent), and Binnur Karaevli (Voices Unveiled – Turkish Women Who Dare).
Audience vote went to two films, tied with the highest voting score: Bulgarian feature “A Farewell to Hemingway” by Svetoslav Ovtcharov, a Chekhovian chamber drama about a stationmaster’s daughter and her fictitious rendez-vous with Ernest Hemingway during his real-life daylong passage through Bulgaria in 1922; and Turkish documentary powerhouse, “Voices Unveiled – Turkish Women Who Dare” by Binnur Karaevli, about three courageous women – an artist, an activist, and a dancer, who challenge the familiar stereotypes of Muslim women.
Two young American indie filmmakers from the SEE Fest’s Filmmakers Circle, Elizabeth Henderson and Rich Sturdevant presented Award for Best First Feature Film for ”The Other Irene”. On behalf of director Andrei Gruzsniczki the lead actor from the film, Andi Vasluianu accepted the award.
Three young volunteers extraordinaire who have provided outstanding service to SEE Fest for the last four years were honored with commendation certificates: Aaron Perez, Jackie and John Marsh.
Earlier in the day SEE Fest held a Business Conference hosted by UCLA Anderson/ CIBER and MEMES, and sponsored by UCLA’s Center for European and Eurasian Studies. Hollywood producers Mace Neufeld, Ron Yerxa, Richard Soames, Gary Credle and European filmmakers, as well as new media experts engaged the audience in a productive discussion about co-productions and new distribution platforms for independent and foreign language films.
South East European Film Festival, SEE Fest is the only festival in the United States devoted exclusively to this part of the world. It presents films from 15 countries and educates about the South East Europe’s region, its troubled history, and cultural diversity.
Notable sponsors of the festival included: Dish Network. UCLA, the Goethe-Institut of Los Angeles and ELMA.
Fifth annual SEE Fest ran from Thursday, April 29 through Monday, May 3, 2010. Screenings were held at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, 5750 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 100, Los Angeles, Ca. 90036. The closing night of the festival was held on Monday, May 3rd at 6:30pm at the James Bridges Theatre on UCLA campus in Westwood. Business conference took place on Monday, May 3rd at UCLA Anderson’s Executive Dining Room. For further information please go to www.seefilmla.org.