SEEfest is the 17th South East European Film Festival is on a mission to educate about and promote the cultural diversity of South East European talent through presentations of films and programs.
A distinguished red carpet affair that was hosted at the Fine Arts Theatre on the iconic Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills, this small film festival hasn’t been able to meet for the last two consecutive years.
Hosted by actress Zana Marjanovic, who was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now blessed to be a home resident of LA. Zana has starred in several acclaimed films such as The Land of Blood and Honey, written and directed by Angelina Jolie, Broken with Lily James and Cillian Murphy where she appeared opposite Academy Award Nominee Tim Roth, and A Rose In Winter, centered on the Women’s rights movement at the onset of National Socialism in Germany.
SEEfest is a pioneer for the concept of regional, cross-border programming sharing issue-driven films that capture the bigger picture about South East Europe. Each and every film promoted in this year’s festival was conceptualized, written, produced, and or directed by Eastern European talent and it was our pleasure to take part in such a platform.
Some of the feature-length films included in this event were:
- As Far As I Can Walk, 92 Minutes, Serbia, Luxembourg, 2021, Directed by Stefan Arsenijevic
- Blindfold 105 Minutes, Ukraine, 2020, Directed by Taras Dron
- Blue Moon 85 Minutes, Romania, 2021, Directed by Alina Grigore
- The Delta Of Bucharest 92 Minutes, Romania, 2020, Directed by Eva Pervolovici
- Dida 78 Minutes, Serbia, Switzerland, 2021, Directed by Nikola Ilić
- Expecting A Grain Of Sand 67 Minutes, Turkey, 2021, Directed by Asli Akdag
- Freestyle To Montenegro 72 Minutes, Albania, 2021, Directed by Ardit Sadiku
- The Image Machine Of Alfredo C. 76 Minutes, Italy, Albania, 2021, Directed by
- Klondike 100 Minutes, Ukraine, Turkey, 2022 Di, Directed by Maryna Er Gorbach
- Looking For Horses 87 Minutes, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2021, Directed by Stefan Pavlović
- Murina 92 Minutes, Croatia, Brazil, United States, Slovenia, 2021, Directed by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic
- Perpetuity 77 Minutes, Hungary, 2021, Directed by György Pálfi
- Reconciliation 82 Minutes, Slovenia, Albania, 2021, Directed by Marija Zidar
- Solitary Romania, United States, 2022, Directed by Tudor Munteanu
- Sughra’s Sons 85 Minutes, Azerbaijan, France, 2021, Directed by Ilgar Najaf
- Women Minor Speculations 60 Minutes, Croatia, 2021, Directed by Nicole Hewitt
Zana had the privilege to honor event sponsors and to shed light on other causes SEEfest supports, including the Gabrielino-Tongva Nation indigenous territory where our event took place in the greater Los Angeles Basin.
Among the distinguished guests were a number of Easter European Consulates and dignitaries including the Consul General of Romania, Cosmin Dumitrescu, Ambassador Jaroslav Olša, Jr. consulate general of the Czech Republic, and Aneta Campbell, cultural attache.
Also in attendance were Dr. Michael Postl, Consulate General with Simone Bliss from the Austrian Consulate, and Boyko Hristov, Consulate General with Vera Ancheva from the Bulgarian Consulate.
Zana also honored attendees and supporters Laura Sittoni Miller from the Austrian Trade Commission and Okko-Pekka Salmimies, Consul General of Finland.
The Festival would not be possible without the support of organizations such as SEEfest’s co-presenter, ELMA, the Foundation for European Language and Movies in America, and yours truly, the video production company for this event, Coldea Productions.
Other event sponsors included:
- California Arts Council
- LA County Arts & Culture
- ERS UCLA – Center for European and Russian Studies
- Austiran Consulate General LA
- Voxx Studios
- Calypso Media
- Blue Heron Foundation
- S2 Components
- Villa Aurora, Thomas Mann House
- Coldea Productions
- Austrian-American Council North America West
- Creating Creators
- Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco
Red Carpet Video Interviews
Coldea Productions was in action on the red carpet to capture interviews with attendees, filmmakers, and honorees.
Tudor Munteanu – Actor
We caught an interview with the director of the drama about a former inmate marathon runner, Solitary, Tudor. He shared the inspiration for his film being the number of Romanians that are among the 600 thousand people across the globe that participate in ultra and extreme marathons.
Being an immigrant from Romania himself, he was eager to share the stories of thriving Romanian survivors. “We’re always one foot in one country and one foot in another. We lose touch with the past but we try and integrate here… You’re always juggling. It’s fascinating but you have to embrace it to love it.”
Ajay Mehta – Actor / Producer
When questioned as to why he was particularly interested in Eastern European filmmaking as opposed to any of their counterparts, here’s the insight he shared.
“Eastern Europe, in particular, was closed off for so many years, under the Soviets Union. Once the Soviet Union was disbanded, they were able to come out and start expressing and sharing their stories… You never know what comes up from different storytellers.”
Stefania Magidson – Author
Honoree and recipient of the Humanitarian Legacy Award for her work as founder of the Blue Heron Foundation, we stopped Stefania Magidson for a quick chat.
She shared that her foundation has been working in Eastern Europe for 20 years but with the development of recent events, they expanded the scope of their work to help refugees and send medical aid to Ukraine.
“The work for the Ukrainian crisis that we’ve all experienced has been a terrible tragedy and I believe the only silver lining during this time is the rekindling of our belief in humanity. I’m hoping more and more people jump in to help and tilt the balance of the world toward the light, toward the good.”
Supporting Filmmakers and Global Creative Talent
As a filmmaker, I was touched to be part of such an inspirational event in both a production role as well as a sponsor. The many artists, directors, cultures, organizations, and dignitaries that showed their support gave a much-needed platform for the South Eastern European point of view.