In April and May the Austin Film Society is holding a 7- week long retrospective of films from the South East European Film Festival (SEEFest) of Los Angeles. The program is part of ESSENTIAL CINEMA series, the brainchild of Austin Film Society’s legendary director of programming, and one of Society’s founding members, Chale Nafus. SEEFest’s artistic director and curator of the retrospective, Vera Mijojlic, will attend the May 15th and May 22nd screenings, at the famed Alamo Drafthouse Theatre on South Lamar.
This is the first presentation of films from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Albania, and Romania in Austin, Texas. Vera Mijojlic, founding director of the annual SEEFest in Los Angeles, now in its seventh year, describes the unique focus of the festival: “South East Europe is a stretch of land between the West and the East, mixing elements of both in an explosive multi-ethnic melting pot. Meandering through the countries of this turbulent region is the only direct land route between Western Europe and the Middle East. Almost everything is subject to dispute: borders, country names, languages, history; the place is rife with historical claims which have a tendency to confuse outside visitors. Today the fragile landscape of South East Europe is host to many initiatives aimed at creating lasting stability, eventually leading to integration and acceptance into the European Union. SEEFest educates about and promotes cultural diversity of South East Europe through its annual presentations of films from this region and year-round screenings and programs.”
Selected films include: Pjer Zalica’s FUSE from Bosnia Herzegovina, Srdan Golubovic’s THE TRAP from Serbia, Catalin Mitulescu’s THE WAY I SPENT THE END OF THE WORLD from Romania, Vinko Bresan’s WITNESSES from Croatia, Artan Minarolli’s ALIVE from Albania, one “mystery film TBA” from this year’s SEEFest, and one classic film highlighting SEEFest’s work with archives, Frantisek Cap’s VESNA (1953) from Slovenia.
The 7-week long program serves both as an introduction to South East Europe’s cinema, and an overview of the past decade which gave rise to Romanian New Wave and films that deal with the legacy of recent wars and ethnic conflicts that ravaged the region.