East European Forum
October 25 - 26, 2010
The following eleven projects have been selected to attend the 2010 East European Forum.
(The projects are listed alphabetically by country.)
Die globale Stadt , Austria, 90 min, 35 mm, Social issues
We follow a successful businessman as he buys land, negotiates with politicians, commissions extensive market surveys and meets with his associates at a major real estate exhibition. He collects art, lives in a luxurious lakeside villa and is part of an industry that builds shopping centres around the world, generating huge profits. Nevertheless, this pursuit of profit has its consequences. Not only does The Global Town follow the businessman as he goes about his dealings, it also shows how what he does dramatically changes our living environment. The film takes us to several European town centres that are gradually falling into decline as the local retail trade dies out because of the stiff competition from nearby shopping centres. It is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between different suburbs, with shopping mall upon shopping mall, car park after car park and advertising hoardings as far as the eye can see.
Bulgaria / Croatia
Poslednata linecka na Sofia , Bulgaria, 85 min, Digi Beta, Personal view
A film about the adventures of a doctor, nurse and a driver working in the emergency ambulance service in Sofia. Struggling against an avalanche of absurdities of a crumbling medical system and scarcely earning enough to make a living, these three are trying to save lives. On the backdrop of the social and political afflictions of the EU’s poorest and most corrupt member, we will be guided by our protagonists’ altruism and sense of humour. Throughout Bulgaria, financial support from the EU remains largely ineffective as the country’s state budget is absorbed by a powerful mafia. One of the most tragic casualties of the state is the medical system. After 20 years of capitalism, the number of ambulances in Sofia has dropped from 140 to 13. If you suffer a heart attack you can wait up to 5 hours for an ambulance to arrive. Where are all the ambulances?
Goli , Croatia, 52 min, Beta SP, Digi Beta, Archive , History, Human Rights, Personal view, Politics, Social issues, Society
Three generations and six decades ago a young man disappeared for four years. During this time both him and his family suffered wounds that broke them for years. This young man was my grandfather, and his family is my family. For decades the subject of grandfather’s prison days remained taboo. Our family was built on screaming pain hidden under the veil of silence. With the fall of communism we learned that my grandfather was interned in the Gulag-like camp Goli Otok (Naked Island). Last year a group of our close family friends appeared in a newspaper, and the headline read - Naked Island survivors speak out for the first time. Through grandpa’s fellow inmates, members of our family and sealed archives I am able to find a connection to my grandfather which I did not have in his lifetime.
Croatia / France
Veliko spremanje , Croatia, France, 50 min, Digi Beta, HD, Creative, Personal view
Family Meals is a personal film in a closed-door setting around the family table, with rituals to which the director submits herself obediently. Croatia, 1995, the war ends. Dana reveals her homosexuality to her parents who do not reject her but do not support her either. Fifteen years later, she questions them on the consequences of their denial and she puts her father, her mother, committed intellectuals, in front of their own contradictions. It is an eccentric, funny and an open-minded family. With humour and tenderness, the film talks about our need for the recognition and acceptance of our differences.
Kullaketrajad , Estonia, 80 min, Digi Beta, HD, Archive , Creative, Entertainment, History, Society
The Gold Spinners tells the story of the birth, glory and downfall of a peculiar, invisible and mighty business empire. It’s a story of the film studio Eesti Reklaamfilm – the only enterprise producing commercials in the Soviet Union. It might have been born in the head of one man, but during its heyday the studio provided employment for hundreds of people and its clips won over millions. And all this in the ‘socialist empire‘, under the conditions of planned economy and universal lack of everything. With no actual goods to advertise, marketing rules did not apply and even the word advertisement sounded almost as horrible as ‘the CIA‘, ‘the saxophone‘ or ‘Coca-Cola‘ to the thousands of concerned officials.
Estonia / France
Le système Kaplinski , Estonia, France, 90 min, Digi Beta, Art and Culture
In this portrait of Jaan Kaplinski, an Estonian philosopher and poet nominated for the Nobel Prize several times, The Kaplinski System brings into question the position of contemporary Estonian artists, poets and philosophers. Where are the dissidents gone – they who passionately defended freedom of speech in the former USSR – in today’s globalized Estonian society? The central theme of the movie is based on the meeting of two artists of different generations. Jaan is a poet, Raphaël Gianelli-Meriano a director and photographer. When Jaan told his friend of his desire to stop writing poetry in spite of his international success, Raphaël decided to film a visual testimony of his friend’s work and true nature. His film questions creation - the act in itself as well as the media used to create nowadays, opening a broader window on the history and culture of contemporary Estonian artists.
Wszystko jest możliwe , Poland, 52 min, Digi Beta, Portrait
A cottage with a small garden at the edge of the village. Windows decorated with geraniums. The two elderly dwellers, Teresa and Jan, couldn't be more different. She starts her mornings with a heart-pumping exercise routine, and keeps busy all day. He moons about the house as if he had all the time in the world. Here, he spends some time on his art piece, there, he whistles a few bars with the birds outdoors. Their love is gone, but divorce is out of question, so the couple stays under one roof living their separate lives. Hadn't Teresa revolted she would have lived like that till the day she died. Despite her poverty, failed marriage and depression, she decided to see the world as a hitchhiker. Since her first journey fourteen years ago she goes on the road every year.
Poland / Israel / USA
Nie dla umralych , Israel, Poland, USA, 90 min, Beta SP, Digi Beta, Current affairs, Drama doc, History, Human Rights, Portrait, Religion, Society
In June 2010, Bogdan Białek received an award for his 20-year long journey in Kielce, Poland, to rekindle the Polish/Jewish connection. Kielce was the site of Europe's last Jewish pogrom. It happened in 1946 and it was the defining event in the final flight of Jews from Poland to Palestine and the United States. Białek, in what he hopes will be his final act in this journey, restores the Jewish cemetery in Kielce. He is in a frenzy of activity, organizing the annual March of Memory and Prayer to the cemetery where a new commemorative stone is to be installed. Poles and Jewish guests from Israel, the US and Europe will take part in the event. Białek is campaigning to get the local and national media to show up. All of this activity takes place in the context of a hastily organized presidential election occasioned by the tragic plane crash of two months before. The media focus is on the election, not on Kielce. The stress of this "last job" rings out of him all of the conflicted feelings and burdens he has carried for twenty years.
Romania, 52 min, HD, History, Society
In 2009 filmmaker Florin Iepan launched a personal campaign for the ‘denazification‘ of Romania. Based on the darkest moment in the recent history of his country, the massacre from October 1941 when Romanian soldiers, without any German assistance, burned alive more than 22,000 civilians in the occupied town of Odessa, Iepan starts the first public debate about the fascist chapter in Romanian history. This proves a real challenge for the EU and NATO member country, that carefully concealed its crimes against the Jews and Roma people during WWII, and where Marshall Antonescu, the head of the government at that time is considered even today, by the majority of Romanians, as a great patriot and anticommunist leader.
16-ya Respublika , Russia, 90 min, DVD, HD, Creative, Social issues
Moscow auto giant ZIL was central to the lives of thousands of workers for more than 80 years, proudly calling itself a 'talent foundry', a 'city within a city' and the '16th republic'. Stalin, Brezhnev, Khrushchev and Gorbachev all travelled in ZIL’s iconic limousines. After a 20-year interval, the plant receives an order for new luxury cars. Three convertibles are supposed to take part in the Victory Parade on May 9, 2010. Few specialists from the elite, previously classified department of Original and Special Automobiles remain, and they are all retired. But the deadline must be met. While the secret division is scrambling to build cars for the Defense Minister, passions are boiling over in other parts of the plant. The convertibles are ready but suddenly the client no longer needs them. The ups and downs in this limousine story are but the tip of the iceberg.
Rómovia idú do volieb , Slovak Republic, 80 min, 35 mm, DVD, Creative, Current affairs
The story of Vlado Sendrei represents a modern destiny of a Slovak Roma in the 21st century. From a street fighter, an xth person in the line for social benefits, he has gradually become a hyperactive activist in social programs, culture and soccer. Today he is an unofficial ‘vajda‘ (leader), the authority not only in his community but also an election candidate in his native town of Kokava nad Rimavicou. Mapping the course of the election itself constitutes the first storyline. The second, a more personal storyline shows Vlado as a man torn between his urge to help others and his inability to maintain a functional family life.
Dva malí piráti ze Somálska , Czech Republic, 90 min, 35 mm, Digi Beta, HD, Anthropology, Creative, Current affairs, Ecology, Human Rights, Politics
The film tells the story of Somalian pirates who set out on the sea with the vision of feeding their hungry children, since they are living in a country where nothing has worked for dozens of years except for the lucrative business with ships and their cargo. We are far from advocating the terrorist who take hostages for ransom. We are far from defending the bosses of Somalian pirate clans who dispose of people, weapons and ships, representing an international power unit similar to ETA, Al Kaida or IRA. Our aim is to introduce Ali Muhammad Warsame, one of the hundreds of modern pirates who are spending endless days and weeks on the sea, taking drugs not to die of hunger and exhaustion, fearing everything and everyone like an animal waiting for its death in a cage. Finding a ship and fulfilling an absurd task is their only release. Ali also used to have a notion of crime and punishment, of good and evil like any of us, however, according to him nothing is so easy as quenching the last spark of good, denying the innate notion God and setting out on the sea under the pirate flag.