East European Forum
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, Croatia, 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.
Odessa , Austria, 2006, 33 min, Beta SP, History
A grand, absurd drama: The crew of a confiscated cruise ship is forced to spend seven years in a foreign harbor. Left to their own designs by a bankrupt company and ignored by the Ukrainian authorities, sailors on the "Odessa" are forced to come to terms with their fate, in the Bay of Naples. Though of central importance, this drama hovers like a background motif above a main story, which alludes to it mysteriously, without a concrete mention: Two men explore the harbor area in Naples, pacing along desolate piazzas and half-empty buildings, crossing loading zones and nearly deserted landings, venturing into abandoned restricted areas. Their manner, resolute gestures, and sure steps provide their actions with a kind of significance, which contrasts oddly with the fate of the Odessa's crew. At first the two wanderers give rise to the expectation that their apparently diligent survey of the harbor grounds is somehow relevant to the ship's drama, though in the end it proves to be charmingly pointless. A poignantly beautiful farce about being lost in time and space. (Robert Buchschwenter)
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.
13 Ex Oriente Film projects:
Djangarchi , Croatia, 52 min, Music
Djangarchi is a film about Oleg Mankuev, one of four throat singers, the Djangarchi, from Kalmikija. Kalmikija is an autonomous republic of the Russian Federation and the only Buddhist country in Europe. Djangar is an epic poem that has been sung since ancient times. This poem is the carrier of national pride and identity of the people of Kalmikija throughout generations. Djangarchi has also been called ‘the carrier of eternity‘. Conceived as an exciting road movie documentary, the film follows Oleg's journey from Kalmikija to Croatia, in search of his own identity and new musician friends. By singing this old epic poem, Oleg is about to leave his motherland Kalmikija and is about to go to Rijeka (Croatia) to cooperate with Damir Martinovic, the frontman and the producer of Let 3, a famous and surely the most eccentric Croatian band.
Mechanical Figures , Croatia, 70 min, Animated, Art and Culture, Science and Technology
Inspired by Nikola Tesla, this visually intriguing animated/interactive documentary guides the viewer through the creative process. Twirling around the world, from Zagreb, through London, Paris, Budapest, New York, Tokyo and New Zealand, capturing the present, the future and the past of technological and social development initiated by some of Tesla's inventions, from alternating current to radio, the film questions the synergy of creation and sustainability through a story about art, science and technology, featuring Laurie Anderson, Terry Guilliam, Marina Abramovic, Andy Serkis and Hiroshi Matsumoto, amongst others.
Chatařství , Czech Republic, 57 min, DVD, HD, Art and Culture, Creative, Docu series
The art documentary film Summerhouses will capture the rapidly disappearing, specifically Czech phenomenon, the architecture of summerhouses. It is about summerhouses in which the striking personality of their builder – in the negative or positive sense – is reflected. They are the embodied form of human dreams, for these buildings create their own worlds which are an escape from the reality of the everyday. They are not emergency shelters; they are the architecture of an abstracted human happiness. The changes in society are reflected in them under the pressure of the time, the fettered human longings, opinions, a certain type of ‘trampish Romanticism‘, a longing for nature, for freedom, but also for community and creativity, linked with a do-it-yourself instinct, and a relative absence of religion. In the Czech countryside they are impossible to overlook and at the same time rapidly and irretrievably disappearing.
Dobré mravy , Czech Republic, 80 min, HD, Current affairs, Social issues, Society
Good Manners is a cinematic essay about decency. Everyday banal situations that bring to light those dark places in us that unveil the thin border separating the normal from the abnormal and the forces causing the failure of the multicultural social model. Janov, a neighbourhood of the Czech town of Litvínov, gained notoriety last year after a violent clash between nationalist extremists and local Roma inhabitants. The conflict was profusely medialized, inspiring several television reports. The focus of our attention, however, is neither the open conflict, nor the dramatic encounters between the two sides. We are not interested in extremist speeches and clashes but in the platitudes of everyday life. We want to see how the residents of Janov live and how they perceive themselves, what they consider standard and how they define for themselves the concept of decency.
Czech Republic / Slovakia
Nový život rodinného alba , Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, 57 min, Digi Beta, Creative, Personal view
My film takes place in Slovakia where the model of the traditional family continues to be a very strongly held value in society. For the younger generation, however, this model would seem to be a thing of the past, and their entire perception of the issue is changing. Lately, I have also been witness to a change in attitude among parents in their middle age, with many abandoning their families and leaving behind the past they once shared. Could this behavior be the result of our traditional family heritage? In order to find out, I decided to film my family – mainly my five younger sisters – after our father left, causing a large Catholic family to suddenly collapse. What does it mean for us? Will we be able to move on?
Family Business , Germany, 90 min, 35 mm, Social issues
The film shows the life of two families, brought together by an emergency. In a German family, grandma becomes a nursing case. Somewhere in Eastern Europe, a mother leaves her family in order to help the German. A film about the economies of families in the Western and Eastern parts of Europe. Carefully, from both sides, the film delves into the subtle texture of everyday drama, brought on by the situation: the daughter‘s irritated look to her mother, who allows herself to be stroked by the foreign woman; the helpless anger over a bland Polish meal because the ingredients are missing; the unintentional comedy of co-existence with two different languages. It is a trade, but no easy trade. Money and feelings cannot be swapped unopposed. While the German family ‘imports‘ a missing family member and regains some balance, the Polish family loses its centre: the mother.
Phantomschmerz Mladic , Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Serbia, 90 min, HD, Personal view, Politics, Society
Ratko Mladic, son of a Yugoslav partisan, former general from Bosnia, Serbian nationalist, responsible for systematic rape, expulsion and incredibly brutal murder...a free man. The Court of Justice in The Hague will be closing the files on Mladic in 2011 at the latest. It is hard for me to think about the man described above and that he still is on the loose. In mid-October I will be giving birth to a son. An alleged murder and war criminal has no place next to baby socks and hats. Or maybe it is exactly the right moment for me to think about the values I want to pass along to my son. My film project Phantom Pain Mladic focuses on the topics of humanity, reconciliation, and justice. The film shows how individuals and their children and even more generations have been suffering under brutal power politics.
Dzimis Rīgā , Latvia, 75 min, HD, Art and Culture, History
Escaping Riga is a cinematic journey, a docu-fiction trying to find answers to the question how the history of the 20th century has influenced people from the same place to lose their childhood illusions of comfort and become totally disillusioned. The main characters of the film are two world-class 20th century geniuses, the British philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin and the Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein who were born in the city of Riga around a hundred years ago. Blending small everyday episodes of the lives of the two personalities and narrated by the director, the film is a personal interpretation of their life stories in the time period from their first meeting at the beginning of the 20th century to their second and last meeting after two world wars in 1945.
Bracia , Poland, 80 min, HD, Creative
The film is a journey through Stalin gulags and European Union salons. It is a story about determination, dreams, obstacles and the power of fraternal love. The film will tell the story of an unusual life of two brothers and their complicated relationship. A pragmatist and a dreamer, water and fire. One painted great maps and the other one – great paintings. Alfons is a painter and an acrobat; the archetype of artist. Mieczyslaw is a cartographer, looking after the house and trying to simpilify his brother’s grand plans.The film revolves around a dream – before he dies, Alfons would like to present his paintings in Brussels. However, on his return from Brussels, Alfons finds out that his paintings had been destroyed in a fire. Once again they are homeless and they have to start all over again. Will they succeed?
Witamy w klubie bogatych , Poland, 55 min, Digi Beta, Culture, Ecology
Papua New Guinea, Sandaun province. Interior covered with impenetrable forest. A film about the secret murder of wives of the chieftain leads us directly to a conflict of two tribes. Imbiniss people are clearing their virgin jungle and they work with a Chinese corporation to start an oil palm plantation here. They want to have shoes, money, the road and normal houses as people of the modern world. Neighbouring Ossima maintains the traditional lifestyle like thousands of years before. A dispute about the border piece of the jungle is breaking out, and in the background – a dispute over values. Let us see from close up how another fragment disappears from the tropical forest, let us get to know the hopes and conflicts of people who are behind this decision.
Poland / Russia
A Lifetime Is Not Enough , Poland, 90 min, 35 mm, Art and Culture, Portrait
The protagonists are three film studios: in Russia (Mosfilm), in Poland (WFF nr1) and in Belarus (Belarusfilm) and three film directors: Vyrypayev, Żuławski and Kudinenko who currently work there. These were the three most important film studios in the former Eastern bloc. They were the birthplace for a generation raised in a controlled distribution of culture, socialist economy and permanent oppression. One day, the system collapsed and so did the studios. Twenty years later, the three film studios and countries represent three different worlds: from Lukashenko’s communist museum through post-economic crisis in Mosfilm to Poland planning in 2010 to put an end to the last so-called ‘film institutions‘. A new generation of filmmakers enters the old studios. Xawery Żuławski, Andriej Kudinenko and Ivan Vyrypayev are among the most talented directors of their generation. They share the same passion but face very different realities.
Poland / UK
Dust Dream , Germany, Poland, United Kingdom, 60 min, Digi Beta, Adventure and Sport
Charismatic coach Jagdish Singh and his boxing protégées have garnered success and awards, including the first Olympic medal for India, placing the dusty Indian city of Bhiwani firmly on the international sporting map. Yet controversial training methods remain under scrutiny by suspicious sports authorities with Coach Jagdish excluded from key champion fights. Dust Dream charts Jagdish’s fight for official recognition alongside the personal journey of three of his students – including one of the first female Indian recruits – as they dedicate their lives to the demanding regime of the Bhiwani Boxing Club and the promise of a better future. As Jagdish Singh prepares his boxers to compete at London 2012, he is simultaneously fighting for the recognition of his own name and that of his boxing club.
The Devil's Choice , Romania, 52 min, Digi Beta, HD, Social issues
How can you best understand a town – Copsa Mica – that by the end of the year 2008 was considered the most polluted town in Europe? I presume that through the people of the place and through their inheritance: their children, a lot of scrap iron, chronic diseases, the Romanian government that’s one-sided when it comes to the factory’s owners, lead and cadmium in the soil, in the street dust and inside the inhabitants’ bodies, but also a lot of music, parties and prayers for a better life, the strong, collective hope that the factory will reopen one day. A portrait of a town still coming to terms with the end of communism and especially with the implementation of capitalism in Romania; a town with a murky past, an uncertain future and a present with a big collective wish that the Nonferrous Metallurgical Plant should reopen.