7th SEE Festival Brings Balkan Cinema to Los Angeles

Still from "Street Spectacles," a documentary shot in Greece which premieres during the 7th See Fest

The 7th annual South East European Film Festival, proud recipient of the prestigious grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will take place this year from May 3-7 at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles and UCLA.

Commonly known as the SEE Fest, the festival presents films that explore religious, ethnic and cultural crossroads of South East Europe – from Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey and more. With over 30 features, documentaries, and shorts, the festival gives a glimpse into the Balkan region, its troubled history, and its cultural diversity

Sotiris Kappos, the director of “Street Spectacles,” a documentary produced in Greece, will premiere in this year’s SEE festival on Saturday, May 5.

“In modern Greece, a different kind of theatre exists on the streets below the famous Acropolis and its historic theaters, with mime artists, acrobats, magicians, and puppeteers mingling with passersby. The immediacy of such setting, and responses from engaged to indifferent from the ‘audience’ lead the filmmaker to explore the reasons that make artists choose to perform in street ‘spectacles’ and ultimately to that most essential of artistic questions: Can I survive on my art?”

Founded in 2012, the South East European Film Festival in Los Angeles has pioneered the concept of regional, cross-border programming with issue-driven films that tell a larger story about the Balkans and South East Europe, where borders of all kinds are fluid and porous just as often as poisonous. With an overarching goal of presenting multiple points of view, the festival unlocks the delicate doors into human existence and concerns of our time.

Highlights of this year’s festival include Romanian romantic comedy “Hello? How Are You?,” about a husband and wife whose marital fatigue leads them to a dating site with unforeseen consequences; Swiss-German-Bulgarian “Balkan Melodie,” about Marcel and Catherine Cellier who travelled behind the Iron Curtain to record the now-famous folk music in Eastern Europe including the Romanian pan flute virtuoso Gheorghe Zamfir and the legendary Bulgarian female vocal choir “Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares,” both of whom achieved world fame with the help of the Celliers; animated sensation “Five Minutes Each” from Serbian expats in Canada, a metaphorical story about the constant struggle of the artist to reach those five minutes of limelight; droll Slovenian short “The Visit,” which packs a punch in 8 powerful minutes about a father-son relationship in a long-term care situation with a twist; documentary parable “Coffee Futures” from Turkey that shows just how much a talented filmmaker can glean from an age-old tradition of telling fortunes from a coffee cup; and a special presentation of short films from the Vienna-based documentary  archive “Centropa” on the culture and history of Sephardic Jews and their relationship with Orthodox, Muslim, and Catholic neighbors in the turbulent 20th century.

To learn more, or to purchase tickets, please visit www.seefilmla.org.