Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CONF. PROG.- ASN 2009 World Convention Film Lineup

Distrib. by: Central-Eurasia-L - Announcement List for Central Eurasian Studies

CONF. PROG.- ASN 2009 World Convention Film Lineup

Posted by: Dominique Arel <darel@uottawa.ca>

[A PDF of this announcement, with pictures, can be downloaded at

ASN 2009 World Convention Film Lineup

The ASN 2009 World Convention, taking place at the Harriman Institute,
Columbia University, on 23-25 April, is pleased to present once again
an exciting line-up of twelve international documentaries dealing with
regions and themes of interest to our participants. This year's film
selections take us on a voyage across Western and Central Europe
(Germany, Poland, Estonia), through the Balkans (Kosovo, Serbia),
Ukraine, the Caucasus (Georgia and Abkhazia) and into the Eurasian
expanse (Turkmenistan, China). Through the roving lens and probing
questions of talented filmmakers, the powerful, often disturbing
images they capture, as well as the voices of a diverse assortment of
individuals interviewed, these films offer insight into fundamental
issues now facing states, societies and populations a decade into the
21st century -- remembering and framing the past, the challenges of
economic and political development in the post-communist era, the
pressures of globalism, resurgent nationalism, identity, and the clash
of cultures and traditions.

The films will be screened in the International Affairs Building,
Columbia University, 420 W. 118th St., New York, NY 10027. The
Convention will feature 125 panels and more than 700 participants,
from over 40 countries, are expected. To download the Convention's
Program, and obtain registration information, go to
<http://www.nationalities.org>. For information on the Convention,
please contact Gordon N. Bardos, gnb12@columbia.edu, 212 854 8487.

Friday, April 24, 11.20 Am-1.20 pm

Film 8 -- A Kingdom Reborn: Treasures From Ukrainian Galicia
Canada, 2007 (57 minutes)
Directed by Dani Stodilka, written by Peter Bejger
Contact: Dani Stodilka <1253productions@gmail.com>
(in English)
Room 1512

This is the first Western documentary to present the history of
Galicia and Lviv through rare footage of the region's still little
explored art and architecture. The film's creators closely cooperated
with Galician academics, icon painters, museum directors, curators,
composers, and musicians, as well as restoration specialists. Galicia
today faces new challenges as it straddles the recently expanded
European Union and those territories on the outside looking in. The
history of Lviv is particularly rich and salient. Transformed in the
distant past from a Ruthenian princely seat to a Polish royal city,
and later from an Austrian crown-land capital to a Polish regional
center, it was also forcibly held in more recent times by both the
Nazis and the Soviets. It is here that the pulse of Ukrainian identity
and European aspirations beat, where national memory and civic
identity have been repeatedly contested and recreated.

Friday, April 24, 2.50-4.50 pm

Film 4 -- At the Top of My Voice
US, 2008 (60 minutes)
Directed by Larry Kamerman and Sudhir Venkatesh
Contact: Daniel Wasserman <daniel@gencofilms.com>
(in English/Georgian, with English subtitles)
Room 1512

The film explores the struggle for freedom of thought and expression
in Georgia in the wake of the crackdown on democracy in the fall of
2007, leading to the controversial re-election of President Mikhail
Saakashvili in January 2008. Following the lives of opposition
activists Irakli Kakabadze and Anna Dolidze, At the Top of My Voice
dives beneath the headlines to provide an intimate and gripping
portrait of the human face behind the current struggle for democracy
and human rights in Georgia. The film raises questions about the risks
taken by scholars and artists worldwide who dare to speak truth to power.

Film 3 -- Made in China
France, 2007 (53 minutes)
Directed by Jean-Yves Cauchard
Contact: Larry Daressa <LD@newsreel.org>
(in Mandarin, with English voice-over)
Room 1027

The film's story of a typical migrant couple is one of millions now
unfolding among the multitude of migrants from rural China who
comprise the backbone of the Chinese economic miracle. This massive
dislocation of people might well represent the largest, most rapid
migration in human history. The film depicts how a single generation
is experiencing the culture shock of an Industrial Revolution that
took centuries in the West. An elegy to a lost way of life and a
grassroots view of what could become the most powerful economic power
on earth, the film offers a human dimension to the ubiquitous label
"Made in China."

Friday, April 24, 5.10-7.10 pm

Film 5 -- The Singing Revolution
US, 2008 (97 minutes)
Directed by James Tusty and Maureen Castle Tusty
Contact: Noel Lawrence <noellawrence@sprintmail.com>
(in English/Estonian, with English subtitles)
Room 1512

The occupation of Estonia by the Nazis and the Soviets ushered in a
period of terror for the Estonian population, more than one-quarter of
which was deported to Siberia, executed, or driven abroad by the end
of World War II. Music sustained the Estonian people during these dark
years and was such a crucial part of their subsequent struggle for
freedom that their successful bid for independence is known as the
Singing Revolution. Filmmakers Tusty and his wife Maureen were
inspired by the power music has had over their fellow Estonians and
devoted four years to documenting this incredible story. The result is
a moving, intensely human testament to the sustaining power of hope
and the motivating strength of song. The film reflects the indomitable
human drive for personal freedom, political independence and

Film 10A -- Serbia: Exit Europe
Germany/Austria/ESI, 2008 (55 minutes)
Directed by Franz Leopold Schmelzer
Contact: Verena Knaus <v.knaus@esiweb.org>
(in English/Serbian, with English subtitles)
Room 1027

This film is a segment of the ten-part documentary Balkan Express -
Return to Europe, a German-Austrian co-production, in collaboration
with European Stability Initiative (ESI). Heralded as one the "most
ambitious TV projects on Southeastern Europe produced in recent
years," the series was awarded the "Erasmus EuroMedia Grand Award" in
2008. Commended for "the exemplary way in which [it] blends inspired
direction and emphatic camera work with sound scientific research and
journalistic excellence", the series allows people of various
backgrounds who have contributed to the region's progress since the
mid-1990s (artists, lawyers, journalists, activists, mayors,
athletes...) the opportunity to comment on their current situation.

SERBIA: EXIT EUROPE explores two powerful but contradictory forces now
at play in Serbia. The loss of Kosovo has rekindled nationalism and
bitterness towards the international community, while the victory of
the pro-European forces in the May 2008 elections steered the country
towards EU integration. Key questions now hover over Serbia's future:
Is Serbia on track to joining the EU? Is it confronting the crimes of
the Milosevic era? Or will the Stabilisation and Association Agreement
with the EU remain on hold and application for EU membership a distant

Film 10B -- Kosovo: Cutting the Lifeline
Germany/Austria/ESI, 2008 (52 minutes)
Directed by Gernot Stadler
Contact: Contact: Verena Knaus <v.knaus@esiweb.org>
(in English/Albanian, with English subtitles)
Room 1027

A segment of the ten-part documentary Balkan Express - Return to
Europe, the film addresses independence, stability and future
prospects in Kosovo, and the challenges the EU-Mission faces in
dealing with the country's problems, particularly the catastrophic
state of its economy. At the heart of the film are illuminating visits
with families whose personal stories demonstrate the growing strains
and pressures felt by a population little supported by the state that
is forced to hold tight to traditional family-based structures.

Saturday, April 25, 11.20 am-1.20 pm

Film 1 -- Shadow of the Holy Book
Finland/US, 2008 (90 minutes)
Directed by Arto Halonen
Contact: Larry Daressa <LD@newsreel.org>
(in English/Turkmen/Russian, with English subtitles)
Room 1512

This high-spirited political satire exposes the complicity of
multinational corporations in supporting and legitimizing dictator
Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan, self-appointed President for Life
and one of the world's most egregious violators of human rights.
Through interviews with Turkmeni dissidents, journalists and human
rights advocates now either in jail or exile, the film explores how
Niyazov transformed a remote Central Asian republic into one of the
most oppressive regimes in recent history. The "holy book" in the
film's title refers to Niyazov's Ruhnama -- a bizarre blend of legend
and the dictator's delusional thinking that rivals Mao's "little red book."

Film 7 -- The Lost Colony
Netherlands, 2008 (72 minutes)
Directed by Astrid Bussink
Contact: Charlotte Sarneel <charlotte@zeppers.nl>
(in Russian, with English subtitles)
Room 1027

Setting out initially to investigate rumors that the KGB had attempted
to cross humans with primates, filmmaker Bussink made her way to the
Sukhum Primate Center in the former Soviet republic of Abkhazia, the
world's oldest monkey laboratory. The tumultuous 1990s were not easy
for this pioneering research institution that was once the pride of
the Soviet Union. The Laboratory that had trained primates for space
travel and contributed cutting-edge research to the fight against
cancer fell into decay in the years following the Georgian civil war.
As the film shows, the buildings crumbled through neglect, but most of
the monkeys escaped and are the focus of the lab personnel's struggle
to keep the Center alive. Documenting these quiet but determined
efforts, the film raises questions about large-scale politics and
science, and underscores the stark reality of political and economic
changes that affect everyone, animals included.

Saturday, April 25, 2.50-4.50 pm

Film 2A -- The Polish Enigma. Exit from Communism: Great Negotiations
France, 2005 (57 minutes)
Directed by Virginie Linhart and Georges Mink
Contact: Georges Mink <mink@u-paris10.fr>
Room 1512

With the birth of Solidarnost in 1980, Poland successfully contested
the power of the communist regime, before losing hard won freedoms
shortly after. Unprecedented negotiations between the communists and
Solidarnost's leader a few years later, however, helped pave the way
for the fall of communist regimes in Eastern Europe. Surprisingly, by
the mid-1990s, democratic elections brought the communists back to
power in Poland. The film explores this seesaw movement in Polish
politics by delving deeply into the murky history of negotiations
between Solidarnost and the communists throughout.

Film 2B -- Citizens K: The "K" Twins
France, 2007 (57 minutes)
Directed by Eyal Sivan and Georges Mink
Contact: Georges Mink <mink@u-paris10.fr>
(in Polish and French, with French voice-over)
Room 1512

The film presents a unique picture of the Polish state through the
story of twin brothers Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, President and
Prime Minster of Poland respectively when the film was shot. Through
interviews with members of the Kaczynskis' party, the filmmakers
deconstruct the dual, seemingly contradictory nature of leaders who
equipped themselves with a modern Western-style party and pledged
loyalty to democratic Europe, but exercised political power through family.

Film 6 -- Who Is Deutschland?
Canada, 2007 (53 minutes)
Directed by Boaz Beeri, written by Jonathan Medow and Abe Singer
Contact: Abe Singer (U of Illinois at Chicago) <asinge3@uic.edu>
Room 1027

The film focuses on the outpouring of national feeling expressed in
Germany during the World Cup tournament, and the reactions and
discussions it prompted in German society among people of various
backgrounds. While tracking the progress of the German team in the
World Cup, the film focuses on Markus, a leftist Berlin University
student who tells his side of the "German identity story." Interviews
with German politicians, rock stars, media executives, museum
directors and students highlight the tensions surrounding the burning
issues of new German patriotism, history, the contemporary role of
Jewishness in German society and, ultimately, German identity. As the
World Cup advances, Markus' life experiences and outlook provide one
vivid example of the very personal process of identity formation that
is unique to Germany.

Saturday, April 25, 5.10-7.10 pm

Film 9 -- Rule of Law: Justice in Kosovo
Austria, 2006 (99 minutes)
Directed by Susanne Brandtstätter
Contact: Manfred Kapper <manfred.kapper@bmeia.gv.at>
(in English/Albanian, with English subtitles)
Room 1512

Looking for something more adventurous than her life as a judge in
Vienna, Claudia Fenz takes on a post with the UN as part of the
organization's mission to support the democratic reconstruction of
this Balkan region recently devastated war. Fenz heads to Prizren in
southern Kosovo and takes on the trial of six Albanians accused of
having stoned a Serb and his mother to death during riots that broke
out in March 2004. The film charts the judge's attempts to work with
the local council, focusing on her encounter with moral standards and
traditional rules characteristic of a patriarchal society, but
contrary to the "rule of law" decreed by the UN. Tirelessly seeking to
familiarize herself with local customs and navigate a passage to
justice, Fenz's experience highlights the tensions between the two
ethnicities, while at the same time raising important questions about
the meaning of justice itself and its application.

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