Deep Rivers Run Silent’22

A series of summer film screenings DEEP RIVERS RUN SILENT

Organized by the media education and research center Meno avilys, the third edition of free film screenings DEEP RIVERS RUN SILENT kicks off on June 29th and lasts until August 16th. There will be 20 screenings in total this summer in the unique space under the Liubartas Bridge, in the “audience lodge” created by sculptors Andrius Labašauskas and Rytis Urbanskas.

The troubling current realities, such as the pandemic, climate crisis, migration, and war in Ukraine, have led to a fragmentation of society, fears of the disappearance of traditions, and highlighted the issues related to changing identities and values: Where do we come from? Who are we? Who do we want to be?

In the program created by three curators from Meno avilys – Karolis Žukas, Gerda Paliušytė, and Lina Kaminskaitė – this thematic line of identity issues unfolds in three directions: silent cinema, avant-garde films from Ukraine, and unconventional Central Asian cinema.

To further consolidate the community of film lovers, the curatorial program is supplemented with films by other organizations that respond to this year’s thematic guidelines. There will be screenings organized by Skalvija Cinema Center, Skalvija Film Academy, Vilnius Queer Festival “Kreivės,” Kaunas Artists’ House, Kirtimai Cultural Center, Moving Cinema, and Banguoja Audio Festival.

PROGRAMME

JUNE

06 29 | 21:30 | Cowards Bend the Knee | 2003 | Guy Maddin | Canada | 16+ | 60 min | Presented by Contemporary Music Ensemble “Synaesthesis” and Meno avilys | Film screening + live music

Adapted from a ten-part peephole installation, Cowards Bend the Knee is jam-packed with enough kinetically photographed action to seem like a never-ending cliffhanger. In this twisted and poisoned wish fulfillment, the mythomaniacal Maddin casts “himself” (actually, Darcy Fehr) as a hockey sniper made lily-livered by mother and daughter femme fatales, and resurrects his father as the team’s radio broadcaster and his own romantic antagonist. Set in a shadow-suffused hockey arena and a Mabuse-like beauty salon/abortion clinic, the plot drips with Grecian formula, as sordid family secrets spawn unintentional murder most foul.

About the Director

Guy Maddin is a Canadian screenwriter, director, author, cinematographer and film editor of both features and short films, as well as an installation artist, from Winnipeg, Manitoba. His most distinctive quality is his penchant for recreating the look and style of silent or early-sound-era films. Since completing his first film in 1985, Maddin has become one of Canada’s most well-known and celebrated film-makers.


06 30 | 21:30 | The River | 2018 | Emir Baigazin | Kazakhstan, Norway, Poland | 13+ | 113 min | Presented by Meno avilys.

On the vast plains of rural Kazakhstan, Aslan is tasked by his strict and often absent father to supervise his four younger brothers. Their sheltered world, composed of flat symmetrical compositions in austere shades of bone and beige, revolves around a disciplined routine of tending to crops, feeding livestock and preparing bricks out of wet mud. When their outlandish cousin visits, bringing with him a wireless gadget that casts a spell over them, the old rhythms of their world are upended forever. A surreal and calculated coming-of-age story, Emir Baigazin deftly presents an unsettling fable of power and paternalism within the microcosm of a family.

About the Director

Born in 1984 in Alga Province in Kazakhstan, Emir Baigazin studied at the Kazakh National Academy of Arts in Almaty, majoring in film direction and cinema. In September 2007, he studied in the Asian Film Academy (AFA) at the Busan International Film Festival. In February 2008, he participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus at the 58th Berlin International Film Festival. Baigazin is a member of the Asian Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) Jury.


JULY

07 01 | 21:30 | North African Short Film Programme | Presented by Meno avilys

This is the final screening of the Middle East and North Africa Women Filmmakers’ Film Programme „Between Past and Future“, interweaving science fiction, Arabfuturism and magical realism and focusing on the themes of migration and climate crisis. In response to the unstable present, the films create alternative realities that try to imagine the future and open up space for new ideas and possibilities.

Films

Before I Forget | 2018 | Mariam Mekiwi | Egypt, Germany | G | 27 min

A science-fiction story set in an indistinct coastal region, between land and sea, above and below water. El Captain disappears, one of his disciples takes a journey in the ocean to cut off the internet cable, the water level is rising, an amphibian woman appears at the shore looking for her mother, and the memories of two women in a ward intertwine. Scientist Dr. Sharaf is trying to congregate all of them – the members of the secret society of amphibians – in an attempt to save the world.

About the Director

Mariam Mekiwi is a film editor and filmmaker from Alexandria and currently based in Berlin, where she is an associate fellow of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of the Arts in Berlin UdK with her feature film project EL Markebba EL OMM – mothership. She completed her MFA at the University of the Arts in Hamburg HfBk in 2017. Her film Before I forget premiered at the Berlinale in 2018 and was nominated for the FIRST STEPS AWARDS in the same year. Her work circulated in various film festivals and art venues like the Sharjah film platform, Oberhausen film festival, Contemporary Image Collective Cairo CIC, Haifa Independent film festival, Hamburger Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe among others.

Party on the CAPS | 2018 | Meriem Bennani | Morocco | G | 26 min

In a world where teleportation has replaced planes, a wacky crocodile named Fiona tells of life on the CAPS, an island-turned-refugee-camp for illegal immigrants caught mid-teleportation. Themes of displacement, biotechnology and privacy are evoked through the augmented reality of a raucous birthday party in the Moroccan quarter of the CAPS. Mixing the languages of reality TV, advertising, documentary and high-end commercial aesthetics, Bennani explores the potential of storytelling through magical realism and humour.

About the Director

Meriem BennanI (1988, Morocco) is a multimedia artist based in New York. She received her education at Cooper Union in Manhattan and École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. She blends reality TV, advertising, documentary, phone footage and commercial aesthetics to create short films, multi-channel installations, drawings and animations. Solo exhibitions of her work have been organised at MOMA, Art Dubai as well as The Kitchen in New York.

What things may come | 2019 | Marianne Fahmy | Egypt, Germany | G | 13 min

After the great flood of the delta, a future oceanographer tells the story of the people’s relocation to the confidential camps in the saharan desert. As the prophecy by Proteus God of the sea speaks of the cosmic change, science will cope with it.

About the Director

Marianne lives and works in Alexandria, Egypt. She gained her BA in Painting before studying at Mass Alexandria Independent Art Programme in 2016. Marianne works with installation and film. Her focus is on narratives of people, architecture and language, where she finds possibility for creative additions that transform prescribed conventional narratives into a boundless by time artwork. In conversation with scientists and urban planners, she adds credibility to the fabricated narratives she creates, where she combines science, historical events and myth to imagine a future society to come.


07 05 | 21:30 | Nebuvalyi Pokhid (Unprecedented Campaign) | 1931 | Mіkhail Kaufman | USSR, Kyiv Film Studio Ukrainfilm | G | 71 min | Presented by Meno avilys and the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center | Film screening + live music + *International Symposium “The Birth of Cinema and the Imperial Boundaries in Central and Eastern Europe”

Avant-garde Ukrainian Cinema.These films from the silent cinema era are both experiments—works establishing an autonomous cinematic language—and documents of Ukraine’s transformation under Soviet modernisation, industrialisation and collectivisation. The films of brothers Mikhail Kaufman and Dziga Vertov are important not only in the context of Ukrainian documentary filmmaking, but also in the global one.

In the programme, the two filmmakers’ gazes meet in the controversial Ukrainian era, here revealed by documenting different spaces (urban and rural), different cultural strategies (Ukrainisation and Sovietisation) and contradictory inner states (optimism and tragedy). With this special programme, we want to present important yet little-known works of Ukrainian cinema, newly introduced to the Ukrainian public only a few years ago by scholars of Ukrainian cinema history and given a special contemporary musical interpretation by one of the most prominent composers of Ukrainian cinema, Anton Baibakov.

The films will be accompanied by a live musical performance by the composer and musicians from Ukraine. The programme, which is part of a symposium on early silent cinema in Central Eastern Europe, was prepared in cooperation with the National Oleksandr Dovzhenko Centre (Kyiv, Ukraine).

Programme Curators: Anna Burdina, Lina Kaminskaitė-Jančorienė, Žygimantas Jančoras

About the Film

Unprecedented Campaign is a constructivist documentary Ukrainian Soviet film about the movement for rural development, within the bounds of which 25 000 workers were sent to villages by The Communist Party in 1929. It was shot at the huge Нihant sovkhoz (Soviet farm), the Kharkiv Tractor Factory, and the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. This is a paradoxical film, which depicts a village in a way more common to city representation. In spite of its completely propagandistic approach, the film combines Kinok`s industrial enthusiasm with the pantheistic softness of Dovzhenko’s movies.

About the Director

Mikhail (Moisei) Kaufmanwas a cameraman, documentary director, photographer and inventor, a member of the Kinoks Group, the brother of the director David Kaufman, better known as Dziga Vertov, and the cameraman and émigré director Boris Kaufman. By the late 1920s, Kaufman and Vertov had made a number of films that visualised the slogans of the Kinoks’s manifesto. They accepted VUFKU invitation and in 1927 moved to work in Ukraine, where the brothers had a conflict and their creative alliance broke up. Mikhail Kaufman continued to shoot films at VUFKU. He created, directed and shot one of the most lyrical films about Kyiv, In Spring (1929), and later Unprecedented Campaign (1931), depicting the advancement of collectivisation right before the tragedy of Holodomor.

About the Organisation

The Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre (Dovzhenko Centre) is the largest Ukrainian film archive with an extensive collection that includes 7,000 feature films, documentaries, Ukrainian and foreign animated films and thousands of archival records from the history of Ukrainian cinema. Dovzhenko Centre was launched in 1994 based on the largest Soviet Ukrainian film printing factory (founded in 1948), and today it is one of the most dynamic cultural institutions in Ukraine that can boast a wide international representation in the film industry. Dovzhenko Centre acts as an umbrella for a modern climate-controlled film vault, the only film printing laboratory in Ukraine, a Cinema Museum, a non-film archive, a multimedia library and a publishing department. It stores, promotes, researches, and distributes the national film legacy in Ukraine and abroad.


07 07 | 21:30 | Rhythms of Lost Time + The Haunted | G | Presented by Meno avilys

Rhythms of Lost Time | 2021 | Anisa Sabiri | Tajikistan | 45 min

In Tajikistan’s mountainous province of Badakhshan, music is deeply embedded in people’s lives—present in everyday agricultural activities, as well as significant events like weddings and funerals. A celebration of its infinitely regenerative nature, this ethnographic documentary captures how Tajik music has both transcended and subverted political and cultural boundaries of the region, including Zoroastrian, Soviet, Islamic, and capitalist influences. Seen as contradicting state narratives at different times in its history, whether Soviet secularism or current laws which ban elaborate ritual ceremonies, Tajik music and its players have learned to conceal, disguise or rebrand in order to survive. An artful blend of narration, interviews, and musical performances, Rhythms of Lost Time presents the endurance of these ancient musical rituals across centuries, owing to its shapeshifting ability to oscillate multiple identities and Histories.

About the Director

Anisa Sabiri was born in 1991 in Dushanbe, Tajic republic. Since childhood, she wrote poems and stories, dreaming to be a director. After school, at the insistence of her parents, she entered the Moscow University of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs and graduated with honours in the rank of a senior lieutenant. Sabiri worked as a tourist guide for several years, a job that also allowed her to have time for independent literature writing and photography. In 2016, she entered The Moscow School of New Cinema, the workshop of Fred Kelemen and Irakliy Kvirikadze.

The Haunted | G | 2017 | Saodat Ismailova | Uzbekistan, Norway | 25 min

The Turan tiger, a majestic symbol of the Central Asian landscape, has been extinct for several decades, but it lives on as a sacred symbol in the collective imagination of the local population. In her captivating film essay, Ismailova pays homage to this animal as she shows how firmly bound it is, in people’s minds, to the region’s history. The tiger is a spectre that emerges from the darkness and disappears again, the landscape is like a network of ruins buried under layers of the past. The collage of visual and audio fragments, accompanied by the filmmaker’s passionate commentary, shows that “real” history cannot be separated from shared ideas and dreams.

About the Director

Saodat Ismailova (b. 1981, Tashkent) is a filmmaker and artist who came of age in the post-Soviet era in Central Asia. She graduated from Tashkent State Art Institute in Uzbekistan and Le Fresnoy, National Studio of Contemporary Arts in France. Her films and video installations have been presented in the Venice Biennale , Berlinale International Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, CPH DOX, Centre Pompidou (Paris), Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), and Parasite (Hong Kong). Her stage work has appeared at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music, Musée de quai Branly (Paris), and other venues around the world. Ismailova’s work will be presented in documenta fifteen, 2022. Her works are also included in the collections of Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum and the Centre Pompidou, Paris.


07 12 | 21:30 | Odynadtsiatyi (The Eleventh Year) | 1928 | Dziga Vertov | USSR, Kyiv Film Studio VUFKU | G | 59 min | Presented by Meno avilys and the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center | Film screening + live music

Avant-garde Ukrainian Cinema.These films from the silent cinema era are both experiments—works establishing an autonomous cinematic language—and documents of Ukraine’s transformation under Soviet modernisation, industrialisation and collectivisation. The films of brothers Mikhail Kaufman and Dziga Vertov are important not only in the context of Ukrainian documentary filmmaking, but also in the global one.

In the programme, the two filmmakers’ gazes meet in the controversial Ukrainian era, here revealed by documenting different spaces (urban and rural), different cultural strategies (Ukrainisation and Sovietisation) and contradictory inner states (optimism and tragedy). With this special programme, we want to present important yet little-known works of Ukrainian cinema, newly introduced to the Ukrainian public only a few years ago by scholars of Ukrainian cinema history and given a special contemporary musical interpretation by one of the most prominent composers of Ukrainian cinema, Anton Baibakov.

The films will be accompanied by a live musical performance by the composer and musicians from Ukraine. The programme, which is part of a symposium on early silent cinema in Central Eastern Europe, was prepared in cooperation with the National Oleksandr Dovzhenko Centre (Kyiv, Ukraine).

Programme Curators: Anna Burdina, Lina Kaminskaitė-Jančorienė, Žygimantas Jančoras

About the Film

The Eleventh Year is the first of three avant-garde films made by Dziga Vertov and his brother, cameraman Mikhail Kaufman, in Ukraine on the basis of the newly opened VUFKU Kyiv Film Studio. Dedicated to the success of the first five years in Donbas, the film tells the story of accelerated industrial modernisation of eastern Ukraine, which resulted in the transformation of an agricultural country into an industrial one. The Eleventh Year is Vertov’s first experiment in implementing his programme of developing a specific film language, separate from the language of theatre and literature, in which the camera would directly capture the raw matter of life. This programme was fully implemented by Vertov in his next Ukrainian film, Man With a Movie Camera (1929).

About the Director

Dziga Vertov (Davyd Abeliovych (Denys Arkadiiovych) Kaufman) was one of the most distinguished Russian and Ukrainian avant-garde directors, a pioneer of the documentary film. His filmmaking career began in 1917 when, invited by his friend Mikhail Koltsov, he began to work at the Moscow Film Committee administration. Vertov substantiated his role of a “documentary director” in 1922, when he and his colleagues created the movement of Kinoks. In 1927, Vertov was fired from Sovkino and invited by VUFKU to Ukraine, where during next three year he finished his three prominent works The Eleventh Year (1928), Man with a Movie Camera (1929) and Enthusiasm: The Symphony of Donbass (1930).

About the Cameraman

Mikhail (Moisei) Kaufman was a cameraman, documentary director, photographer and inventor, a member of the Kinoks Group, the brother of the director David Kaufman, better known as Dziga Vertov, and the cameraman and émigré director Boris Kaufman. By the late 1920s, Kaufman and Vertov had made a number of films that visualized the slogans of the Kinoks’s manifesto. They accepted VUFKU invitation and in 1927 moved to work in Ukraine, where the brothers had a conflict and their creative alliance broke up. Mikhail Kaufman continued to shoot films at VUFKU. He created, directed and shot one of the most lyrical films about Kyiv, In Spring (1929), and later Unprecedented Campaign (1931), depicting the advancement of collectivization right before the tragedy of Holodomor.

About the Organisation

The Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre (Dovzhenko Centre) is the largest Ukrainian film archive with an extensive collection that includes 7,000 feature films, documentaries, Ukrainian and foreign animated films and thousands of archival records from the history of Ukrainian cinema. Dovzhenko Centre was launched in 1994 based on the largest Soviet Ukrainian film printing factory (founded in 1948), and today it is one of the most dynamic cultural institutions in Ukraine that can boast a wide international representation in the film industry. Dovzhenko Centre acts as an umbrella for a modern climate-controlled film vault, the only film printing laboratory in Ukraine, a Cinema Museum, a non-film archive, a multimedia library and a publishing department. It stores, promotes, researches, and distributes the national film legacy in Ukraine and abroad.


07 13 | 21:30 | Wild at Heart | 1990 | David Lynch | USA | 13+ | 125 min | Presented by Skalvija Cinema Center

The Skalvija Cinema Centre traditionally presents classic films, reflecting the summery, communal and informal spirit of the Deep Rivers Run Silent screenings. The films in this year’s programme speak about the price of individuality, at the same time telling stories of being together—as a couple, in a family or in society, in a bygone era or in today’s world.

About the Film

Recently released ex-prisoner Sailor and teenager Lulu are a couple of young lovers on the run from the girl’s imperious mother. Pursued by contract killers and the police, the fugitives set off for the American South, with surreal events along the way including references to The Wizard of Oz. Winner of the Palme d’Or, Wild at Heart is an eccentric romantic comedy, a road movie, a hallucination and a parody at once. The film has received a fair amount of critique, so the aforementioned award is considered one of the most controversial in the history of Cannes. 

About the Director

David Lynch (b. 1946, US) is a painter, writer and musician considered one of the most important filmmakers of his time. Lynch’s debut body horror film Eraserhead led the way to his subsequent works Mulholland Drive and Blue Velvet, which have now become classics. Lynch’s films are characterised by visions, the reality of nightmares, stream subconsciousness, elements of fantasy and the noir. The renowned film critic Pauline Kael deemed the director the first popular surrealist filmmaker. Today, Lynch makes short films and mini-series, such as the daily episodes of Weather Report.

About the Organisation

The Skalvija Cinema Centre is the oldest functioning cinema in Vilnius, presenting classics, European cinema, retrospectives and thematic series. Since 2003 it has also been organising the Vilnius Documentary Film Festival (VDFF).


07 14 | 21:30 | Cotton100% | 2021 | Michael Borodin | Uzbekistan, Germany | G | 68 min | Presented by Meno avilys

Yelena is an activist fighting for the rights of cotton pickers. Muhabbat is a farmer struggling with the hardships of rural life. The film is a parallel narration of the stories of Yelena and Muhabbat. We follow the farmer through her everyday routine from the field to the Maternity Home where she picks up her newborn grandson, from the Mosque to the feast at her house and then to the field again, where, after a humiliating quarrel with the officials, she has to start picking cotton before the crop is fully ripe. Yelena’s part of the film is almost like a road movie, as we follow her on the annual crusade against forced labour. Many see her as an extravagant figure. The pickers are polite, most of them probably even share her vision. Still, we see that there’s little trust in them, confronting her rage and passion makes them uncomfortable. It seems that Yelena doesn’t really pay attention to this lack of enthusiasm, she is an optimist. She knows that her way is long and believes that one day she will win over the state slavery system. Our heroines are very different, their stances are almost opposite: Muhabbat believes in hard work and obedience to the rules, while Yelena represents pure protest and rage. The passion of one meets the reason and firmness of another, composing a story of two strong female characters coping with injustice and poverty.

About the Director

Mikhail Borodin was born near Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 1987. He began making films when he was 18. In 2020, he moved to Moscow where, living as a migrant worker, he found work as a delivery guy and an odd-job man before finally getting the chance to enrol in a film school. After graduating, he went on to produce and direct commercials and music videos and founded his own production company, Sneg.


07 19 | 21:30 | Navesni (In Spring) | 1929 | Mіkhail Kaufman | USSR, Kyiv Film Studio VUFKU | G | 79 min | Presented by Meno avilys and the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center | Film screening + live music

Avant-garde Ukrainian Cinema.These films from the silent cinema era are both experiments—works establishing an autonomous cinematic language—and documents of Ukraine’s transformation under Soviet modernisation, industrialisation and collectivisation. The films of brothers Mikhail Kaufman and Dziga Vertov are important not only in the context of Ukrainian documentary filmmaking, but also in the global one.

In the programme, the two filmmakers’ gazes meet in the controversial Ukrainian era, here revealed by documenting different spaces (urban and rural), different cultural strategies (Ukrainisation and Sovietisation) and contradictory inner states (optimism and tragedy). With this special programme, we want to present important yet little-known works of Ukrainian cinema, newly introduced to the Ukrainian public only a few years ago by scholars of Ukrainian cinema history.

The films will be accompanied by a live musical performance by the musicians from Lithuania. The programme, which is part of a symposium on early silent cinema in Central Eastern Europe, was prepared in cooperation with the National Oleksandr Dovzhenko Centre (Kyiv, Ukraine).

Programme Curators: Anna Burdina, Lina Kaminskaitė-Jančorienė, Žygimantas Jančoras

About the Film

In Spring (1929) is a masterpiece of the Ukrainian avant-garde cinema, a non-feature film made by Mіkhail Kaufman, Dziga Vertov’s brother and co-author, in accordance with the avant-garde theory of “cine-eye”. The film shows Kyiv in 1929, almost unknown today. The shots showing the awakening of the city, the renewal of its life, are in line with the lyrical portrayals of reviving nature. Kaufman’s attentive camera pauses on the smiling faces of children lyrical depict a declaration of love to Kyiv. In In Spring, Kaufman used the method of “hidden camera” for the first time.

About the Director

Mikhail (Moisei) Kaufmanwas a cameraman, documentary director, photographer and inventor, a member of the Kinoks Group, the brother of the director David Kaufman, better known as Dziga Vertov, and the cameraman and émigré director Boris Kaufman. By the late 1920s, Kaufman and Vertov had made a number of films that visualised the slogans of the Kinoks’s manifesto. They accepted VUFKU invitation and in 1927 moved to work in Ukraine, where the brothers had a conflict and their creative alliance broke up. Mikhail Kaufman continued to shoot films at VUFKU. He created, directed and shot one of the most lyrical films about Kyiv, In Spring (1929), and later Unprecedented Campaign (1931), depicting the advancement of collectivisation right before the tragedy of Holodomor.

About the Organisation

The Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre (Dovzhenko Centre) is the largest Ukrainian film archive with an extensive collection that includes 7,000 feature films, documentaries, Ukrainian and foreign animated films and thousands of archival records from the history of Ukrainian cinema. Dovzhenko Centre was launched in 1994 based on the largest Soviet Ukrainian film printing factory (founded in 1948), and today it is one of the most dynamic cultural institutions in Ukraine that can boast a wide international representation in the film industry. Dovzhenko Centre acts as an umbrella for a modern climate-controlled film vault, the only film printing laboratory in Ukraine, a Cinema Museum, a non-film archive, a multimedia library and a publishing department. It stores, promotes, researches, and distributes the national film legacy in Ukraine and abroad.


07 21 | 21:30 | Aurora | 2018 | Bekzat Pirmatov | Kyrgyzstan | 13+ | 100 min | Presented by Meno avilys

A famous TV personality is pushed to his limits by an ardent fan, a single middle-aged woman lands herself a disastrous one-night stand and a group of odd youths claim to have time-travelled from the 1980s. These are only some of the strange darkly comical scenarios that take place within the Aurora, an ostentatious, Soviet-era spa resort, nestled among idyllic hills and lakes. Taking place over the course of a single day, but presented in a non-linear narrative structure, the film weaves farcical elements with social commentary, providing a beguiling insight into present-day Kyrgyzstan.

About the Director

Bekzat Pirmatov is a script writer and film director born in Kyrgyzstan. He graduated from the Academy of Management under the President of Kyrgyzstan. He is founder and general director of the production studio Top Tash.


07 26 | 21:30 | Raw Music International | Short Documentaries | Cyrus Moussavi | Ukraine, Iraqi Kurdistan, Burma | G | 66 min | Presented by Kirtimai Cultural Center

The programme of the screening Raw Music International presented by Kirtimai Cultural Centre includes documentaries by Cyrus Moussavi, a New York-based Iranian-American filmmaker and producer of musical artefacts. The four selected films explore underground music around the world, telling social, political, cultural and identity stories through sound.

About the Director

Cyrus Moussavi is a New York-based Iranian-American filmmaker and producer of musical artefacts. Moussavi is the founder of Raw Music International, a collective of artists, filmmakers and musicians documenting underground music scenes around the world. His documentaries have been shown at important festivals and venues such as Sundance, BAM CinemaFest, WOMEX, Anthology Film Archives, and F.A.M.E. Fest Paris. Hisvideo journalism  work has been published by Time, Wall Street Journal, NBC News and others. He is co-owner of Mississippi Records, an independent record label that releases overlooked music across timelines. He grew up between Iowa and Iran, studied economics and philosophy at Columbia University, and conducted an oral history of Iranian migrants in the Netherlands having received the Fulbright grant.

Films

Raw Music Shorts List 1

Encounters with underground music in Kenya, Cambodia and Mongolia. 

Raw Music Ukraine (2014, dir. Cyrus Moussavi, DP Jacob Russell, Production Assistance Clara van Miert)

A snapshot in time from 2014: young independent musicians in Kharkiv and Odessa grapple with the Russian invasion of Crimea and the East, and consider their music and futures in the case of full-scale war.  

Raw Music Iraqi Kurdistan (2014, dir. Cyrus Moussavi, DP Jacob Russell) 

Iraj is a street vendor from Iran living and working in Northern Iraq. Helly Luv is Kurdistan’s biggest pop star. This short follows them as they navigate a sliver of peace and prosperity in Kurdistan. Another snapshot: ISIS would take Mosul a few months after this film was released, upending life throughout the region again. 

Raw Music Burma (2015, Dir. Cyrus Moussavi, DP Jacob Russell)

A journey through Eastern Burma (Myanmar), documenting music of ethnic minority groups during a brief moment of optimism following democratic elections and the opening of the countryside. 

About the Organisation

Kirtimai Cultural Centre is a non-traditional centre for culture located in an unusual place for a cultural institution, in the middle of the industrial Kirtimai district in Vilnius. It organises niche soundart and music performances, interdisciplinary educational events for children and adults, film screenings, art exhibitions and social integration projects. Kirtimai Cultural Centre is defined by its interdisciplinary experiments and a broad outlook on art and cultural processes.


07 27 | 21:30 | Persepolis | 2007 | Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud | France | 13+ | 85 min | Presented by Skalvija Cinema Center

The Skalvija Cinema Centre traditionally presents classic films, reflecting the summery, communal and informal spirit of the Deep Rivers Run Silent screenings. The films in this year’s programme speak about the price of individuality, at the same time telling stories of being together—as a couple, in a family or in society, in a bygone era or in today’s world.

About the Film

Iranian Marjane talks humorously about her life in Tehran and the historical context of Iran in the 1980s. From an early age, she has been angry with injustice and rebelled against the country’s political regime that restricts human rights, especially those of women. The black and white animated film is a beautiful lesson about the Middle East for children and adults.

About the Director

Marjane Astrapi (b. 1969, Iran) is a graphic novelist and filmmaker currently based in Paris. Encouraged by her professors, she started drawing comics and published an autobiographical novel about her childhood in Iran. The book-to-movie adaptation of Persepolis was awarded the main Cannes award by the jury. Today Astrapi has already directed five feature films and writes children’s books. Her illustrations and writing have been published in the New York Times and the New Yorker magazines.

About the Organisation

The Skalvija Cinema Centre is the oldest functioning cinema in Vilnius, presenting classics, European cinema, retrospectives and thematic series. Since 2003 it has also been organising the Vilnius Documentary Film Festival (VDFF).


07 28 | 21:30 | Short Film Programme by Free Filmers, a cinemovement and NGO from Mariupol | Sashko Protyah, Oksana Kazmina, Natasha Tseliuba, Yuliia Appen | G | 65 min | Presented by Meno avilys

The screening session consists of films by three filmmakers represented by Free Filmers: Sashko Protyah, Oksana Kazmina and Natasha Tzeliuba. It starts with Protyah and Kazmina’s TV documentary exploring the reality and cultural complexity of Eastern Ukraine, and continues with poetic and atmospheric works by Protyah and Tzeliuba, allowing a deeper experience of how important imagination and a free, drifting presence are in a politically charged everyday life. A crucial element of such an existence is the resident’s immediate and intimate relationship with the surrounding industrial landscapes.

Films

Eastern Ukrainian Dialogue | Sashko Protyah and Oksana Kazmina | TV dokumentika | Ukraina | 25 min.

The film researches problems and possibilities of building a cultural dialogue in Eastern Ukrainian cities. The film crew analyszes the multicultural history of the region, difficulties in cultural self-realiszation and attempts to make the dialogue more efficient. The film doesn’t give the exact answers, but tries to create space for unbiased discussion about the culture of the East of Ukraine.

Khayt | Sashko Protyah | Ukraina | 8, 44 min.

An artistic speculation about the Ukrainian city of Mariupol in 2068, where thriving urban culture is to a big extent created by Azov Greeks.

My Сosmos | Natasha Tzeliuba | Ukraina | 10 min.

The director returns to her native city and tells a story of her adulting in Cosmos – a neighbourhood in Zaporizhzhia. She tries to define what Cosmos means to her. Is it a self-sufficient universe or traumatic experience, a neighbourhood or sensation?

Sea. Wind. WTF | Sashko Protyah | Ukraina | 12 min.

An abandoned house at the seashore, +10 °C, one foggy sky and one video camera for three.

High Speed Trains Slow Down and Vanish | Sashko Protyah | Ukraina | 9 min.

Contemplation on sound and silence, inspired by Kral’ovany (a town and a band of the same name).

About the Organizsation

Free Filmers is a cinemovement and NGO from Mariupol, Ukraine. Their principal goals:

  • making films as alert and sensitive to reality as possible and with their main focus on the human life and the struggle for equality and freedom;
  • promoting independent filmmaking and grassroots initiatives in political arts;
  • resisting colonial policies, imperialism, capitalism and patriarch.

About the Directors

Sashko Protyah – independent filmmaker and teacher, Zaporizhia/Mariupol

Oksana Kazmina – independent artist, filmmaker and educator, Syracuse/Kyiv

Natasha Tzeliuba – artist, performer and curator, Cherkasy/Zaporizhzhia

Yuliia Appen – designer and photographer, Kyiv


AUGUST

08 02 | 21:00 | Aphasia | 2019 | Jelena Juresa | Croatia, Belgium | 13+ | 80 min | Presented by Kaunas Artists’ House

The programme Mocuments, initiated by Kaunas Artists’ House in 2020, is a project dedicated to the dissemination of video art and documentaries that analyse visually constructed narratives. Having been successfully running for two years, the programme will once again be aimed at filmmakers and cinephiles interested in cinema, politically engaged narrative and the philosophy of images.

The programme aims to encourage the search for new approaches to video art and to critically examine dominant narratives and their conventional interpretations.

About the Film

The feature-length film-essay Aphasia explores the politics of memory and oblivion inscribed in social and historical contexts. Through three chapters, Aphasia traces a thread of power positions, racism, injustice and violence, which stems from Belgian colonialism, Austrian anti-Semitism and the atrocities in Bosnia during the Yugoslav wars. The film explores how constantly repeated collective crimes reflect social and political constellations revealing the structures behind national states and national identities.

About the Director

Yugoslav-born artist and filmmaker Jelena Jureša currently lives and works in Belgium. In her films, photographic works and video installations, she addresses issues of cultural identity, gender, the politics of memory and oblivion, and collective violence. Jureša continuously questions historical and political narratives and tries to deconstruct our ideas about what is true.

About the Organisation

Kaunas Artists’ House (KAH) is a professional arts centre in Kaunas carrying out cultural activities, disseminating contemporary art and organising public cultural programmes. KAH produces cultural and artistic content, coordinates the city’s cultural information, and acts as a mediator between the city municipality and cultural operators as well as their audiences.


08 03 | 21:00 | Summer Camp Shorts | G | Presented by Skalvija Film Academy

​​The results of the SKA Creative Film Camp are here for your eyes and ears. See what SKA students have created in Nida, transforming it into a large film set and touching cine film for the first time in their lives. High-school students interested in studying cinema will be able to meet the SKA community, ask questions and hear out answers.

The Skalvija Film Academy, or simply SKA, is a second home for students aged 15-18 who love cinema and want to create it. Founded in 2007 by the Skalvija Film Centre, the Academy cultivates the next generation of filmmakers. The theoretical and practical knowledge gained during the studies at SKA becomes their debut short films, establishing their first steps into the broader scene of the cinema world.


08 04 | 21:00 | Films Selected by Young Programmers | G | Presented by Meno avilys and Moving Cinema

Young Programmers is an initiative by the NGO Meno Avilys and the international film education project Moving Cinema. This summer we will continue exploring Moving Cinema‘s special film catalogue which combines classics and contemporary cinema. All the films in the catalogue and their creators (e.g. Pedro Costa, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Carla Simón, Agnès Varda, etc.) have been watched, appreciated and selected by the young people from different European countries participating in the project. Seeking to develop a dialogue between Lithuanian and other European filmmakers and audiences, we will complement the screening of European cinema with a viewing of a Lithuanian film.

Since 2014, the international film education project Moving Cinema aims to introduce young people to the diversity of European cinema, to foster an attentive and sensitive attitude towards their surroundings, and to suggest that film can be a means of self-expression. The project is represented in Lithuania by Meno Avilys.


08 09 | 21:00 | My Babushka: Searching for Ukrainian Identities | 2001 | Barbara Hammer | USA | G | 53 min | Presented by Vilnius Queer Festival “Kreivės”

Driven by her natural curiosity and a wish to explore her family roots, American experimental and queer cinema legend Barbara Hammer travelled to Ukraine in 2000. In a country in turmoil, she turned her camera on a society just beginning to open up: civil liberties and cultural differences, homophobia and anti-Semitism, economic hardship and feminism. Hammer discovers old political, social and cultural barriers collapsing, but nothing new is there to replace them. Amid struggles to establish fixed points of reference, Hammer searches for personal and collective identities, an issue that, more than two decades after the release of this documentary, takes on renewed urgency amid the Russian invasion. 

About the Director

Barbara Hammer (1939-2019) was an American feminist filmmaker and one of the pioneers of lesbian cinema. During her five-decade-long career, she made nearly a hundred experimental films exploring identities, bodies, sexuality and the stories that lie between these electrified denominators. Hammer’s extensive filmography spans hippie experiments of 1970s California, radical, skewed documentaries, ironic biographies and intimate narratives.

About the Organisation

Vilnius Queer Festival Kreivės is a cultural and social initiative started in 2014. Building on earlier and cooperating with current other queer initiatives, it aspires to be a unique space for film screenings, events and community building. The 9th edition of Kreivės will start in Vilnius on 7-11 September.


08 10 | 21:00 | Yi Yi | 2000 | Edward Yang | Taiwan | 13+ | 173 min | Presented by Skalvija Cinema Center

The Skalvija Cinema Centre traditionally presents classic films, reflecting the summery, communal and informal spirit of the Deep Rivers Run Silent screenings. The films in this year’s programme speak about the price of individuality, at the same time telling stories of being together—as a couple, in a family or in society, in a bygone era or in today’s world.

About the Film

Yi Yi chronicles the life of a family in Taipei as the world enters the 21st century. Each member of the family finds themselves at a certain threshold in their life and tries to find answers to complex questions. Like young Jang Jang, for instance, the director’s alter-ego, who decides to take pictures of the backs of people’s heads to show them the invisible side of reality. Balancing between slapstick comedy and a sad melodrama, the film is a kind of urban symphony, with shifting themes, different rhythms and repetitions. N-16

About the Director

Edward Yang (1947-2007,CN) significantly contributed to the emergence of New Taiwan Cinema in the 1980s. The filmmakers of this wave sought to promote a conscious interest in Taiwanese culture, to resist censorship and to move away from entertainment films. Yang’s lyrical cinema mostly explores themes of urbanisation processes and family portraits, reflecting the changing Taiwanese society.

About the Organisation

The Skalvija Cinema Centre is the oldest functioning cinema in Vilnius, presenting classics, European cinema, retrospectives and thematic series. Since 2003 it has also been organising the Vilnius Documentary Film Festival (VDFF).


08 11 | 21:00 | Films Selected by Young Programmers | G | Presented by Meno avilys and Moving Cinema

Young Programmers is an initiative by the NGO Meno Avilys and the international film education project Moving Cinema. This summer we will continue exploring Moving Cinema‘s special film catalogue which combines classics and contemporary cinema. All the films in the catalogue and their creators (e.g. Pedro Costa, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Carla Simón, Agnès Varda, etc.) have been watched, appreciated and selected by the young people from different European countries participating in the project. Seeking to develop a dialogue between Lithuanian and other European filmmakers and audiences, we will complement the screening of European cinema with a viewing of a Lithuanian film.

Since 2014, the international film education project Moving Cinema aims to introduce young people to the diversity of European cinema, to foster an attentive and sensitive attitude towards their surroundings, and to suggest that film can be a means of self-expression. The project is represented in Lithuania by Meno Avilys.


08 16 | 21:00 | “Banguoja” Late Night Audio Session | G | Presented by Banguoja Audio Festival

Audio Festival BANGUOJA comes undulating into Patiltė! During the open-air listening session under the Liubartas Bridge, we will present a selection of short audio docs that tell true and intimate stories about the world around us, love, rebellion and experiences that can not be described in words. Audio works made by international and local artists will be played in their original languages, while visual projections of their Lithuanian subtitles will disappear into the night. 

The selection includes ten audio documentaries from Ukraine, Finland, USA, Australia, Poland, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Belgium, including audio works by Axel Kacoutié, Sayre Quevedo, Adomas Zubė and others.

About the Organisation

BANGUOJA is the first audio festival in Lithuania, aiming to introduce and promote audio documentaries. Taking place  on 16–28 August, it will present an international programme of radio documentaries and podcasts, consisting of over a dozen carefully selected audio works by both international and local artists. This year, the festival will host its second virtual conference for aspiring and experienced audio content creators as well as open-air listening sessions under the stars. The festival will also launch a mentoring programme during which its participants make recordings together with local audio artists. The event is organised by Inconvenient Films.


* International Symposium “The Birth of Cinema and the Imperial Boundaries in Central and Eastern Europe” complements the program “Ukrainian Avent-Garde Cinema,” which consists of films “Unprecedented Campaign,” “The Eleventh Year,” and “In Spring,” which are accompanied by live music. The symposium will take place on July 5th, from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at Sinemateka (A. Goštauto g. 2, Vilnius). Registration required.


All events are free of charge. The films are screened in the original language and include Lithuanian, English and Ukrainian subtitles.


Organized by | Meno avilys

Curated by | Karolis Žukas, Gerda Paliušytė, Lina Kaminskaitė

Visual identity by | Gailė Pranckūnaitė

Partners | Contemporary Music Ensemble “Synaesthesis,” Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center, The Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Skalvija Cinema Center, Kaunas Artists’ House, Kirtimai Cultural Center, Skalvija Film Academy, Audio Festival, Vilnius Queer Festival “Kreivės,” Moving Cinema

Information partner | Lithuanian National Radio and Television

Funded by | Lithuanian Council for Culture, Lithuanian Film Centre, Vilnius City Municipality, AGATA

Event is part of www.700vilnius.lt programme