may 16 - los angeles EUROPEAN UNION FILM FESTIVAL
AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE AT THE AERO THEATRE, LOS ANGELES
***LOS ANGELES PREMIERE***
From the Margaret Mead Film Festival:
"Inspired by their grandmother’s vivid accounts of her WWII-era childhood, first-time sibling filmmakers Aldona (director) and Julian Watts (cinematographer) travel to Lithuania with family. They arrive in Dainava, a region known as the “Land of Songs,” where they meet a sprightly group of women who have kept their village’s ancient folk-singing tradition vibrant and essential through decades of war, occupation, and youth flight. When the filmmakers return years later, only five of the grandmothers are still alive. Land of Songs is a tender, humorous, poetic record of the lives of these remarkable women and an eloquent testament to heritage—and to the universal language of folk music."
Land of Songs premiered at the Vilnius International Film Festival in Lithuania and the Margaret Mead Film Festival at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where it received the Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award Honorable Mention. It has also screened at Stanford University's Baltic Film Series and at the American Folklore Society's annual meeting, among other places. It was selected for the Independent Filmmaker Project's 2014 Spotlight on Documentaries at Film Week in New York and is fiscally sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society.
Land of Songs is Aldona Watts’ first film. She grew up in San Francisco, and currently works between the Bay Area and New York on film projects relating to gender, music, and culture. Aldona is an organizer at Her Girl Friday, a Brooklyn collective that produces events for female journalists and documentarians. Previously, she produced audio documentaries, managed a youth radio station, and hosted a radio show about punk music and culture that broadcasted in New York and Europe.
Julian Watts is an artist whose work spans film, music composition, sculpture, painting and furniture design. His work has shown internationally and is represented by Campfire Gallery in San Francisco. He is based in San Francisco, where he was born and raised.
Nicholas Berger has directed and edited award-winning documentary shorts, including “Nutkin’s Last Stand,” which played at IDFA, Silverdocs, and Palm Springs, aired on PBS, was nominated for a Student Academy Award, and was selected for Dave Eggers’ DVD magazine “Wholphin.” He received a B.A. from Brown University before working on documentaries for PBS and the History Channel. He received an M.F.A. from Stanford University’s Documentary Film program. Berger was born in San Francisco and has lived in San Diego, New York and Berlin.
James Kennard is a San Francisco-based video producer with credits that emphasize fine art and fine cuisine. He spent several years at InCA Films as camera and editor on a variety of projects including two internationally distributed feature documentaries, as well a short documentary on traditional bookmaking and a series of web-based documentaries with the San Francisco Symphony.