Chicago Premiere

We're thrilled to announce our much-anticipated premiere in Chicago (aka "Little Lithuania!") March 19th & 21st with the European Union Film Festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Director Aldona Watts will be at both screenings in person for Q&A, and the March 19th screening will be followed by a reception with Lithuanian food and drink hosted by The Vilnius Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International. Tickets & details here.

 

 

Land of Songs packs the house at Stanford

Over 300 people came to see Land of Songs last night! It was the most popular screening of Stanford's 2015 Baltic Film Series, and Stanford Libraries' biggest film event to date. Deepest thanks to all who came.

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The event opened with a reception co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Lithuania in Los Angeles and the Honorary Consul of Lithuania in San Francisco. The audience was fabulous throughout the screening, and the Q&A was one of the most lively and in-depth we've experienced.

  Opening words by Darius Gaidys, Consulate General of Lithuania in Los Angeles

Opening words by Darius Gaidys, Consulate General of Lithuania in Los Angeles

  Q&A with   director Aldona Watts,  joined by editor Nicholas Berger and   cinematographer James Kennard.

Q&A with director Aldona Watts,  joined by editor Nicholas Berger and cinematographer James Kennard.

 

A full report on the event via Stanford Libraries can be found here

News about future screenings coming soon. Until then, happy holidays and warm wishes for the new year from the Land of Songs family.

West Coast Premiere December 7th

Join us for the West Coast Premiere of Land of Songs on the closing night of Stanford University's Baltic Film Series!

What:
"Land of Songs" West Coast Premiere
Closing Night of the Baltic Film Series at Stanford University
Sponsored by Stanford University Libraries and the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies
RSVP: http://stanford.io/1iG1L2t
Facebook event: http://on.fb.me/1NbWuw4
FREE & open to the public

When: 
Monday, December 7th
6:00-7:00pm Reception hosted by Consulate General of Lithuania in Los Angeles
7:00-8:00pm "Land of Songs" film screening
8:00-8:30pm Q&A with Director Aldona Watts, Editor Nicholas Berger, and Cinematographer James Kennard

Where: 
Bishop Auditorium, Lathrop Library
518 Memorial Way, Stanford, CA 94305
*Parking is free on campus after 4 pm

Hope to see you there!

Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award

I'm thrilled to share that Land of Songs received the Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award Honorable Mention!

 Q&A with director Aldona Watts, cinematographer/co-producer Julian Watts, and cinematographer James Kennard after the Land of Songs premiere. Also pictured is filmmaker Tyler Zoanni, whose short The Ladies played before Land of Songs, and festival curator Rachel Chanoff.

Q&A with director Aldona Watts, cinematographer/co-producer Julian Watts, and cinematographer James Kennard after the Land of Songs premiere. Also pictured is filmmaker Tyler Zoanni, whose short The Ladies played before Land of Songs, and festival curator Rachel Chanoff.

It was a double honor to receive the award from judges Lacey Schwartz and Meg McLagan, two incredible filmmakers. (Meg McLagan produced one of my all-time favorite films, Paris is Burning - which also premiered at the Mead.)

  The Land of Songs family at the Margaret Mead Filmmaker Awards Ceremony.

 The Land of Songs family at the Margaret Mead Filmmaker Awards Ceremony.

Deepest thanks to the Mead, the Museum, our Land of Songs family, and the awesome, engaged audience that packed the house on Friday! It was unreal. 

x Aldona

Lithuanian Independence Day + Vilnius Screenings Discount!

  Our brother-sister filmmaking team Aldona and Julian showing solidarity with Lithuania from their strollers in 1990!

Our brother-sister filmmaking team Aldona and Julian showing solidarity with Lithuania from their strollers in 1990!

Happy Lithuanian Independence Day! 25 years ago today, Lithuania was the first Soviet Republic to regain independence from the Soviet Union. 

In honor of the day, Vilnius Film Festival is offering discounted tickets to our screenings! There are only a few hours left to take advantage of the discount (we're on Lithuanian time), so now is the perfect time to get your tickets and share this info with friends and family in Vilnius! Our screenings:

SUN, MARCH 22 *WORLD PREMIERE!* Only 8 tickets left!
14:30 | Forum Cinemas Vingis, S09, Vilnius 
Tickets

WEDS, MARCH 25 
15:45 | Pasaka, MS, Vilnius 
Tickets

SAT, MARCH 28
14:15 | Skalvija, Vilnius 
Tickets


See you in Vilnius!

 

 

Village screening

For those who couldn't make it to our City Hall screening, we headed to the village for a more casual but super fun "bed sheet" screening in the local abandoned Soviet schoolhouse...

 Nick hangs a bed sheet on the walls of an abandoned Soviet schoolhouse for our village screening. 

Nick hangs a bed sheet on the walls of an abandoned Soviet schoolhouse for our village screening. 

 Land of Songs had to compete with the local graffiti.

Land of Songs had to compete with the local graffiti.

  Village red carpet moment with Aldona, Nick, and guest of honor "Tiger" the last living partisan resistance fighter in the region, with his wife and daughter.

Village red carpet moment with Aldona, Nick, and guest of honor "Tiger" the last living partisan resistance fighter in the region, with his wife and daughter.


 Requisite village-style after party.

Requisite village-style after party.

Visiting Nijole Brazenaite-Paronetto

We recently visited our dear friend and supporter Nijolė Bražėnaitė-Paronetto at her home in New York. Nijole is an accomplished pathologist and scholar, and is also known for being part of a notable family: she is the widow of legendary Lithuanian partisan Juozas Lukša-Daumantas, and daughter of Konstancija Bražėnienė, who was awarded the Yad Vashem Medal of the Righteous Among the Nations for protecting Jewish children during the holocaust in Lithuania. Needless to say, Nijolė has some incredible stories to tell.

More photos here.

 Nijole and twin sister Vida

Nijole and twin sister Vida

Nijolė and her sister Vida in 1939.

 Juozas Lukša-Daumantas.

Juozas Lukša-Daumantas.

 Konstancija Bražėnienė on Christmas Eve in Siberia (1950), where she spent decades in exile. 

Konstancija Bražėnienė on Christmas Eve in Siberia (1950), where she spent decades in exile. 

SFIFF 2013

We saw some incredible films at the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival, but nothing comes close to the mind-blowing audio-visual experience of Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel's Leviathan.

Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing is easily the most disturbing film I've seen at the festival - or anywhere, ever. In which "history is written by the winners," no matter who they are and what they've done...

Watching Sergei Loznitza's In the Fog was like seeing some of the stories from LAND OF SONGS brought to life. A bleak contemplation on how war effects the villager with no ideological stakes save his own personal integrity.

Other highlights include participating in San Francisco Film Society's A2E Direct Distribution lab, and running into our friend V.Vale of Re/Search Publications!

Land of Songs & Her Girl Friday

I'm a co-organizer at Her Girl Friday, a Brooklyn collective that produces events for female journalists & nonfiction storytellers. On March 7, we had our first San Francisco event at 111 Minna Street Gallery. Almost 200 people came to hang out and listen to our speakers Ann Friedman, Martina Castro, Mimi Chakarova, and Katy Newton discuss their new projects. I was honored to present Land of Songs as a work-in-progress in such good company.

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