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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 48 | volume IX | May-June,2006



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 48May-June,2006
Gallery Reviews

Archaism, Postmodernism and Little Stars for Large Constellations

"Aster Fest" Strumica (26th-29th of May)


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Ana Vasilevska

The Southeast European authors create almost identical stories spontaneously

    “Aster Fest” is the name of the new independent film festival, the second edition of which took place at the end of May in Strumica. The festival's interesting and provocative concept, although “Aster Fest” is still in its early stages, has secured an excellent position in the regional film festivals map. The starry name of the festival doesn't mean that it celebrates film stars, but that it throws light on somewhat different cinematographies. It has subtly opened the “Balkan black box”, crammed with tons of film tape containing a history unique to this part of the planet. Around 80 short feature films, full feature films and documentaries in various formats arrived from 27 countries. And there was a prize for the best films in the official competition: a “Golden Horseshoe” – for good luck, of course.
    The initial direction for the festival's organiser, Goran Trenčovski, was the Southeastern Europe independent film production. Out of natural or imposed reasons, this part of the world has increasingly been recognised as a singular whole. It's logical: When you see at least 10 films from these countries whose ambition is to show their realities, you'll be faced with several almost identical levels. Start with the fact that they all work with minimal budgets, then consider their inspiration, which they all find in their social surroundings, until you reach the most important thing: The authors communicate with an identical catharsis. To be more precise, the weak economy, the war trauma, the transitional chaos, all those reflections from the disintegration of the communist countries that left serious scars in the individual fates – those are all strong trumps that connect the audience and the filmmakers from these countries. Like a psychotherapy group session, the creative visual media field is an endless playground for trauma healing.
    During four days, “Aster Fest” showed movies in alternative locations adapted as cinemas. In an open space, in highly uncomfortable seats, but surrounded with many curious eyes, an intense intimate fusion was created. The culture code of this small community has slowly warmed up to the event, which has opened up their vistas and widened their pupils to receive something more than the humdrum everyday life. During the morning meetings with the authors you could often witness constructive and vehement polemics on various film-related matters. Most filmmakers were on the same page. They commented their






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