The First Comprehensive Retrospective of Slovenian Film on the West Coast of the United States

05. September 2011
Between 9 and 26 September 2011 the first comprehensive Slovenian Film retrospective on the West Coast of the United States is to take place at the Billy Wilder Theater in Los Angeles.


The Billy Wilder Theater is the central cinema of the UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) Film & Television Archive, which keeps as many as 250 000 films. Just for comparison: the Museum of Modern Art in New Yorks keeps around 22 000 films! The UCLA Film & Television Archive is one of the three largest and most important film institutions for the history of film in the world, next to the British Film Archive and the French Cinematheque. Apart from storage its main activities include the screening and restoration of films.

The Billy Wilder Theater with 294 seats was built with the heritage of Billy Wilder, a Hollywood legend.

At the retrospective entitled "Slovenia Begs to Differ" eleven films are to be presented. The selectors Shannon Kelley (UCLA) and Vera Mijojlić (South East European Film Festival) put together a programme which only includes three films shot in the last twenty years: Gravehopping by Jan Cvitkovič (2005); 9:06 by Igor Šterk (2009); and the documentary film 100 % Slovenian by Hanna Slak (2005).

The film 9:06 will conclude the retrospective on 26 September, and its director Igor Šterk will attend the screening. The selection of other films is as follows: the opening film The Valley of Peace by France Štiglic (1956), Kekec by Jože Gale (1951), Vesna by František Čap (1953), Dance in the Rain (1961) and The Castle of Sand (1962) by Boštjan Hladnik, On Paper Airplanes by Matjaž Klopčič (1967), Thugs from the Castle by Jože Pogačnik (1967), and The Raft of Medusa by Karpo Godina (1980).

The first comprehensive retrospective of Slovenian film took place in 2008 in New York, where 13 films were presented at the Walter Reade Theater. On that occasion the retrospective opened with the film Rooster's Breakfast by Marko Naberšnik. The selector Richard Peña had selected the films Vesna, Dance in the Rain, The Valley of Peace, On Paper Airplanes, and The Raft of Medusa, while the following films produced in the independent Slovenia had been shown: When I Close My Eyes by Franci Slak (1993), Outsider by Andrej Košak (1997), Idle Running by Janez Burger (1999), Sweet Dreams by Sašo Podgoršek (2001), Guardian of the Frontier by Maja Weiss (2002), Beneath Her Window by Metod Pevec (2003), and Spare Parts by Damjan Kozole (2003).

 “UCLA Film & Television Archive is pleased to present a selection of treasures from Slovenia’s rich cinematic tradition,” says Shannon Kelley, Head of Public Programs for the UCLA Film & Television Archive. “The achievements of this film culture are too little known, but the Slovenian cinema offers thrills and pleasures on a par with its famed European and American counterparts.  It’s wonderful to be able to introduce Southern California audiences to these treasures in archival prints that magnify the best work of Slovenia’s leading filmmaking talents.” 

"Slovenia Begs to Differ" is the third retrospective of Slovenian film, organised in the United States of America by the former Film Fund of the Republic of Slovenia, now the Slovenian Film Centre. The first retrospective only focused on the contemporary production, and it took place in BAMcinématek in New York in 2003.

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