Stanford Libraries and CREEES host successful film series

Land of Songs film screening photo

The Baltic Film Series at Stanford concluded this May after eight film screenings that Stanford Libraries and the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES) hosted during fall and spring quarters. The screenings featured Baltic and Nordic films focusing on various aspects of the history and culture of the Baltic countries.

The film series was well attended, attracting an average of between 100 and 200 people per screening. The most popular film “Land of Songs” (2015), a Lithuanian cultural documentary by Aldona and Julian Watts, a brother-and-sister filmmaking team from San Francisco, was shown in December 2016 and brought together more than 300 students, faculty, staff and Baltic community members.

Other highlights of the series included “Those Who Dare” (2015), an Icelandic-Baltic documentary that outlines the Baltic nations’ struggle for the restoration of their independence in 1986–1995; “The Master Plan” (2016), a joint Baltic documentary exploring the methods through which Russia influences the domestic policy of the Baltic states; and “The Fencer” (2015), a Finnish-Estonian-German historical drama that was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as the Best Foreign Language Film and made it to the shortlist of nine films in the same category at the 88th Academy Awards.

Land of Songs film screening photo

Various experts on the region’s history, culture and film industry introduced the films at the screening events. Several screenings were attended by directors and other people associated with the films, such as Mr. Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, foreign minister of Iceland from 1988–1995 who played a crucial role in the re-independence process of the Baltic countries and appeared as the central character in “Those Who Dare.”

The Baltic Film Series was co-sponsored by Stanford Libraries and CREEES. Several of the screenings were also supported by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in Los Angeles and Mr. Dennis Lee Garrison, Honorary Consul of Lithuania in San Francisco.

The article was first published by CREEES Chronicle 2015-2016.

By Liisi Esse