- Panel Discussion
Presented by SEEfest
SEEfest 2018 payed homage to an exciting era of early 20th century and the abundance and excitement of artistic life in the territories then part of Austria-Hungary. Following a brief introduction on modernism and a clip from the Neutra documentary, the conversation with guest filmmakers explored connections between their work and architectural heritage of the two Austrian architects in Southern California, and what new perspective will these two upcoming films bring to the way we view the men who created it, and the larger legacy of the times they lived in.
With: Svetlana Kasalovic, professor of design and multimedia at Moorpark College; and Valentina Ganeva and PJ Letofsky, two filmmakers of upcoming documentary films about Austrian architects Rudolph Schindler, and Richard Neutra. Moderated by Vera Mijojlic, SEEfest director.
Svetlana Kasalovic is a professor of design and media arts at Moorpark College where she teaches classes in design history, theory and practice. She earned a Diploma in Architecture from Belgrade University and MFA in Ad/Design from Syracuse University. Svetlana’s work explores design as a catalyst for learning and critical theory in architecture, design and media arts.
Valentina Ganeva is a native of Bulgaria, where she earned a degree in Film History, Theory and Criticism. She made her mark as a freelance journalist for major Bulgarian publications, covering international film festivals. After relocating to Los Angeles in 1990, she continued her film studies at UCLA Extension. In 1997 she founded post-production company Murex Films, Inc. in Santa Monica, which became known for editing many hit music videos, commercials and documentaries. Full list of her credits as an editor is available at: www.murexfilms.com. Currently Valentina is working on a feature-length documentary about R. M. Schindler, one of the most prominent figures of Modern Architecture in California. She is helming the project as a writer/producer/director and editor.
PJ Letofsky was born and raised in Minneapolis and studied piano and photography from age 6. He started directing/ producing with his Minneapolis cable show TV Party (43 episodes) which covered the local arts and entertainment scene, and then branching out to cover SXSW (5 years) and the ‘ex-pat’ scene in Prague in the late 1990’s. After relocating to LA, he directed and produced Polly’s GlobalWalk, on his sister’s 5-year walk around the world for Breast Cancer, which premiered for the Mayo Clinic, and was broadcast on PBS. He directed Tarkovsky: Time Within Time, based on the revered Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky’s diary, and filmed in Moscow, Rome, and Paris. A seasoned pianist-singer songwriter, PJ had his rock bands on the road for 12 years before moving into film. He studied at UCLA and has been directing, producing, and editing for over 20 years. He loves taking on art and culture documentaries with an international reach. Currently he is working on a documentary about Austrian architect Richard Neutra, scheduled for release in February 2019.
Vera Mijojlic founded the South East European Film Festival Los Angeles (SEEfest), and curated major film retrospectives for the UCLA Film Archive and Austin Film Society, and initiated a national tour of landmark short films with the Los Angeles FilmForum, Pacific Film Archive, Harvard Film Archive, and National Gallery of Art. She has received recognitions from the California State Assembly, County and City of Los Angeles, and City of Beverly Hills, and in 2018 Women in Leadership Award from the City of West Hollywood. In her native Yugoslavia she worked as a film critic, and in various capacities on international film productions. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade, Serbia.