On April 8th, “Balkan Spirit” by director Hermann Vaske celebrates its premiere at the 32. International Istanbul Film Festival.

What does Balkan spirit mean to you? Many artists from Slavoj Zizek, Angelina Jolie, Nuri Bilge Ceylan to Marina Abramovic, Isabelle Huppert, Kim Ki-Duk, and Baba Zula are offering their answers. Where is the Balkans? Where do the borders begin and end? Where does the inspired storytelling tradition of the region in music, cinema, and contemporary arts come from? Director, writer and producer Herman Vaske cultivates the answers throughout the region, focusing on its history, geography, politics, and philosophical position, and the creative works of young artists from the Balkans, with an imaginative editing worthy of their origins.

As part of the Balkan Spirit Project, the TV-station Arte held a video contest parallel to the creation of the Hermann Vaske’s documentary. Under the motto “What does Balkan Spirit mean to you?” Internet users had been called upon to put their ideas of the Balkans on film and present them in the form of a video with a maximum length of one minute. A jury composed of well-known artists, filmmakers and philosophers such as Marina Abramovic, Zelimir Baric and Ada Condeescu, selected twenty films which were then placed online for user voting. See the winners on Arte’s Balkan Spirit video website.  

Hermann Vaske dedicated his film to creative pioneer Dragan Sakan, initiator of Piran’s famous creative festival, who passed away in 2010. The film is co-produced by Arte and funded by Hessen Film Fund.

More about the film: http://www.hermannvaske.com/work/film_tv/balkan-spirit-2/