Nov 3, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Greetings From Free Forests
with Ian Soroka
Drifting through the densely forested landscape of southern Slovenia—Greetings From Free Forests reveals a refuge of embedded historical memory. The film travels alongside the testimonies of local hunters, foresters, cavers, and foragers among others—orbiting around an absence left by radical struggle after it has come to fruition and since faded. During WWII, this forest served as a sanctuary for the Partisan Liberation Front, who were resisting the Fascist occupation of Yugoslavia. Remnants of this event can still be found throughout the forest in various states of decay, but also within images that sought to preserve the revolution’s emancipatory energy for future generations; images now stored in an underground film archive buried within the forest itself, depicting both the violence and the hope that came with radical change.
Winner of DocLisboa’s Lisbon City Grand Prix, The Brooklyn Rail called it, “the competition’s most interesting film—and maybe its most unclassifiable…[it] moves discursively rather than didactically; offering a mixture of perspectives on the landscape’s past and present, rather than the single, authoritative essay voice that is common in similar films”
We’re delighted to host Ian Soroka, former UNDO staff member, back home for the screening of his debut feature. He’ll be in attendance for conversation following the film.
Greetings From Free Forests
98 min., 2018, Slovenia / USA / Croatia
Underground resistance is made literal in Ian Soroka’s debut feature, which excavates the buried histories of the Partisan Liberation Front, who resisted the Fascist occupation of Yugoslavia during World War II. Through rich landscape cinematography, haunted archival images, and the vivid testimonials of local hunters, foresters, tour guides, and historians, the film traces the hidden historical currents beneath Southern Slovenia’s verdant terrain, exploring cave hideouts, quarries, archaeological sites, unmarked graves, and even a subterranean bunker that became a film archive. Winner of DocLisboa’s Lisbon City Grand Prix.
Ian Soroka is a filmmaker currently based in the San Francisco Bay area. His films drift fluidly between the archive and the everyday, discursively weaving questions concerning embedded histories, memory politics, and landscape as a social space. He studied cinema and philosophy at the University of Colorado in Boulder, in Prague at FAMU, and completed an M.S. in Art, Culture and Technology at MIT. Ian is a MacDowell Colony Fellow, a Princess Grace Foundation-USA Award recipient, and a Fulbright Fellow in Slovenia, where he was a researcher at the Slovenian National Film Archive and Cinematheque. His work has screened internationally in festival, gallery and museum contexts including: Art of the Real, DocLisboa, Doc’s Kingdom Film Seminar, DokFest München, DokuFest IDFF Kosovo, Rencontres Internationales, Pravo Ljudski, and Kinoteka, Ljubljana.
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