The Milestonale Documentary Film Festival happened on 12-13th July, organized by the Arts Society! Throughout these two days, Milestone turned into a cultural Mecca: with the help of KineDok, six film screenings were held, and to three of them, speakers (including directors!) were invited. Here are a few reviews of the films, written by the organizers:

Gangster of Love

Everyone wants to find love, even if they live in a little village near the Croatian coast. Nediljko Babic, also known as Gangster, operates a matchmaking service for people who cannot find love for themselves. In the documentary, we get to meet a German bachelor, who got tired of German women, a Bulgarian single mother, an unemployed man, and an elderly man, who got tired of living alone. How can they find love? This is not your typical love story, but with the little bit of Balkan in it, it is entertaining and will keep you interested, as if it were a reality show.

The Next Guardian

The Next Guardian, directed by Zurbó Dorottya and Arun Bhattarai was the opening movie of the festival and received great feedback from the audience. The movie followed along a family’s life from Bhutan and shared very intimate moments and feelings with the viewers. We got to learn about the difficulties of the generation gaps in the country, what sort of impact globalization has there and how important traditions are in a country that is so isolated from the world. After the film we got to learn more about Bhutan from an expert which was an amazing and very exciting experience for many of us. I find this document film very important, with its messages and I’m very glad I was able to take part in this screening and discussion at the end.

Putin’s witnesses

Vitalij Manszkij takes us to the last day of 1999, the country of Russia. On this day, Boris Yeltsin announced his resign andappointed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the temporary president of the country. The ukranian born director shows us intimate moments of the background of the elections, in aspects of the citizens, Vladimir Putin and Boris Yeltsin. This day was one of the most important ones of Europe’s political history, which has an impact on all of us since. It was really fascinating to get an insight of the system of the Russian elections and the excitement of Putin’s party. The middle of the film could have been more eventful, but the begining and the end of this document film satisfied the audience.

Not About Family

There are films that make you grateful for the life you have. There are films that make you cry. And there is Not About Family, which manages both. It is a stunning documentary piece by Kis Anna, telling the story of kids with troubled family backgrounds taking part in a 2-week training. They were supposed to learn stress management, anger control, to trust each other, to cooperate; in hope that they would end up having goals for the future. Throughout this process, however, they opened up and learnt from each other, telling stories that sometimes left the audience in tears or in shock. After watching the film, we sat down for a Q&A session with the director, and the audience got a chance to ask their questions and share their insights. What stood out was the anger that all of us felt, partly because the kids had no goals in life whatsoever, and partly because there is no way we could help those bright kids realize their potential. Some people sobbing, some people inspired, but we all left the room more grateful for what we have.

Granny Project

Three Grannies with three extraordinary lives (an English spy, a Hungarian communist Holocaust survivor and a dancer fromthe Nazi Germany), three grandchildren, three interesting stories. The three friends get to know the past, their Grandmothers, and even each other, while travelling in space and time, having fun, but taking the most serious parts seriously. Even the old women get close to each other, although there is no language all of them speak, and recapturing is hard for them, but they start to feel young while remembering their youth and seeing the three grandchildren. The „mixture” of humor and seriousness makes it easier for the audience, the Grandmas and their grandsons to understand the past.

Balázs Bánszki, the President of the Arts Society, concluded the event in a short speech. “I would like to thank, first of all, everyone for coming, we were really surprised how many of you came. I would also like to thank all of the speakers for coming, and I would espeacially like to thank the organizers for helping me and Dávid bring this event into reality, we really couldn’t have done it without you. I am very proud of this team, as I believe that we were able to use every last bit of our resources, and we really made the best of everything, which, to be honest, wasn’t half bad. I hope to see you all in the same place, at the same time, next year!”