Documentary about Lithuanian folk singers to première at Stanford’s Baltic Film Series

Land of Songs

The film will screen on Monday December 7th at Bishop Auditorium on the Stanford campus. The free event begins at 6 pm with a reception co-hosted by the Consulate General of Lithuania in Los Angeles and the Honorary Consul of Lithuania in Northern California, followed by the film screening at 7 pm. After the screening will be a Q&A with the film’s director Aldona Watts until 8:30 pm.

“Land of Songs” had its U.S. Premiere at the Margaret Mead Film Festival in October 2015, where it was awarded the Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award Honorable Mention. It had its World Premiere in March 2015 at the Vilnius International Film Festival in Vilnius, Lithuania. The sold-out event featured special performances by renowned singer and music historian Veronika Povilionienė and the film’s characters, the Ethnographic Ensemble of Puvočiai. It was received with praise and extensive media coverage.

Inspired by their grandmother’s vivid accounts of her WWII-era childhood, first-time sibling filmmakers Aldona Watts (Director) and Julian Watts (Cinematographer) travel to Lithuania as teenagers with their family. They arrive in Dainava, a region known as the “Land of Songs,” where they meet a sprightly group of grandmothers who have kept their village’s folk-singing tradition vibrant and essential through decades of war, occupation, and youth flight. When the filmmakers return years later, only five of the grandmothers are still alive. “Land of Songs” is a tender, poetic record of the lives of these remarkable women and an eloquent testament to heritage—and to the universal language of folk music.

Aldona Watts is a filmmaker interested in the intersections of gender, music, folklore and counterculture. After releasing her first film “Land of Songs”, she is currently working on new film projects in New York and her native San Francisco. Aldona is an organizer at Her Girl Friday, a Brooklyn-based collective that produces events for female-identified journalists and nonfiction storytellers. She hosted and produced a weekly radio show about punk music and culture that broadcasted in New York on WNYU FM and in Vilnius, Lithuania on Start FM, as well as from an undisclosed location in the Netherlands. She has produced audio documentaries about issues relating to gender, culture, and society in Lithuania, directed youth programs in broadcast media, and managed a youth radio station in Queens, New York. She graduated from New York University with an Interdisciplinary B.A. in Gender Studies, Art, and Media Studies.

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