An intimate, rare look into a very different world that has been isolated for centuries, the world of Belarusian folks songs, which were kept alive for thousands of years and are still performed today by Belarusian villagers, but vanish rapidly with disappearance of the village life and their carriers.
The Songs of Old Europe – Ancient Belarusian Folk Songs is a 60 minute documentary written, produced, and directed by Volya Dzemka, a native Belarusian who is currently based in Seattle, WA. Animation for the documentary was created by a multiple award winning artist, Yulia Ruditskaya. Among cinematographers for the documentary is multiple award winner Aleksandr Aleinikov. Narration is done by a renowned voice-over actor Jim Cissell. We made our film as vivid and entertaining as subject matter allowed, and received a very positive feedback from the audience, with many viewers thinking that film they just saw ran only for 45 minutes, although it clocks at an hour exactly. Film is also available with soundtrack in Belarusian and English subtitles.
Ethnographers consider Belarusian Folk songs to be the oldest songs in Europe. Some songs have survived until the modern day in an unchanged form and are still performed by the Belarusian villagers, and some date as far back as 3000 B.C. However, the vast political and economic changes stimulate urbanization and have an adverse effect on preservation of the ancient singing traditions of Belarus. The creation of the film was not only an attempt to draw attention to the disappearing unique cultural folk art, but also memorialization and honoring of the last carriers of the songs, elderly ladies, or "babushkas".
Winner – Best Feature Documentary
CIFF Creation International Film Festival 2016, Summer Session, Ottawa, Canada
Official Selection – XIV Cine Pobre Film Festival 2016, October Session
World Premiere October 16, 2016, Las Paz, Southern Baja, Mexico
Official Selection – Best Documentary Nomination
Largo Film Awards 2016, October Session
Official Selection – MINDIE Miami Independent Film Festival 2016, October Edition
Finalist – LA Cinefest 2016, October Edition
Honorable Mention – LA Underground Film Forum 2016
Official Selection – 23-rd International Film Festival LISTAPAD, National Competition / Belarusian Panorama
European and Belarusian Premiere November 5, 2016, Minsk, Belarus
Winner – Best Documentary, Bronze Award
FAME'US International Film Festival 2016, Winter Edition
Official Selection – Richmond International Film Festival 2017
USA Premiere March 3, 2017, Richmond VA, USA
Semi-Finalist – Hollywood Screenings Film Festival
Winner – Platinum Remi Award, Ethnic/Cultural, Film and Video Production , 50th International WorldFest-Houston, Film Festival 2017, Houston TX, USA
Official Selection – Mind The Indie Film Festival MTIFF 2017
Bulgarian Premiere June 1, 2017 Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Semi-Finalist – Madrid Art Film Festival 2017