The student demonstrations of 1968 and the turmoil that followed the occupation of Czechoslovakia are at the center of Žilnik’s first feature film, Early Works (1969), which was awarded the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and four prizes at Pula that same year.
After being censored in Yugoslavia, Žilnik spent the mid-1970s in West Germany, where he independently produced and made seven documentaries and one feature film, Paradise (1976). These were amongst the first to touch on the theme of foreign workers in Germany, and they continue to be shown at various film retrospectives and symposiums.
Turning to independent film and media production in the 1990s, he went on to make a series of feature and documentary films centering around the cataclysmic events in the Balkans: Tito among the Serbs for the Second Time (1994), Marble Ass (1995), Throwing Off the Yolks of Bondage (1997), Wanderlust (1998). These films won top awards at national festivals (Herceg Novi, Palić, Novi Sad and Sopot) and were screened at numerous international festivals. In 1995 Marble Ass won the prestigious Teddy Award at the Berlinale.
The breakdown of the value system in post-transitional Central and Eastern European countries and the problems concerning refugees and migration in the new circumstances of an expanded Europe were the focus of Žilnik’s most recent films: Fortress Europe (2000), Kennedy Goes Back Home (2003), Europe Next Door (2005), Old School of Capitalism (2009), among others.
His works are featured in collections of galleries and museums of contemporary art around the world. He has participated in international art events such as documenta in Germany and the Venice Biennale in Italy.
Alongside his ceaseless filmmaking and production work, Žilnik has been active in educational areas, as well; since 1997 he has been a mentor and executive producer at many international workshops for students from all over southeastern Europe. Since 2006 he has been a visiting lecturer at film schools and universities in the USA, Slovenia and the UK.
- Novi Sad, Serbia
Saulius Žilys is a historian and researcher in the Manuscript Department of the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. He attended secondary school in Panevėžys. In 1990, he moved to Vilnius, where he started to study history at Vilnius University. After graduating from the university, Žilys started to work in the Manuscript Department. Thus, we can say that Žilys is the most experienced researcher in the department.
According to Žilys, he was not involved in opposition activities. He recalls that his parents frequently listened to Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America.
Žilys describes cultural opposition as a position that was not obviously dissident, but did not fit the framework imposed by the government. According to him, works of cultural opposition suffered because of strong censorship.
- Vilnius Žygimantų gatvė 1, Lithuania 01143
Ivars Žukovskis and Lidija Doroņina-Lasmane were editors and publishers of the periodical Auseklis. Ivars Žukovskis (b. 1936) was a journalist by profession. In 1968, during a trip to Yugoslavia, he condemned the Soviet invasion of Czehoslovakia in an interview with a local newspaper, and for this 'offence' he was sentenced to five years‘ imprisonment in a labour camp in Mordovia. Soon after his return from the camp, the KGB confiscated a letter from political prisoners at the camp to the United Nations that he had brought out with him, and he was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison in 1974. In 1979, he was one of 45 Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian dissidents who signed a protest document, the Baltic Charter or the Baltic Memorandum.
- Riga, Latvia