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The Magic Snowman Returns

In a snow covered field somewhere in the world, Lumiukko, the magic snowman, is witnessing spring. All around him are the sounds and signs of the approaching season. His friend Gustella, the Winter Wind, arrives to wake him. "He is cutting it close," says Gustella, "he cannot be here when Siroc, the Summer Wind, arrives." Away the two friends fly... looking for another part of the world where winter is in the air.

A continent away in the quaint little town of Jensenville, New England is the home of three inseparable friends: Steven Fried and Kim & Tommy Wilson. In this part of the country, Jensenville is famous for the annual Winter Festival and a big ski jumping contest held at the start of the school winter break. Unfortunately, this year the town folks are having a hard time focusing on the Winter Festival, preoccupied by the tricks of the recently arrived Serena Queen who is soon to be married to Steven’s father, a local owner of a music store.

Keratza

...It is 1995 and a truck filled with her paintings stops at the Bulgarian-Macedonian Border. It is 2 am on a cold October night…

Often referred as the Frieda Kahlo of the Balkans, Keratza Visulcheva was born in 1910 in a village called Nesram, in the Aegean part of Macedonia, today part of Greece.   

Her story begins as a three-year old when she flees the terror of the Ottoman Turks and with her parents settles in nearby Bulgaria where she will spend most of her adult life.

But while her travels take her all over Europe and her work is recognized by the European artistic community, she will never rest trying to keep the connection with her homeland open. Through her paintings, during happy times, and when in the midst of a depression.

“The depression threatened to destroy me.  I simply didn't want to paint any more. I started cutting my paintings. Fortunately, on one occasion, a doctor who was also an amateur painter saw my paintings and he encouraged me. I resumed my work.  I swore that I will never again reach for the paintings and that I would continue."

At the age of 85, Keratza Visulcheva bequeathed her entire artistic opus to Macedonia.

Rice, Milk and Stilletos

RICE...This short film explores the traumatic effects of the Cultural Revolution on Lee Chen, who in 1951 unknowingly participated in mass murder. Chairman Mao's decrees to kill off the birds in order to increase crop yield is at first amusing to a little seven-year old girl who uses pots and pans to scare off the birds to the point that they wall dead to the ground, from the aimless exhausting flutter in the air.  In 1951 there were no sparrows left in China, only mosquitoes that brought malaria and death to millions of people. The film is both a period and contemporary tale that shows the degrading nature of fascism on the human spirit.

MILK...It is the time of the goats when Marshal Tito creates Yugoslavia, on the onset of World War II. It is a country of a handful of intellectuals enamored with communism, and millions of peasants whose meager existence depends on the few farm animals they own, the most popular of them, the goat.  But the communist leaders of the Eastern block, namely Stalin and Tito, need workers in the newly formed cooperatives that can be indoctrinated to become the new class.  In 1949 a law is passed that calls for the annihilation of the goats under the pretext that the animals are destroying the forests.  Those who don’t kill the animals will serve jail time…

STILLETOS...The Taliban prohibits women from wearing high-heeled shoes because “they attract a man’s attention” which is shameful, and a woman is stoned to death. Her nine-year old daughter watches the men, including her own father, kill her mother. Soon after, an international lawyer rescues her from Afghanistan and helps her get political asylum in the USA…

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The Magic Snowman III

The third film in the Snowman's series takes the magic snowman to the end of his 500 year term as a snowman.  Now that he needs to regain his childhood he has seven days to find a replacement, a terminally ill boy who can take over the role of a magic snowman and help children. In his last adventure, Lumi Ukko travels to New Zealand, gets imprisoned in Sudan and eventually finds his successor in a orphanage in Ireland where ten-year old Jonathan dreams of snow and magic winter land.

The story...

WHAM! POW! A computer-generated Viking figure plunges a spear through the chest of his enemy. AAGHH! Comes the victim’s anguished cry. The Viking laughs AH-HA-HA at the dying man but is soon surprised by a gang of marauders, intent on avenging their comrade. A computer cursor moves across the screen: it clicks on “Throw More Spears” and indeed, more spears are thrown.

Seated in a library carrel in a small town outside Dublin, Ireland is Jonathan, a young lad of eleven, who heartily cheers the bloody CG coup...