Maryna Ajaja's Picks

SIFF Senior Programmer Maryna Ajaja picks some of her highlights from the 2019 Festival.

Maryna Ajaja

Maryna Ajaja graduated from Evergreen State College in 1989. She lived in Russia during glasnost and perestroika and in 1993, studied film at St. Petersburg Film and Television Institute. In Moscow, she worked with Turner International collaborating on a traveling film festival. Since 1997, Ajaja has been working at SIFF focusing on former CIS countries. She has been on the jury of many festivals: Warsaw, Belarus, Armenia, Latvia, Estonia, and is always on the lookout for films for Seattle audiences.

Another Day of Life

Another Day of Life

It is easy to forget that this vivid and compelling dramatic feature is animation. The moral question the film grapples with comes down to—is a goal worth risking lives?

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Ayka

Ayka

A visceral and energetic camera follows Ayka, an illegal migrant worker in wintry Moscow as she desperately seeks work.

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Crystal Swan

Crystal Swan

In a rare balance of angst and lightness, wanderlust young DJ in 1990s Belarus must travel to a backwater village as part of her scheme of attaining the American dream.

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I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians

I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians

I am in awe of Ioana Iacob, in her role of Mariana and the ambitious filmmakers who grapple with questions of history, violence, nationalism, and art.

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Long Time No Sea

Long Time No Sea

A sweet tender film about a boy learning about his Indigenous culture and family relations in a modern world.

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The Man Who Surprised Everyone

The Man Who Surprised Everyone

Much respect goes to the filmmakers who made this film in a time of horrific Russian official homophobia.

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One Day

One Day

An absolute natural feel & tone in an ordinary story of a mother and her failing marriage.

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Retrospekt

Retrospekt

A woman on maternity leave from her job at a domestic violence clinic brings her work home in a thriller that comprehends the horrid chemistry of abuse.

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Sibel

Sibel

In the Black Sea mountain region of Turkey, a daring young woman ostracized for being mute confronts the wolves who prowl nearby.

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Touch Me Not

Touch Me Not

The film is part documentary, part feature film hybrid and an audacious and eye-opening exploration of intimacy.

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