Indie film ‘Nineveh’s Burning’ Screens May 10th at the Lift-Off Film Festival 2017

By on May 1, 2017

Out of more than 2,000 entries from all over the world, ‘Nineveh’s Burning’, a work by Japan-based indie film producer and composer Michael Guinn and director Lukasz Pytlik, has been officially selected to join a line up of true independent cinema at this year’s Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival 2017. The Lift-Off Film Festival Network started in 2011 as a platform for budding filmmakers and new voices bringing their works to international stage for global exposure.

When Pytlik heard Michael Guinn’s song, ‘Nineveh’s Burning’, he felt that here was a chance for a very different kind of music video. “It is an amazing, amazing song,” Pytlik says, “exactly the one I would always love to make videos to. It’s extremely cinematic, haunting and beautiful – exactly the type I feel best at!” In fact, Pytlik prefers to think of it as a short film rather than a music video, and he approached the song from that direction. Guinn explains why the film is different from most music videos in his view: “Most music videos are geared only towards young audiences who look for a sense of what is fashionable or cool. In fact, most of them are for the aggrandizement of a band’s brand. ‘Nineveh’s Burning’ explores a story, or rather how humanity’s oldest story survived.”

The story in question is the Epic of Gilgamesh, which was written in ancient Sumer on clay tablets almost 4000 years ago in a script known as cuneiform. ‘Nineveh’s Burning’ is about the tablets in the famous library at Nineveh and how they survived through a historical irony. Guinn explains: “The city of Nineveh was sacked during a war in 612 BCE. The library which housed many clay tablets was burned down, and these tablets hardened in the fire. Thus, they were able to survive, albeit in a fragmented state, until their discovery by archaeologists in the 19th century. So this tale of wisdom and the growing humanity of its central character, Gilgamesh, survived through an act of war. Lukasz’s film of my song explores this irony in a very expressive and beautiful way. He uses filmic mythological symbols to express a story about an ancient mythological tale. Ironically too, as the song suggests, Nineveh, which is modern Mosul in Iraq, is still burning. ‘Nineveh’s Burning’ is a very different kind of music video because of what it hopes to achieve. We are very pleased and grateful that the Tokyo Lift-Off festival people are making it possible to be seen and experienced at their venue.”

‘Nineveh’s Burning’, says Guinn, is only the beginning of a much larger musical work. “Yes, this is only the prologue for an entire musical based on the Epic of Gilgamesh. There is much more that has been recorded, and I hope to get it staged, but one needs a lot of collaborators for something so big.”

‘The festival is from May 8-10th. ‘Nineveh’s Burning’ will be screened at the Tokyo Lift-Off festival on May 10th. Tickets are available here.


Lift-Off currently has festivals in Manchester, New York, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Paris, Amsterdam, Seoul, Sydney, Los Angeles, London and Tokyo.

The Lift-Off Global network is more than a film festival. It is a professional showcase offering distribution and the chance to be involved in Lift-Off’s own feature film production work.

James Bradley Co-Director and Co-Founder of Lift-Off says…

“Tokyo has this creative draw that no other city on the planet seems to get close to. This is why we are ruthless in the films we select; the Japanese audience is an entertainment and creative verse market. Getting into Tokyo Lift-Off is an extremely high achievement as we only take the best!”

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