Dear fans of FEST,
In the films of this year's FEST, you will recognize a lot of brave energy - one that echoes wisdom gained through life and profession, as well as the new one who accepted the previous one as its starting point and went on. Looking at the film repertoire, it is easy to conclude that many of today's moving images leave the impression of representative portraits in the lower corner of which, that is to say in the opening credits, instead of the signature of a famous painter, a brush and a spatula, stands the name of the director whose talent is in the shadow of the customer's primary motive and that is profit. The lack of a representative number of cinema halls intended for films that are not the highest-grossing at the box office is a global problem that is even more noticeable in Serbia. This emphasises the importance of film festivals that give the audience the opportunity to be a part of the the existing and vital world of contemporary world film. The mission of film festivals is more important than ever before.
This year's edition of FEST offers films that marked the last year’s production season, as well as those that will be frequent participants of prominent festivals in the following year, and I anticipate that many of these films will be running for a long time in cinemas. In the two competition programmes of FEST, the Main programme and the Serbian films (Serbia and Friends) programme, the audience will find selected titles that, each in their own way, represent an authorial clash with the actual reality or reality that we have long known as the past, but there are also imaginary worlds whose foothold in reality is more tangible than this paper or screen on which you are reading the text. More than noticeable presence of the films of the so-called small cinema or a significant number of women directors in the FEST programme (22 films in the 47th FEST programme were directed by women) is not a matter of "selective correctness", but the quality of the artistic expression that should be recognized by the audience as well. From Kusturica and Trapero to Labaki and Ortega in the Main Programme and from Marković and Radovanović to Jelčić and Terzić in the Serbian Film Programme (Serbia and Friends), FEST presents films that deserve special attention.
This year, the Serbian Film (Serbia and Friends) programme has also integrated selected films that represent Serbian minority co-productions. The goal of this decision is to qualitatively increase the competitiveness in selecting films for the programme and raise awareness of the importance of minority co-productions that have successfully represented us for years at the most prestigious international festivals, and beyond. At this edition of FEST, within the national film programme, we will watch Serbian co-productions with Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro.
In addition to a significant number of films of famous directors and films in which outstanding actors once again prove their talent, the 47th edition of FEST offers films of directors and actors who are yet to be discovered. There are many such films, and I would like to mention those among them that will be highly valued by certain members of the audience, for example the Thai film MANTA RAY (Phuttiphong Aroonpheng), the French SAUVAGE (Camille Vidal-Naquet), the Hungarian RUBEN BRANDT, COLLECTOR (Miodrag Krstić), the Portuguese DIAMANTINO (Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt), the Spanish LETTERS TO PAUL MORRISSEY (Armand Rovira, Saida Benzal), the American film THE MOUNTAIN (Rick Alverson). That is why FEST is the place where both domestic and foreign distributors as well as editors of the film programme should discover, and for the market exploitation and presentation, provide the titles that the Festival draws attention to by this year's selection.
The Belgrade International Film Festival FEST 2019 presents films that will satisfy the most varied tastes of film aficionados - from Pawel Pawlikowski's sentimentaly cruel COLD WAR (Zimna wojna), through the disturbing and for younger audiences unsuitable Lars von Trier’s latest film, to the eye-opening antiwar film TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD (Les confins du monde) by Guillaume Nicloux, who made a film of his career.
In the past, we looked at this year's FEST as the future, and soon this one, 47th, will be one of the previous ones as well. For those who fantasize about the future, it is often said that they do not accept reality. Those turned to the past we tend to characterize as those who are fleeing from the present. That everything is not black-and-white is proven by those who are or at least consider themselves to be realists turned primarily to the present.
That is not all. There are also those that we can most simply call the dreamers, who fantasize both about the past and the future, and also look at the present moment from the point of view that lacks reality.
I believe that for all of you who do not feel they belong to this last categorization (an inadequate but fairly clear term), the love for a good film can help you feel like you do at least during FEST.
I would like to welcome all visitors, jury members of the Festival and artists from all over the world to our Belgrade.
Artistic Director of FEST