On January 28th in the City Assembly, the first press conference was held on the occasion of the forthcoming 47th FEST, which was attended by Ivan Karl, City Secretary of Culture, Damir Handanović, Director of CEBEF, Yugoslav Pantelić, Artistic Director of FEST and Darja Bajić Božović, the main producer of the Festival.
The conference began with a minute’s silence in honor of the recently deceased Dušan Makavejev, who will mark this year’s FEST. The Festival's main producer, Darja Bajić Božović, said that the visual identity and slogan of this year's Festival - Without Protection, were dedicated to this outstanding artist who would be posthumously awarded the Belgrade Victor for outstanding contribution to film art.
Ivan Karl, City Secretary of Culture, announced that the board of FEST had been formed two months before and consisted of Dragan Karadžić, Dragan Jeličić, Milos Đukelić, Damir Handanović and Ivan Karl, and that the main task of the board would be to systematically solve some problems FEST had been encountering. He also announced that Jugoslav Pantelić had been elected to another two-year term as Artistic Director. The City of Belgrade had allocated 35 million dinars for FEST in 2019, while nine million dinars had been approved at the Ministry of Culture competition, same as last year, Karl said. He also referred to that year's selection of cinema halls, each of which was special in its own way, so, as in previous years, Sava Centre was a place for FEST Gala, films out of competition and Academy Award winners, while Kombank Hall was the place of future for FEST, which had already started with the introduction of a competition programme four years ago.
Damir Handanović, Director of CEBEF, thanked the City of Belgrade for its support and stated that he hoped the Festival would be attended by a large number of visitors, from the country and abroad, as this is an international festival. Handanović announced that he expected more than 500 screenings in ten festival days, and Jugoslav Pantelić, Artistic Director of FEST, announced as many as 125 premieres. He concluded that French cinema was very prominent, with as many as three achievements in the Main Competition Programme, and that in the year 2019 a significant number of women directors were present in the programme - twenty-two. The film The Favourite by Yorgos Lanthimos would open the Festival, while the film Loro by Paolo Sorrentino would be presented at the closing ceremony.
Artistic Director referred to the Main Competition Programme, which was made up of films that had been much talked about, and which had been selected long before they had entered the race for the awards of various academies, associations and festivals (such as the Oscar nominated film Capernaum). Pantelić said that the Serbian Film Programme had finally become what had been his idea all along - that minority Serbian co-productions would be at the same level with Serbian films. "The importance of minority co-productions is easy to see if we look at some of the most influential world film festivals in the past few years." As the most recent example, he pointed out the Serbian-German co-production I Was at Home, But which would compete for the Golden Bear in Berlin, and only a few days later in Belgrade for the Belgrade Victor.
A word from Artistic Director of FEST, Jugoslav Pantelić, for the catalogue of the Festival 2019: 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. 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. Pantelić selected 125 premieres for the audience this year in the following programmes:
Competition Programme: THE MAIN COMPETITION PROGRAMME AND SERBIAN FILM (Serbia and Friends)
Out of Competition: The Out of Competition Main programme, FEST 47, FEST 47 Gala, Fokus Europa, FEST Presents, Dokufest, Youth FEST, Special screenings, FEST Classic
This year's Main Competition Programme offers 14 carefully selected films from the United Kingdom, France, Lebanon, Argentina, Iran, Australia, USA, Croatia, Azerbaijan, Slovenia, Russia. The jury composed of Bojan Vuletić, Milena Zupančić, Ioana Uricaru, Nada Šargin, Goran Bogdan will decide on the awards in the categories: Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Debut and Jury award. The best film will take the Belgrade Victor.
In the same categories, prizes will also be awarded in the national selection, and they will be decided by the jury consisting of Lazar Bodroža, Daniel Rafaelić, Milan Marić, Wang Yao, Albert Wiederspiel. This year, Serbian Film (Serbia and Friends) programme 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 that 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. In this edition of FEST, within the national film programme, we will watch Serbian co-productions with Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Montenegro and Croatia.
In addition to the official jury awards, the films will also be given the Nebojša Đukelić award for Best Regional Film, Politika award Milutin Čolić, FIPRESCI jury award and FEDEORA jury award.
The Belgrade Victor for outstanding contribution to film art will be posthumously awarded to Serbian director Dušan Makavejev, and the Belgrade Victor for creative achievement will be given to actor and director Ralph Fiennes.
The film The Favourite by Yorgos Lanthimos, which had its premiere in Venice and was nominated for 10 Oscars, will open the Festival. FEST 47 presents films that will satisfy the most varied tastes of film aficionados - from Pawel Pawlikowski's sentimentaly cruel Cold War, 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 by Guillaume Nicloux, who made a film of his career. Kusturica will present his new film about José Mujica, El Pepe, a Supreme Life, and the programme will feature the most popular films of world production from last year like Vice, Green Book, The Wife, If Beale Street Could Talk, Love Simon, Boy Erased, Welcome to Marwen, Stan & Ollie, Under the Silver Lake, but also new films of well-known directors such as Paolo Sorrentino, Luca Guadagnino, Gus Van Sant, Matteo Garrone, Xavier Dolan, Peter Bogdanovich and others. The Japanese animated film Mirai nominated for the Oscar will also be featured in the Youth FEST programme, while the Dokufest programme will feature films about Vitney Houston, Buster Keaton and Robert Mitchum. The 47th edition of FEST offers films of directors and actors who are yet to be discovered - the Thai film PIPCI (Phuttiphong Aroopheng), the French SAUVAGE (Camille Vidal Naquet), the Hungarian KOLEKCIONAR (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). FEST will also include three short films of young authors - Foreign Body by Dušan Zorić, screened in Venice, Šafarikova 19 by Lana Pavkov and The Little One by Danilo Bećković.
The guests of the festival will be the cast and crew of the films The Angel, Consequences, Boys, Factory, The Bra, Sauvage, To the Ends of the World, as well as films from the region Neverending Past, Last Serb in Croatia, F20, The Eighth Commissioner, Erased, All Alone, Aleksi, Together and others. Alongside director Reife Fines, the popular actress Adele Exarchopoulos will also be promoting the film The White Crow. She became famous for her role in the film Blue is the Warmest Color for which she won Palme d'Or. For the first time in history of the Cannes Festival, the jury decided to award the two lead actresses as well as the director.
Film Centre Serbia, in cooperation with the Yugoslav Film Archive and FEST, organizes the FEST Forward co-production market for the fifth time, which will be held this year on the 1st and the 2nd of March in the premises of the Yugoslav Film Archive (Uzun Mirkova 1). As a part of this year's FEST Forward, two selections of projects will be presented - a selection of Serbian projects in development and a selection of international projects focusing on stories for women, about women and/or directed by women.
This year's novelty is that FEST returns with the competition programmes to its original home - the Kombank Hall (former Trade Union Hall). Kombank Hall will host the press centre, press conferences and screenings for journalists.
The tickets for the Festival will be released for sale on the 9th of February. The tickets for the screenings in Sava Centre, Kombank Hall and Belgrade Youth Centre, can be purchased at their own box offices, as well as online via Ticket vision (ex-Eventim), as well as at all Ticket vision outlets (in which case, the price of tickets increaces by 20 dinars). Tickets for other screenings can be purchaced at the box offices of the halls. Ticket prices range from 250 to 400 dinars (500 dinars for the opening and closing) and the films will be screened in the following halls: Sava Centre, Kombank Hall, Belgrade Youth Centre, Children’s Cultural Centre of Belgrade, Fontana, Yugoslav Film Archive Museum, Yugoslav Film Archive, Vlada Divljan Culture Centre, Cine Grand - Capitol Park Rakovica, Cineplexx UŠĆE Shopping Centre, Cineplexx 4D Delta City, Cineplexx BIG Belgrade, Art Cinema Kolarac and Culture Centre Sopot.
In the first seven days of sale, a 10% discount is granted for ticket packages.