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49th International Film Festival – FEST from May 7 to 16

The International Film Festival - FEST, will be held for the 49th time from May 7 to 16, 2021, organized by the Belgrade Festivals Centre (CEBEF) in the halls of the Sava Centre, Kombank Hall, Belgrade Youth Centre and Cineplexx Galerija Belgrade, and will present more than 70 films of the latest world, European and Serbian productions in seven selections. This year's festival is held under the slogan ‘Back to the Future’ with the intention of contributing to the revival of cinema screens and the return of film audiences to cinemas as the largest and widely known film event in the country and the region.

This year's FEST will open with the film ‘The Dig’ starring Carey Mulligan, as well as one of the favorite festival guests Ralph Fiennes, who was a guest at FEST in 2011 and 2019. In the film of the Australian director Simon Stone, on the eve of the Second World War, the British widow hires a self-taught archaeologist to excavate a mysterious formation on her property, which will lead to a startling discovery. At the closing ceremony on May 16 at 7 p.m. in the Kombank Hall, the audience will be able to see the documentary ’Kreka: Lovac na snove’ about the famous film set designer Miljen Kljaković - Kreka, who made an invaluable contribution to domestic and world filmmaking.

The Main Competition Programme will present 18 films from 12 countries (Tunisia, Iran, Germany, Italy, Serbia, Argentina, France, USA, Turkey, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia), including three domestic productions: ’Oasis’ by the director and screenwriter Ivan Ikić, ’The Living Man’ directed by Oleg Novković, for which the screenplay was written by Milena Marković and the film ’Loan Shark’ by Nemanja Ćeranić, written by Strahinja Madžarević. This selection will also show a film that was shortlisted for an Oscar outside the English-speaking world - ’The Man Who Sold His Skin’ by Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania. The jury of the Main Competition programme consists of actor Igor Đorđević, director Dane Komljen, Greek director and screenwriter Zacharias Mavroeidis, actress Dubravka Kovjanić, and Bosnian director Ines Tanović. 

The second competition selection is FEST Focus, films of which are characterized by a brave film expression and choice of theme, in which 14 films from Iran, the USA, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia will be shown. The domestic films that will be premiered are ’Spring Song’ by Natalija Avramović and the documentary-animated film ’Scenes from the Life of a Mutt’ by Tanja Brzaković. The jury of the FEST Focus selection comprises director Darko Nikolić, actress Isidora Simijonović and director Katarina Koljević, while the Nebojša Đukelić Award Jury will include critic, publicist and publishing editor at the Film Centre Serbia (FCS), Miroljub Stojanović, Croatian filmologist Daniel Rafaelić, as well as the director, theorist and film aesthetician Vlastimir Sudar.   

The Gala selection will screen 20 films, five of which recently won Oscars: ’Nomadland’ by director Chloé Zhao, which won awards for best film, director and lead actress (Frances McDormand), ’The Father’ by Florian Zeller, winner in the categories of male lead (Anthony Hopkins) and adapted screenplay (Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton), ’Promising Young Woman’ whose director and screenwriter Emerald Fennell won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, ’Sound of Metal’ with awards for best editing and sound , as well as Lee Isaac Chung's ’Minari’, which won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Youn Yuh-jung).

The programme of the 49th FEST will also include selections of the ’FEST's 50’ in which 10 cult films of world cinema will be presented, ’FEST 49’, ’Intro FEST’ with a selection of five short films, the Out of Competition Main Programme within which the audience will be able to see the documentary film ’Kreka: Lovac na snove’, with a special screening of the Australian film ’With the Badger on Trial’, adapted from the story by Petar Kočić.

The winners of the honorary Festival award, the Belgrade Victor for Outstanding Contribution to Film Art, are actor Rade Šerbedžija and director Puriša Đorđević, who will be awarded at the opening ceremony, as well as set designer Miljen Kljaković Kreka, who will receive the prize at the closing ceremony of this year's festival. 

Tickets for FEST are on sale at the box office of the Sava Centre (at the B Entrance, from Vladimir Popović Street), Kombank Hall, Belgrade Youth Centre and Cineplexx Galerija Belgrade. Tickets for screenings at the Sava Centre, Kombank Hall and the Belgrade Youth Centre can also be purchased online, via the website, as well as at all Ticket Vision outlets. In the first seven days of the sale, it is possible to get a 10% discount on the purchase of a set of tickets with date and time of the film screenings in the halls, and a 10% discount on online shopping within the ‘Moj komplet’ (My Set) offer (for 10 or more purchased tickets).