52nd FEST Begins with Opening Ceremony

With the presentation of the Belgrade Victor Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cinema to director Želimir Žilnik, the 52nd International Film Festival FEST was officially opened on 23 February 2024, in the packed MTS Grand Hall. Žilnik, one of the most important and prolific directors of Serbian cinema, said on that occasion that he was so moved by the presentation of the Belgrade Victor Award that he had almost forgotten to open the 52nd FEST.   

‘I sincerely thank FEST for this award. First, because I know, as we all know, that the festival with the best repertoire, with the most interesting films in Serbia is precisely this festival. And it has lasted for 52 years, therefore, whenever I came to FEST, I was actually not only in the process of watching, but also in the process of learning,’ Žilnik pointed out.

‘I cannot help but remember that out of these fifty or sixty films, I would not have been able to make even one percent if I did not have the fantastic creativity and energy of my collaborators. And if you consider everything, from the actors to the so-called technical crew, there were as many collaborators as there are people here now in this auditorium with a balcony. I would like to thank my collaborators as well, five or six of whom are here in the audience,’ he said.   

At this year's FEST, there are more than 100 films in eight programme sections. And in addition to feature films, documentaries and animated films from almost all parts of the world, the audience will be able to see as many as six domestic films, which FEST's artistic director Jugoslav Pantelić spoke a little more about.

‘When deciding on a slogan that would be suitable for this year's edition of FEST, somehow the line "Come and See", the title of the film from 1985 directed by Elem Klimov, came to mind. "Come and See" is an invitation to lovers of the seventh art to approach films with open hearts that come from different parts of the world and bring different stories, each in its own way. It is also an attempt to restore the feeling of surprise and discovery, that feeling when we see something for the first time,’ said Pantelić.  

He also said that this year's FEST Focus selection included films dealing with children and young people who experienced some kind of violence.

‘The need for us as a society to deal with this important topic coincided with a multitude of excellent films that deal with this topic, and a selection was made that, in addition to its artistic strength, has the potential to have an educational effect as well,’ explained Pantelić.  


The artistic director mentioned the new selection - Dreamlike Film, which arose from the need to gather films with a completely different expression in one place. As he stated, there is also the FEST Classic selection, which includes significant films from the history of film, but also some of the films from the career of the Belgrade Victor Award laureates.  

The members of the FEST Jury introduced themselves to the audience, the presenters of the opening ceremony were actors Ljubinka Klarić and Jovan Jovanović. The popular music group Artan Lili graced the opening of FEST with their most recognizable hits.

Before the start of the opening ceremony of the 52nd FEST, actors, directors, guests and leading people of the festival walked the red carpet of the MTS Hall.

The film that opened the 52nd FEST was the short film ‘One More Day’ by Radivoje Bukvić, this time in the role of director, who bowed with his crew after the screening. After that, Alexander Payne's film ‘The Holdovers’ was shown.

All tickets for the opening ceremony of the 52nd FEST were sold out days in advance.


Ministry of Culture
Grad Beograd


Knjaz Miloš
Italijanski kulturni centra