Foto: Željko Sinobad
On Tuesday, April 27, in the Ceremonial Hall of the Belgrade City Assembly, the press conference was held on the occasion of the 49th International Film Festival - FEST. Ivan Karl, Secretary for Culture of the City of Belgrade and President of the FEST Board, Damir Handanović, Director of CEBEF and Vice President of the Festival Board, Jugoslav Pantelić, Artistic Director of FEST and Darja Bajić, Producer of the Festival spoke about the Festival programme, ’Belgrade Victor’ honorary awards and members of the jury.
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.
Ivan Karl, Secretary for Culture of the City of Belgrade and President of the FEST Board, reminded of the circumstances in which this year's edition of the Festival is being held: ‘It is a precedent that the Festival is held in May, but it is also a feat. In the year in which the coronavirus pandemic is still going strong, in which the Berlinale was online, and Cannes is postponed, we have a festival in the conventional sense of the word. A festival that shows films in cinemas, which will have an audience, guests and a festival atmosphere. The main purpose of this FEST is to have continuity, a working atmosphere, a good dose of energy, optimism and enthusiasm. FEST is not Cannes, Berlin, Venice and Toronto, but what Cannes is in Europe and the world, that is FEST in the Western Balkans and the region. It is the largest, oldest and most significant film festival in this region, and that is something we should be proud of.’
Damir Handanović, Director of CEBEF and Vice President of the FEST Board, thanked Ivan Karl, City Secretary for Culture, Ministry of Culture and a great friend of the Festival, Luk Oil. ‘The previous festival was visited by over 90,000 people. This edition of the festival will have a limited audience capacity due to the respect of measures to control the infection of COVID-19, but the most important thing is that this year's programme is at an enviable level. The opening and closing ceremony will not be as impressive as the previous year when John Malkovich performed at the closing ceremony, but considering that we will present honorary awards at these ceremonies, it will be emotional and very dignified ‘, said Handanović, and expressed satisfaction that FEST was able to be held in physical form.
Jugoslav Pantelić, Artistic Director of the Festival, presented this year's winners of the Belgrade Victor honorary festival award, members of the jury of the Main Competition Programme and the Fest Focus competition selection, as well as members of the Nebojša Đukelić Award Jury for a film that best combines tradition of cinema and art film. The Main Competition Jury consists of actor Igor Đorđević, director Dane Komljen, Greek director and screenwriter Zacharias Mavroeidis, actress Dubravka Kovjanić and Bosnian director Ines Tanović. The jury of the Fest Focus programme consists of 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.
Jugoslav Pantelić commented on film auteurs who are known to the FEST audience, and this year they will present their new films: ‘Dalibor Matanić returns this year with the film The Dawn, Greek director Argyris Papadimitropoulos was awarded the Belgrade Victor for Best Screenplay only three years ago at FEST, and this year he returns to Belgrade with the film Monday. Also, I am very pleased that our guest from a couple of years ago, Susanna Nicchiarelli, is coming this year with the film Miss Marx, which will introduce us to an interesting part of the life of Eleanor, the daughter of Karl Marx.‘ Pantelić also pointed out that there would be a great number of films about historical figures at FEST, but also that the audience would be able to see the world's biggest film stars from this year's programme, such as Frances McDormand, Carey Mulligan, Johnny Depp, Riz Ahmed, Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Coleman, Colin Firth, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Salma Hayek, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, and many others.
Darja Bajić, Producer of FEST, appealed to the audience to wear a mask and respect all epidemiological measures at the screenings. She also referred to the engagement of the Festival team: ‘I would also like to thank the CEBEF team, which is dedicated to working in not at all easy circumstances, it is a very demanding event indeed. This year, the conceptual solution was made by CEBEF designer Simona Dašić Raca, and the video was created by Miloš Đukelić and RED production, whom we thank on this occasion‘.
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.
The announcement video of the Festival, directed by Miloš Đukelić, which symbolizes a return to the future, which is also this year's slogan of the Festival - Back to the Future, was presented at the press conference. As the biggest and most famous film event in Serbia and the region, FEST aims to contribute to the revival of cinema screens and a sizable return of audiences to cinemas.
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 www.tickets.rs 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).