Belgrade International Film Festival


30 years of FEST

There are a lots of International Film Festivals in Europe and elsewhere. The most famous one is in Cannes. But there are also plenty of local International Film Festivals taking place in the small economically undeveloped countries, countries like Serbia, former Yugoslavia.

One such International Film Festival is FEST, International Film Festival in Belgrade, that has hosted big names in world-wide filmmaking for the past 30 years. International Film Festival FEST 2002, celebrated 30 years of existence: 20 years of existence and cultural importance in former Yugoslavia, and 10 years of existence in present Yugoslavia.

"At the time when FEST was created it was planned as the festival of spiritual communication, a well-constructed intersection of ideas and experiences, a planned encounter with our own and international film
productions, a programmed space in which useful and productive coincidences would take place,? said the chairman of the board of FEST 2002, Mr. Dushan Makavejev.

At the first FEST, The International Film Festival was created to stretch film's definition, to jump into the adventure of new structures, to touch the taboos and unmask the myth.

The first year, 1971, the International Film Festival in Belgrade hosted celebrities such as Dennis Hopper and Liv Ullmann. Afterwards everything became easier, and as the years went by, every single FEST became better and better, showing to a Yugoslav audience unlimited possibilities, to connect an ordinary person with the world of glamour. The festival has hosted such celebrities as:

Gideon Bahman [American critic], Roman Polanski, Victoria de Sike, Kirk Douglas, Milos Forman, Gina Lollobrigida, Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Irma Flis, David Puttnam, Jim Jarmusch, Johnny Depp, Beatrice Dalle, Andrew Birkin, A. Goth, Hugo Weaving, and Catherine Deneuve.

Of course, this year's festival, even if it's a jubilee, had a similar conception when it came to film selection. FEST has a long tradition of selecting different films for the different tastes within Belgrade's audience. The most popular films are definitely American cinematography: the commercial films, such as "Original Sin" by Michael Christofer, starring Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie, then "Traffic" by Steven Soderbergh, then "Apocalypse Now" by Francis Ford Coppola, and of course "Mullholand
Drive" by David Lynch, than "Black Hawk Down" by Ridley Scott, "Moulin Rouge" by Baz Luhrmann, and "The Last Castle" by Rod Lurie. One of the most popular directors is Robert Altman, with his films "Gingerbread Man" and "Gosford Park."

Tickets for the most popular films were sold out in less than two days. Serbian audiences responded best to the commercial American films, just as everywhere else. Even so, there were certain audiences who have followed British, Japanese, Italian, German, Swedish, former Yugoslavian and French cinematography for years.

The official grand opening for International Film Festival 2002, was on Feb. 1, when the Italian film, "My Son's Room," opened in Belgrade's grand cinema center, Sava Center. The festival officially opened with former Yugoslavian and now Serbian cinematography diva Milena Dravic, after which a vivid costume dancer's performance followed, just before the film began.

This year Belgrade's film lovers have shown great interest in Indian cinematography, for Mira Nair's "Monsoon Wedding," a film that won the Best Film Award at the film festival in Canberra. And, audiences praised the Italian film that officially opened this year's FEST festival on Feb. 1, "My Son's Room" by Nanni Moretto. Moretto's film won an award in Cannes 2001.



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