Belgrade International Film Festival
By Rada Djurica
Another International Film Festival in Belgrade, Serbia, FEST 2008
(February 22 to March 2) showed both independent and commercial films,
highlighting Serbian cinematography. To mark its 36th year, the festival
honored over 100 guests from the domestic and international film industry.
The guest of honor this year was Volker Schlondorff, the director of
a very well-known film, Die Blechtrommel. Volker's latest film,
Ulzhan, premiered at the festival. Schlondorff served as presenter
of the most significant European cinematography and New German Film.
The festival closed with the Serbian film On The Beautiful Blue Danube,
directed by Darko Bajic.
This time, the International Film Festival FEST08 included some commercial
offerings, as well. Tickets for some films, such as No Country for
Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Atonement, Sweeney Todd: The Demon
Barber of Fleet Street, among others, sold out before the festival
opened, just a few nights before Oscar night. This boosted festival
ticket sales to a record of just over 110,000 tickets, just a little
more than last year. The Coen brothers are no doubt appreciative.
The 2008 festival highlighted Russian film, showing several. The Belgrade
audience warmly welcomed 12, directed by Nikita Mihalkov. The
film was nominated for Best Foreign Film at this year's Academy Awards.
Also, International Film Festival FEST08 provided an overview of Asian
film, which is growing more and more popular with the Belgrade audience.
The greatest example this year was Ang Lee's Lust, Caution. Domestic
cinematography focused on the Balkan region of the former Yugoslavian
countries, representing films from Macedonia and Croatia, with special
attention to Macedonian filmmaker Milco Manchevski and his first big-budget
Awards were selected by a domestic jury of members of the film industry,
and by an international jury for the "Europe Out of Europe"
program. After full consideration of all eight films in the competitive
program, the Politika Award Jury announced their decision on Sunday
night. The festival jury was comprised of Kim Dong Ho, president of
the jury and director of Pusan Film Festival; Hrvoje Hribar, Croatian
film director; and Dubravka Lakic, Serbian film critic.
The Politika Award for the best film in the Europe out of Europe
program unanimously went to Croatian film director Kristijan Milic,
honoring the precise directing, expressive acting and skilful cinematography
of the Croatian-Bosnian anti-war film The Living and The Dead.
The Jury of FIPRESCI Serbia of the 36th FEST awarded the FIPRESCI
Award for Best Film to the Russian film 12 by Nikita Mihalkov.
The award was presented to the cultural attaché of the Embassy
of the Russian Federation in Belgrade, Oleg Buldakov, on behalf
of the director and the crew of the film.
A special FIPRESCI Award went to the Turkish-German film The
Edge of Heaven, directed by Fatih Akin, for a moving political
melodrama tale of a deeply humane story about the conflict and lack
of understanding between civilizations and religions: East and West,
Christianity and Islam.
The Nebojsa Djukelic Award was awarded to the Israeli film The
Band's Visit by director Eran Kolirin, for his simple but multi-layered
story and for the distinctive film style which effectively shows
how a simple story about "small people" can make a good
And finally, a very important part of the festival, the third B2B Belgrade
Industry Meetings, where 27 particants voted for their favorite projects
from the three groups. Each project receives 7.000 EUR for development:
The Balkan group selected No One's Child by Marko Sopic.
The project receives postproduction and lab services to the value
of 3.500 EUR.
The East European group chose I'm Going To Change My Name
by Maria Saakyan. The project receives script doctoring to the amount
of 3.000 EUR.
The Euro-Asina group went with Jujube's Perfume by Mirlan
Abdykalykov. The project receives one free participation fee for
an upcoming edition of Producers Network at the Cannes Film Market
FEST 2008 Photos
On the Beautiful Blue Danube
The Living and the Dead
The Bucket List
I am from Titov Veles