Belgrade has certain cultural events that are not only immensely important for the local cultural scene, thanks to their unique relevance and quality of programmes, but equally important on the European and international calendar of cultural events. When it comes to film festivals, there’s no beating Cannes, Berlinale or Venice Biennale, but Belgrade’s International Film Festival, Fest, is certainly one of the best and biggest in the region.
Fest has been around since 1971 and was the first ever film festival in Belgrade. Held under the slogan A Brave New World, it showcased the absolute best that international cinematography had to offer that year, with the first film ever screened at the event being Robert Altman’s M.A.S.H.
Over the years, Fest has welcomed a number of high profile guests, actors, directors, cinematographers and producers, including Robert De Niro, Johnny Depp, Harvey Keitel, Marcello Mastroianni, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Milos Forman and Bernardo Bertolucci, to name just a few.
During Fest Belgrade becomes a cinematographic hub, a place where authors, actors and producers gather from all across the world to view each other’s works, to talk, discuss and explore new ideas, organise collaborations or simply hang out and enjoy the high-calorie wonders of Serbian cuisine.
The 46th edition of Fest this year, under the slogan Come Closer, will feature 116 premiers and 10 cinematic classics. The programme is traditionally divided into two groups – Competition and Out of Competition.
The Competition programme group, which will feature films competing for several prizes awarded by Fest (Best Movie, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Debut and the Jury Prize), is further divided into a main competition – the Serbian Film and Frontiers Programme – the last of which will feature eight subversive, controversial and arthouse films.