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FESTIVALES / PREMIOS Serbia

El Festival de Cine de Autor de Belgrado llega a su fin rodeado de la polémica sobre el Film Center Serbia

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- La 27a edición del festival se clausuró con la cinta de Janko Baljak sobre Želimir Žilnik y el escandaloso rechazo del centro de cine del país a financiar a Žilnik, Goran Marković y Srdjan Dragojević

El Festival de Cine de Autor de Belgrado llega a su fin rodeado de la polémica sobre el Film Center Serbia
El director Goran Marković recibe el Premio a la Carrera en el festival

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

It has been an explosive week in Serbia, with mass protests (see the news) over President Vučić's plan to allow the infamous Rio Tinto mining company to extract lithium in the country, and a Film Center Serbia (FCS) funding controversy that overlapped with the 27th edition of the Belgrade Festival of Auteur Film (26 November-3 December).

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At the gathering, Omar El Zohairy’s Feathers [+lee también:
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took home the Grand Prix, Kiro Russo's The Great Movement [+lee también:
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won Best Director and Best Cinematography, while Kira Kovalenko’s Unclenching the Fists [+lee también:
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bagged Best Screenplay and the "Vlada Petrić" Award for the Most Cinematic Sequence.

The event closed with an out-of-competition screening of Janko Baljak’s documentary ŽŽŽ (Journal About Želimir Žilnik) [+lee también:
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, a tribute to the legendary Serbian director whose career spans over 50 years, and whose new project fell victim to a scandal involving the managing board of Film Center Serbia that unfolded during the last few days of the festival.

In detail, the FCS’s managing board overturned the decision on the funding allocated following the special competition for projects by eminent directors. The selection committee that decided on the funding, chosen by the FCS, approved financing for the new projects by Žilnik, Goran Marković and Srdjan Dragojević, which was then annulled by the managing board. Even though the board includes professionals such as filmmakers, film journalists, critics and archivists, it is presided over by a political figure close to President Vučić, Jelena Trivan, who has been at the centre of other controversies, including last year's untransparent selection of Dara from Jasenovac as Serbia's Oscar submission.

On the other hand, Marković is a vocal opponent of the regime, Žilnik's films are always anti-authoritarian and subversive, and Dragojević's new project deals with topics that would likely turn out to be tricky for Vučić. Plus, his features are very popular with audiences.

The competition for eminent directors has been introduced to facilitate easier access to funding for filmmakers with a proven track record, but the managing board annulled the committee's decision without any formal explanation. This prompted an outcry in the public and the press, including scathing statements from trade unions, to which the board responded by saying that the contest would be repeated and that the filmmakers were free to apply to it and any other funding contest – which essentially defeats the purpose of the competition that the FCS established in the first place. The fallout from the controversy saw several members of the managing board resign.

During the festival, Marković received a Lifetime Achievement Award, and the board of the festival, headed up by Srdan Golubović, another acclaimed filmmaker and outspoken opponent of the current government, issued a statement at the closing ceremony, saying that it stands with Marković, Dragojević and Žilnik, warning that this "case of a collision between art and politics feels like censorship" and asking, "Does it make any sense to have a film festival in a country where freedom of artistic creativity is in danger?"

Here is the full list of award winners at the Festival of Auteur Film:

"Aleksandar Saša Petrović" Grand Prix
Feathers [+lee también:
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ficha de la película
]
- Omar El Zohairy (Egypt/France/Netherlands/Greece)

Best Director
Kiro Russo - The Great Movement [+lee también:
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ficha de la película
]
(Bolivia/Qatar/France/Switzerland)

"Gordan Mihić" Best Screenplay Award
Kira Kovalenko, Anton Yarush, Liubov Mulmenko - Unclenching the Fists [+lee también:
crítica
tráiler
ficha de la película
]
(Russia)

“Aleksandar Petković” Best Cinematography Award
Pablo Panagui - The Great Movement

Special Mentions
Great Freedom [+lee también:
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entrevista: Sebastian Meise
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- Sebastian Meise (Austria/Germany)
107 Mothers [+lee también:
crítica
tráiler
entrevista: Peter Kerekes
ficha de la película
]
- Peter Kerekeš (Slovakia/Czech Republic/Ukraine)

"Vlada Petrić" Award for the Most Cinematic Sequence
Unclenching the Fists - Kira Kovalenko

Brave Balkans section

Best Film
The Land of Warm Waters - Igor Buharov, Ivan Buharov (Hungary/Slovakia)
Special Mention
Displaced - Samir Karahoda (Kosovo)

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(Traducción del inglés)

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