After presenting the Belgrade Victor award to Miki Manojlović and Emir Kusturica in the Great Hall of the Kombank Hall, under the slogan ‘New, Brave World’, the 50th FEST was officially launched.
‘The 50th FEST is open!’, said Kusturica and Manojlović at the same time, a well-known artistic duo, which has made many films together.
As a token of appreciation for the recognition, Emir Kusturica presented Jugoslav Pantelić, the artistic director of FEST, with a digital copy of all his films, which he donated to the Yugoslav Film Archive.
‘If it weren't for the world's role models of the Black Wave and our role models of the Black Wave, if it weren't for Žika Pavlović, Makavejev, if it weren't for director Aleksandar Petrović, if it weren't for the followers of the Black Wave, the so-called Prague School, I wouldn't be here tonight. I worked with the so-called Czech school, a group of people who were not only related to film, but also to all kinds of art, and I grew up with them.’- said Manojlović, receiving the award and emphasizing that the greatest among them was Emir Kustirica, winner of another special Belgrade Victor.
‘When I think of film and art, it's the only way to stop time, the only great achievements in art are those that launch a person into the heights and that's where the stopwatch stops working. My relationship with Miki often meant stopping that stopwatch because, as the writer Peter Handke said: “delight is the greatest human power”,’ said director Emir Kusturica receiving the Belgrade Victor from Miki Manojlović and added: ‘The last century was the century of film, we lived in the mark of FEST, and as if those were a kind of holy days in which we stopped time through that excitement while watching films the moment the light goes out,’ Kusturica said, thanking for the award.
Congratulating the audience of FEST on the jubilee of the first 50 years of the Festival, Jugoslav Pantelić, the artistic director of FEST, reminded that this year's event was marked by 88 carefully selected works.
‘Regardless of the fact that FEST was created and experienced the greatest success during the "Cold War", it had many challenges, wars in the area, we abstained from the festival edition for two years, but I cannot imagine that Milutin Colić and Petar Volk and Milan Vukos and Dušan Makavejev and all the people who founded FEST, could have imagined that we would open the 50th edition of FEST at a time when there is a real war in our almost close environment. I hope that peace and reason will win and that you will enjoy FEST, as you have done so far and as you will continue do so at least until its 100th edition,’ said the artistic director announcing the Festival.
The opening ceremony of the jubilee festival began with the most famous songs from the popular film ‘Flashdance’, which was one of the hits of FEST back in 1984, and which has been a musical on the stage of the Terazije Theatre since last year. The anthem of Serbia and the anthem of Belgrade were sung by the children's choir ‘Čarolija’, and the programme was led by actress Jelena Gavrilović.
The President of the Jury of the Main Programme of FEST greeted the audience on behalf of all members of the jury of the Festival, saying that for him FEST has a special meaning:
‘I remember how at the time when I was a student we would attend the screenings thanks to our transcripts, I dreamed that some of my films would be shown at FEST, and now I have the honor to be on the jury,’ Biković said. ‘For 50 years now, FEST has been an oasis of freedom and creativity and a place where questions are asked which humanity may not be able to answer, but the very attempt to answer them makes us human. Both then and now my attitude towards FEST has not changed. I want us to enjoy films that are the only thing in these difficult times that can help us save our minds and not lose our hearts,’ said the young actor.
The festival opened with the domestic premiere of the film ‘As Far as I Can Walk’, directed by Stefan Arsenijević, whose cast and crew bowed to the FEST audience after the screening.