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Ivan Karl / Foto: Tijana Rajković

Ivan Karl / Foto: Tijana Rajković

Ivan Karl / Foto: Tijana Rajković

The 49th FEST is a festival of precedent. It will take place in May, a month when the Festival is not traditionally held, with limited hall capacities, with few guests from abroad. In fact, the biggest precedent and feat is that the Belgrade FEST is being held. In the year in which Berlin was available online and Cannes was postponed.

Let us not forget, the 48th FEST was the last international film festival before the coronavirus. FEST is now the first film festival to be held in the conventional way during COVID-19. It will take place in a working atmosphere, without pomp, fanfare, festivities. We will see films, we will support films and cinemas that have suffered a psychological and economic blow, that have become collateral damage of the coronavirus.

It is the age of the terrible pandemic we once saw in films, and now we are experiencing it live. This so-called new reality has called into question the further consumption of films on the big screen and easily announced the rapid triumph of the streaming platforms. It will not happen. Cinemas have survived small and big wars, and they will survive the coronavirus.

We have splendid films, enthusiasm, energy and optimism. The slogan of the 49th FEST is the film of the same name by Robert Zemeckis, screened at the 16th FEST when it was announced by Emir Kusturica in front of the packed hall of the Sava Centre. This year, there will be at least 500 spectators at each screening in that big house of FEST, depending on the epidemiological situation and measures of the COVID-19 Crisis Response Team.

Welcome to the 49th FEST and back to the future. The jubilee 50th FEST is waiting for us there next February.


Ivan Karl

City Secretary for Culture and President of the FEST Board