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Danilo Šerbedžija: Congratulations to the FEST Team on Their Courage

On the fifth day of the 49th International Film Festival - FEST, organized by the Belgrade Festivals Centre - CEBEF, on Tuesday, May 11, members of the cast and crew of feature films ‘Tereza37’ and ‘Reach for the Sky’, as well as the documentary ‘Beyond the Peak’ spoke at the press conference.  

Lana Barić, the screenwriter and the lead actress in the film ‘Tereza37’, spoke about her character: ‘It is the kind of person you might call a side character of your life, what is perhaps very ugly. I wanted to give her enough space to somehow become the main character of this film, because in her is the essence of everything that is the issue of the position of women in Dalmatia, and in general in our Balkan societies. I wrote my experiences in her, as well as the experiences of women in my family and my female friends. In a way, she is based on Dalmatian women I know and love very much. We have wonderful female roles in this film, which is not often the case when it comes to our cinema, and I hope it will not be a precedent.’

Danilo Šerbedžija, the director of the film ‘Tereza37’, praised the screenplay of Lana Barić: ‘My first thought was - why did I not write this? I fell in love with the script from the beginning and I think it is really excellent.’ Šerbedžija also referred to the place where the film takes place: ‘Split is certainly one of the characters. That is how I read it in the script, and we deliberately created an atmosphere in which the city suffocates you to some extent. While the architecture is beautiful, there is some pressure in all of those cubes, rectangles. Split is extremely cinematic.’ In the end, the director of the film emphasized the importance of holding the Festival in a classic format: ‘I congratulate the FEST team on their courage and decision to hold the Festival live. The cinema is the temple of our art, and there is no real festival without it.’

In the film ‘Teresa37’, Leon Lučev plays the husband of the main character: ‘My role is demanding and that relationship is difficult. That kind of silence and understanding that things are the way they are and cannot be any different. Like Lana, I grew up in Dalmatia and I am familiar with everything. A lot of relationships in Dalmatia, and especially among older generations, were based on these silences and a few words, which was simply normal. It was wonderful for me that the film was lovingly made by Lana about normality, which is no longer considered normal.

The film also stars a popular Serbian actor Dragan Mićanović: ‘The feeling of working with this cast and crew is the most beautiful thing that has happened to me lately. That wonderful Lana's script, and Danilo as the master of this film. It is a great pleasure for me, and I am proud to have been a part of this project.’

The Montenegrin film ‘Reach for the Sky’ was directed by Milutin Darić, who spoke about his work: ‘The film is conceived as a collage of small emotional memories. It is a light and unpretentious film, the first feature film after studies. The film is distinctly about distance. We now know how to function as a society on the principle of distance, but it came to us before the covid pandemic and we were ready for it. It was brought to us by the time of the 1990s and 2000s, and I am afraid of today's socio-political situation.’

Aleksandar Jović, the director of the documentary ‘Beyond the Peak’, also shared his own experience of hiking, during which he shot David Rayman Rajković, the main protagonist of the film: ‘It was difficult. It was my first time hiking, as was the entire film crew. We had no experience of that kind. I had to be in good physical shape, in order to shoot everything we could. In the end, we managed to put everything together into one story.’

On the sixth day of the Festival, on Wednesday, May 12, at 4.30 p.m. in the Belgrade Youth Centre, the premiere of the documentary film ‘Beyond the Peak’ is on the programme. On the same day at 11.30 a.m. in the Belgrade Youth Centre, the audience will be able to watch a rerun of the film ‘Reach for the Sky’, while the film ‘Tereza37’ will have a rerun screening in the Kombank Hall at 11.30 a.m. In addition, the repertoire will include a minority Serbian co-production, the film ‘You Know Him’ by Turkish director Ercan Kesal, at 7 p.m. in the Kombank Hall.