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’Oasis’ by Ivan Ikić Best Film of the FEST Main Competition Programme

On Sunday, May 16, in the Kombank Hall, the 49th edition of the International Film Festival - FEST, which was organized by the Belgrade Festivals Centre - CEBEF, was ceremoniously closed. The jury of the Main Competition Programme presented the Belgrade Victor Award for Best Film to ‘Oasis’ by Ivan Ikić, the Award for Best Director to Oskar Roehler for the film ‘Enfant Terrible’, the Award for Best Screenplay to Damiano D’Innocenzo and Fabio D’Innocenzo for the film ‘Bad Tales’, the Award for Best Actress to Lana Barić in the film ‘Tereza37’, the Award for Best Actor to Nikola Đuričko in the film ‘The Living Man’, while the Award for Best Debut Director went to Ercan Kesal, the director of the film ‘You Know Him’. In the FEST Focus selection, ‘Poppy Field’ by Eugen Jebeleanu received the Award for Best Film. Maja Gojković, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia attended the closing ceremony and the awards ceremony.  

Damir Handanović, Director of CEBEF, addressed those present on the occasion of the closing of the 49th FEST. He thanked the guests, the jury and the audience, and spoke about the next 50th jubilee FEST: ‘I would like to thank the guests, the jury, and above all the audience who continued to support us with their presence in the cinema halls. I promise the next FEST to be worthy of its 50th jubilee. Special thanks to the City of Belgrade, the Ministry of Culture and Information and my friend Maja Gojković who is here with us’, said Handanović.

The Main jury, consisting of actor Igor Đorđević, director Dane Komljen, director and screenwriter Zaharijas Mavroidis, actress Dubravka Kovjanić and director Ines Tanović, awarded the prize for the best film in the Main Competition Programme to Ivan Ikić's ‘Oasis’, ‘for a unique and emotional experience that finds the power of film in far-reaching and pure empathy.’

On the occasion of winning this prestigious award, director Ivan Ikić said: ‘We did not think about this moment, that it could happen. We bowed on this same stage the other night, together with our actors from the Home for Children in Sremčica. I greet them once again. They are not with us tonight, but they will be very happy because of this.’

The award of the Main jury for the best director went to the German director Oskar Roehler for the film ‘Enfant Terrible’. The jury's explanation states that this film is ‘an extraordinary and inventive director's presentation that leads us through the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, erasing the boundaries between life and film.’

The Belgrade Victor for Best Screenplay was awarded to the Italians Damiano D'Innocenzo and Fabio D'Innocenzo for the film ‘Bad Tales’, which they also co-directed. The jury awarded their work for ‘the cohesive synthesis of narration in the ensemble, its striking depiction of the Italian suburbs and a touching commentary on the real nature of dramaturgy.’

The screenwriting duo addressed the audience via video with the words: ‘This award is like a big hug from a friend. We wrote this script when we were 19, and for us it is like going to a sweet, tender and poetic past. We are not with you because of COVID, yet we are editing our third film, which we intend to present in your beautiful country. We felt the connection with your magical city: Belgrade is a part of our soul. We have never visited it, yet we have recognized many similarities with our history, and we hope to see each other live next year.’  

The Main jury awarded the prize for the best actress to the Croatian actress Lana Barić ‘for brave, thorough creation of a woman in search of freedom’, in the film ‘Tereza37’ by Danilo Šerbedžija.

Lana Barić thanked FEST for the award and commented on this year's Festival edition: ‘I know that times are very difficult and that it was not easy to organize a live festival. Congratulations and thank you for seeing the films live, in the cinema’. Lana Barić then commented on the FEST award: ‘We have received a lot of awards for this film, however I have not won the award for the best actress until now, and I am overjoyed.’  

Nikola Đuričko was awarded the Belgrade Victor for Best Actor in the Main Competition Programme, for the role of Igor Đelić Đela in the film ‘The Living Man’ by Oleg Novković. The jury evaluated his creation as ‘a unique acting expression that leads us through the catharsis of the main character, using the entire acting habitus: from subtle means to internal tectonic changes - death and its victory.’

Nikola Đuričko thanked FEST ‘that it exists and that it has survived’, the jury, and the crew of the film ‘The Living Man’. ‘Most of all, thank you to my dear colleagues, who act with me in the film. Without their play, this award would not have been possible’, concluded the popular actor.  

The Award for Best Debut Director in this selection went to Ercan Kesal for the film ‘You Know Him’, ‘for an accurate, vivid and sharp portrayal of the main character, his milieu and contemporary political corruption.’

In a video message, Ercan Kesal spoke about his connection with our country: ‘Winning the award for the first film at such a prestigious festival gives us the responsibility and desire to make even better films. Serbia and Belgrade have a very special place in my personal life. The first serious book that my father bought me was ‘The Bridge on the Drina’ by Ivo Andrić. Many years later, when I visited Küstendorf in 2010, Emir gave me the same book on my departure. I will always remember that. I feel that we are people with the same habits, and I think that we experience agony, sadness, humor, hope in the same way’. Kesal thanked the Film Centre Serbia and co-producers Dimčet Stojanovski and Stefan Orlandić for their contribution to the realization of the film, with the hope that this partnership would continue on future projects.   

The jury of the FEST Focus programme, which consists of director Katarina Koljević, actress Isidora Simijonović and director Darko Nikolić, chose the film ‘Poppy Field’ by the young Romanian director Eugen Jebeleanu as the best film in this selection. The award was given for ‘precise and subtle directorial expression in which a strong acting process stands out’, with the assessment that this film ‘gives us a deep insight into the complex internal conflict of the protagonist, whose personal story rises to the level of a universally important social theme’. The jury concluded the explanation with the statement: ‘In portrait dramaturgy, which is in a very active relationship with the environment in which the film is set, the director offers us the most important thing in film art - and that is a clear catharsis.’

Eugen Jebeleanu addressed the audience via video: ‘I am honored to have received this award. I want to thank my team, the producer, the screenwriter, all the actors, the distributor, and the whole crew that worked on this wonderful film, the first that we did together. It is very important for us that the film was shown in cinemas and at festivals, because it tells the story of a young homosexual police officer in today's Romania. It is a story we do not see so often in Romanian film. It is wonderful that this award arrived just before the International Day against Homophobia.’  

The jury of critics for the ‘Nebojsa Đukelić’ award, which consisted of film director and theorist Vlastimir Sudar, film critic Miroljub Stojanović and film critic and historian Daniel Rafaelić, named ‘Oasis’ by Ivan Ikić the best regional film at the Festival. The explanation of the jury states, among other things: ‘We put emphasis on innovation and originality in the film speech and in the choice of topics. Guided by the approach that the expansion of the space of contemporary film art should be rewarded, the jury unanimously decided to award the film Oasis, by Ivan Ikić, as one of the most authentic films not only in this programme, but also in the past few years.’   

The jury for the ‘Milutin Čolić’ award of the Politika daily newspaper, comprising Goran Radovanović (director, screenwriter and producer), Mladen Đorđević (director, screenwriter and producer) and Dubravka Lakić (film critic, founder of the award), declared ‘Loan Shark’ by Nemanja Ćeranić the best domestic film. The jury awarded the prize ‘for an authentic and refreshing approach to the crime drama genre, with skillful use of solutions that fall within the domain of auteur film’. The explanation continues: ‘As fresh and innovative elements, the jury recognized the exceptional work with nonprofessional actors, the engaged observation of social problems and the placement of the film plot and the entire production outside the capital - in the function of demetropolization of Serbian cinema.’

Nemanja Ćeranić, the director of the film ‘Loan Shark’, thanked FEST and the jury because he ‘recognized the work and energy, which comes entirely from the love for the film’. The young director also thanked the crew that had made the film in difficult conditions, as well as the municipality of Inđija that had supported this project.

Ivan Karl, Secretary for Culture of the City of Belgrade and President of the FEST Board, presented the Belgrade Victor Honorary Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film Art to set designer Miljen Kljaković Kreka. On that occasion, Karl stated: ‘Back in 1992, the film ‘Delicatessen’ marked FEST. In 2021, in the time of coronavirus pandemic, FEST was one big, successful delicatessen. The set designer of the film in question was Miljen Kreka Kljaković. Kreka made the films he worked on magical and real. That is why he is the winner yesterday, today and tomorrow. Congratulations to Kreka and congratulations to all of us on our getting back to the future. The 50th FEST is waiting for us there in less than a year. Thank you.’      

Miljen Kljaković Kreka said about the prestigious award: ‘This is another very important award in my career, to which I have been dedicated all these 45 years. I thank all those who helped me achieve what I have achieved. I thank FEST for presenting me this prize and all those who are still among us and are ceased to be.

After the awards ceremony, FEST closed with the world premiere of Slobodan Ivetić's documentary ‘Kreka: Lovac na snove’ (Kreka: Dreamcatcher).

The International Film Festival - FEST was held for the 49th time from May 7 to 16, 2021, in the halls of the Sava Centre, Kombank Hall, Belgrade Youth Centre and Cineplexx Galerija Belgrade, and premiered more than 70 films of the latest world, European and domestic cinema in seven selections. This year's festival was held under the slogan ‘Back to the Future’ with the intention of contributing to the revival of cinema screens and the return of film audiences to cinemas as the largest and widely known film event in the country and the region.

We remind you that from May 17 to 23, 2021, the PostFESTum programme will be held, which will include screenings of 33 films from the regular Festival programme. Due to the specific circumstances in which FEST is held, the pandemic and reduced capacity of cinema halls, this year most famous domestic film festival wants to meet the needs of its loyal audience, as well as all those who failed to see their favourite films during the last few days. PostFESTum will take place at the Belgrade Youth Centre and the Cineplexx Ušće Shopping Centre. You can see the complete schedule of the PostFESTum programme on the Festival website at the following link: