About the festival
The March festival (Belgrade Documentary and Short Film Festival) one of the oldest European film festivals, marks its jubilee with the greatest achievement for the Serbian documentary, Mila Turajlić won the IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary in Amsterdam. Building on the Serbian Film Centre’s successful concept of creating an environment for making quality national documentary features and short films, as well as animated and experimental films, the March Festival under the management of the Belgrade Youth Center, with director/producer Marko Popović as the artistic director and dramatist Boban Jevtić as the special adviser, will be carried out for the 65th time from March 28, to April 1, 2018.
This year, the largest number ever of Serbian and international films has entered the competition program – almost 4000. The March Festival keeps growing, not only in number of entries and festival days (five this year), but in number of guests, programmes and supporting programmes as well, plus it gains even more recognition by the profession and the wide audiences.
A respectable panel of selectors, top Serbian film professionals (directors Ivan Stefanović and Maša Nešković, producers Jovana Nikolić and Iva Plemić Divjak, animator artist Iva Ćirić, film editor Nenad Popović and filmmaker Marta Popivoda) has selected a total of 80 films to compete for the festival Grand Prix in each category (plus the financial support of 2000 Euros payable in Serbian Dinars that goes with the prize), as well as four specialized awards – for best directing, camera, editing and sound design/music. The competition programme will be announced shortly. The ticket price will be the same as the year before, 200 RSD per one screening or block for short films, while the Film and other Academy students will get a free pass.
The opening film will be one of the most pleasant surprises of this year’s production, Serbian documentary Tierra Utopia directed by Jelena Stolica about a modern day utopia – a small Spanish town where the mayor expropriated the land from the wealthy aristocrats and started a social experiment of a communal life. In times of crisis of global capitalism, this film raises the question: do we all need a utopia and is utopia possible at all?
Special evening screenings will bring us a tense historical documentary thriller by Miloš Škundrić, Long Journey Into the War (Dugo putovanje u rat), a dramatized story about the start of the First World War.
The most important Austrian filmmaker today, Ruth Beckermann will have her retrospective. We will show four of her films representing the most exciting highlights of her work – close perception of modern society blended with the way we treat our past.
This year the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, RTS and Zastava Film celebrate important anniversaries and at the March Festival they will show a selection of their award-winning films, while the Faculty of Dramatic Arts will present the possibilities and benefits of entering Serbia’s most prestigious art academy. These three institutions are of great importance for the development of documentary, animated, short and experimental film and it is not exaggerating to say that without them there would be no March Festival at all.
The most important international and regional producers and film festivals will be available for Serbian filmmakers to establish contact in the March Festival supporting programmes.
Alex Miller, the Creative Director of VICE UK, will offer insider info about the most controversial global network. Lejla Dedić, program producer for Aljazeera Balkans will tell us which stories are attractive for this regional documentary giant. Kristýna Bartošová of Ex Oriente Film Workshop, coming straight from Jihlava, the most important East European festival, will present programs of support suited for Serbian filmmakers.
The panel of judges will consist of the most notable Serbian and international film professionals like directors Ognjen Glavonić, Srđan Šarenac, Mina Đukić and Robert Zuber, producer Miljenka Čogelja, scriptwriter Vuk Ršumović, director of photography Bojana Andrić, film editors Vanja Kovačević and Filip Dedić.
The March Festival will host a number of international guests – beside already mentioned, we shall see film animator artists Vessela Dantcheva (Bulgaria), Jean-Luc Slock (France) and Tina Šmrekar (Slovenia), the London Festival director Olya Sova, as well as Petar Milat from Zagreb, etc.
The March Festival will offer an exclusive view into the future – virtual reality. All guests will have an opportunity to use special VR glasses and step into the world of thrilling documentaries as direct participants and close viewers. Kurdish freedom fighters, a small Chinese town rapidly changing in times of industrialization, peace and quiet of the Amazon rain forests – new technologies and new ways of telling film stories will take us to places we never knew we could go without making a single step outside the halls of the Belgrade Youth Center.
Serbia’s most notable creators of animated films, Nikola Majdak Jr and Ana Nedeljković will host a two-day workshop of animated film for children and parents bringing new , fresh forces into the world of animation. For professionals, we offer a Q&A session with Mila Turajlić about presentation and distribution of documentaries through mainstream channels of large cinema distribution and large TV networks, as well as a panel discussion about short film distribution.
The March Festival will once again be the meeting point for national and international filmmakers, producers, distributors and festival directors, the place for strengthening old friendships and developing new ideas. But it will also be the place where Belgrade audience will have the opportunity to see good, nice, moving, funny stories in ways we cannot see through regular cinema channels, stories that depict us in a more truthful, more authentic and deeper ways.
The Belgrade Documentary and Short Film Festival is a permanent event of cultural importance for the City of Belgrade.
Festival Sponsors: City of Belgrade, the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, Film Center Serbia
Festival friend: LUKOIL SERBIA
Festival Supporters: Austrian Cultural Forum, Alma Quatro, Miriam restaurant, Agi Pasta Away, Tourist Organization of Belgrade, Tourist Organization of Serbia