It is an annual movie festival in Belgrade, Serbia, usually held in the first quarter of the year so it will be very easy to find a hostel in Belgrade for FEST. First FEST, under the subheading “Brave New World”, opened on January 9th 1971 in Dom Sindikata with the projection of “Mash” by Robert Altman. Intended as an annual section of the best films of the season, the Belgrade International Film Festival FEST has grown into one of the most important film festivals and has become a major event in the cultural life of Belgrade, with whom many young generations grew up.
The thing that graced it all these years is the fact that it was widely open for film industry from the entire world, to all relevant authors and the movies that won’t be found in theaters. The importance of FEST is also reflected in the fact that the Belgrade audience –the films of some of the greatest directors of our time such as Theo Angelopoulos, Bob Rafelson, Volker Schlondorff, David Cronenberg, Ken Russell and Wim Wenders – had the opportunity to see them for the first time precisely at FEST. The first FEST began quite spectacularly, here was found “A Space Odyssey” by Stanley Kubrick, “Easy Rider” by Dennis Hopper, already mentioned Robert Altman’s “Mash”, films by Luis Bunuel, Zivojin Pavlovic. Although many, somewhat nostalgic and right, consider the first edition of FEST unsurpassed, the truth is that we have, in the following years of FEST, got a chance to watch films that left a mark in the history of world cinema.
Some of the greatest actors and directors, who were guest stars in many editions of the festival, entered the history of FEST: Marcello Mastroianni, Harvey Keitel, Liv Ullmann, Bernardo Bertolucci, Sophia Loren, Robert De Niro, Michelangelo Antonioni, Johnny Depp, Milos Forman, Catherine Deneuve, Wim Wenders, Abbas Kiarostami, the aforementioned authors Rafelson, Schlendorf, Russell, the list is very impressive, honorable and long. Since its inception Fest has always had a main and several backing programs, which in quality often exceeded the term “backing”. “The Backing programs” were a number of publications, exhibitions, symposiums that were held during the festival. However, the central event of the nowadays festival is a major revue program, and next to it, for the past several years, the competition program “Europe out of Europe.” So far it had about four million people and nearly 3900 major international films – which had their Yugoslav / Serbian and often the regional premiere.
Although the first Fest was held more than 45 years ago this year with the same energy it continues its great cultural and educational task of expanding the horizons of film to all lovers of film art, and if you are one of them make sure to come, just don’t forget to find yourself a hostel in Belgrade for FEST.