A Feast of Ex-YU Cinema Confirmed For London’s Raindance Film Festival

12. August, 2011 Culture 2 comments

Skaters, skinheads and kung fu fighters are among the colourful characters set to screen at London’s Raindance Film Festival 2011. As well as the usual string of daring and bold film choices for which the festival is rightly renowned, this year’s well-loved festival promises to treat film buffs to a wealth of contemporary Balkan cinema.

Streaking ahead of the success of recent years, this autumn’s festival (28 September – 9 October) will feature an incredible schedule of films from all the states of the former Yugoslavia. Established Festival Programmer Andreja Kmetović has drawn on his extensive contact base to pull together a strong and varied roster of contemporary cinema from the region’s top directors.

Coming two decades after the Yugoslav Republic began to fall apart, this year’s Raindance Film Festival will be screening some of the latest most talked-about movies from every country in the former Yugoslavia: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, as well as Albania, Bulgaria and Hungary.

Celebrated for not being afraid to take risks with the films its screens, Raindance is Europe’s leading independent film festival and is flagged as ‘unmissable’ by Variety. This year’s schedule promises to deliver in spades, with eye-opening documentaries and modern day commentaries that should appeal to social historians as much as to general film fans or those with an interest in life in the region.

All of Andreja’s selections will receive their first public screening in the UK, with many to be hosted by the directors who will talk about their acclaimed work. “We are all very excited and a little relieved to have brought together such an enviable list of films for the Raindance Film Festival,’ said Andreja Kmetović.

“Some of the Balkan region’s most exciting and talked-about film directors were very keen to support us with the first and possibly only chance for British cinema audiences to see these films. Directors and actors will be flying in especially to debate some of the intense issues around their films and talk about the state of the region’s film industry. With their support and attendance, we are confident that this year’s Raindance Film Festival will be our best yet.”

Among the many esteemed directors to take to the London stage for Q&A sessions about their films are Stevan Filipović, the acclaimed and outspoken Serbian helmsman of the excellent Šišanje (Skinning)a controversial film spotlighting the impact of Serbia’s neo-nazi movement, and Andrijana Stojković, whose thought-provoking tragicomedy The Box, set amid the turmoil of Belgrade in 1992 when diplomats were fleeing the threat of UN sanctions, is currently the buzz of Balkan film festivals.

Dragan Bjelogrilić, accomplished director of Serbia’s biggest box office hit Montevideo: God Bless You, will also host a screening of his homage to a team of Serbian football players who raised the spirits of a nation and won a deserved place in the first World Cup in 1930. Bjelogrilić is a name behind some of Serbia’s most hard-hitting films, such as Rane/Wounds and Pretty Village, Pretty Flame and Ledina/Bare Ground. 

Besides those films, two highlights will be Croatia’s Just Between Us (Neka Ostane Medju Nama) an award-winning masterpiece (Karlovy Vary and Pula Film Festivals) from director Rajko Grlic, and the documentary The Weight Of The Chains from Canadian director Boris Malagurski, which presents an account of NATO’s involvement in the Balkan wars. Actors who will be flying in for the festival include the young stars of Serbian skater smash Tilva Roš are also scheduled to show their faces at their screening.

Some of the films to be shown at the festival, with screening times, are:

Skinning (Šišanje) dir. Stevan Filipović. Serbia

Student Novica goes off the rails after meeting skinhead Relja. The film reflects on how little it takes to ruin a life with a wrong choice. A contemporary Serbian classic. (Review)

– Wednesday 28 September at 16:00

Amnesty (Amnistia) dir. Bujar Alimani , Albania

An honest and candid look at a couple who visit their loved ones in prison in Albania. A modern tale with a very powerful ending. – Thursday 29 September at 18:15

Montevideo: God Bless You dir. Dragan Bjelogrilić. Serbia

Serbia’s most successful homegrown film is an homage to a team of Serbian football players who raised the spirits of a nation and won a deserved place in the first World Cup in 1930. Serbia’s Oscar entry for February 2012. 

– Friday 30 September at 20:15

Punk Is Not Dead dir. Vladimir Blazevski,Macedonia

Mirza is an old school junkie from Skoplje who gets an offer from an Albanian dealer to re-form his band and perform a gig to spread inter-ethnic ties and prove that punk is not dead. Winner of Karlovy Vary Film Festival

– Saturday 1 October at 18:15

If The Seed Doesn’t Die (Ako Zrno Ne Umre) dir. Sinisa Dragin, Romania-Srb-Austria

Two fathers meet on the Danube: a Romanian searching for his daughter forced into prostitution, and a Serb seeking the body of his dead son. A beautifully shot epic journey.

– Saturday 1 October at 15:30

Children Of The Green Dragon (Zold Sarkany Gyermekei) dir. Bence Miklauzić, Hungary

It’s a kung-fu film without an actual fight. The story is about a friendship between a Hungarian guy and a Chinese guy who lives in Hungary and guards a storage warehouse. There is conflict and even a duel. A pure Raindance movie.

– Sunday 2 October at 16:00

Tilva Roš (Tilva Roš) dir. Nikola Lezaic. Serbia

Toda and Stefan are skaters and best friends. They spend days shooting their daring stunts and battling for the attention of Dunja. Jackass mixed with Stand by Me from the city of Bor.

– Sunday 2 October at 18:15

Sevdah For Karim (Sevdah Za Karima) dir. Jasmin Duraković. Bosnia

A contemporary drama about three young people in post-war Sarajevo. A story about friendship and the appreciation for Sevdah. It’s about love, pain and suffering.

– Tuesday 4 October at 18:15>

The Box (The Box) dir. Andrijana Stojković, Serbia

A festival hit based set in Belgrade ’92. As the diplomatic corps flees the city in advance of UN sanctions, three young men struggle to achieve their dreams despite the hurdles. (Review)

– Wednesday 5 October at 16:00

The Enemy (Neprijatelj) dir. Dejan Zecević, Serbia-Bosnia-Croatia-Hungary

The fourth festival appearance for director Dejan Zecevic, who brings his most mature work. The year is 1995 and there is a Pandora’s box to be opened. Everyone wants the same thing: to be master of their own life.

– Wednesday 5 October at 18:30

Forest Creatures (Suma Summarum) dir. Ivan-Goran Vitez. Croatia

A teambuilding weekend of rafting and paintball goes wrong. The employee soon realise that their lives will change forever. Deliverance done the Croatian way.

– Thursday 6 October at 15:30

White Button (Bijelo Dugme) dir. Igor Stoimenov, Serbia

What The Beatles mean for global popular culture, ‘Bijelo Dugme’ mean for the ex-YU. An epic story of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, with a sprinking of Balkan politics.

– Thursday 6 October at 16:30

The Weight Of The Chains dir. Boris Malagurski. Canada

A Canadian documentary that takes a in-depth and critical look at the role that the US, NATO and the EU played in the breakup of Yugoslavia. Bursting with rare footage this is a must see.

– Friday 7 October at 14:00

Maya (Maya) dir. Pluton Vasi, Albania

A man returns to his village to make friends and bury his father, but soon he is labelled as a terrorist. Does he stay to change the mind of local villagers or simply give up? A great storytelling about envy and gossip.

– Friday 7 October at 16:30

Just Between Us (Neka Ostane Medju Nama) dir. Rajko Grlić. Croatia

We meet two brothers (Miki Manojlovic and Bojan Navojec), their wives, mistresses and children who do not reliably know who their father was. A story of double lives and a quest for love and happiness, Another masterpiece from Grlić after Karaula and a deserved winner at Karlovy Vary and Pula Film Festivals.

– Saturday 8 October at 18:15

The Camera Murderer (Der Kameramorder) dir. Robert-Adrian Pejo, Hun-Aus-Swiss

Two couples meet in a secret holiday house on a Hungarian lake. Friendly banter turns into tension when a neighbour tells them about a possible murder. A snuff video surfaces and they fear the killer could be in the house.

– Sunday 9 October at 14:00

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  1. Anonymous

    8 / 13 / 2011 8:57 am

    I did not realize that albania was part of the former SFRJ, am I wrong?.


  2. 8 / 14 / 2011 8:44 am

    No, it was not. That is why it follows ‘as well as…’ rather than being lumped in with the listed ex-YU states. Sorry if this caused any confusion.





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