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News 05 Nov 15

Free Zone Film Festival Returns to Serbia

The hugely popular festival showcasing independent Serbian and world cinema begins screenings across the country from November 5.

Igor Jovanovic
BIRN
Blegrade
Film “Amy”, which charts the life of late British singer Amy Winehouse. Photo: Flickr/ arcticpenguin

The Free Zone Film Festival, one of the most popular movie events in the country, will take place in Belgrade, Nis and Novi Sad from November 5 to 10.

Films included in this year’s festival programme will be screened in eight cinemas across the country.

Free Zone, which showcases Serbian cinema along with international offerings, turns 11 this year and will screen films on topics such as women living in repressive communities, the migrant crisis in Europe, teenage eating disorders and many more.

One of the most prominent films to be screened is "Amy", which charts the life of late British singer Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011. The film opens the festival and will be screened at Belgrade’s Sava Centre.

The festival is also screening the film Taxi by director Jafar Panahi, who won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale Festival earlier this year. Taxi explores the everyday life of a taxi driver working on the busy streets of the Iranian capital Teheran.

As movie-lovers will already know, the key twist in the plot is that the taxi driver turns out to be Panahi himself, whom the Iranian government has banned from directing, writing scripts and giving interviews until 2030.

For the movie, he used a hidden camera to film fragments of his/the driver’s life and those of his passengers.

The famous Serbian director Goran Markovic recently said that film festivals, such as The Free Zone, are now needed more than ever before.

“Today, with a restricted media scene and loss of freedom, festivals, where independent films are shown and where independent people meet, are a necessity,” Markovic said, according to Free Zone’s official website.

He added that Serbian film directors tackling brave and socially-engaged topics, in both documentary and fiction form, are increasingly struggling to find venues that will screen their work, adding that the Free Zone Festival makes a difference.

“Certain films and some of the authors can only be seen there [at the Free Zone Festival] and nowhere else,” Markovic said.

Apart from the film festival itself, which is held annually in November, Free Zone also organises monthly screenings throughout the year at the Cultural Centre Rex in Belgrade and shows a selection of films from the festival in more than 30 towns across Serbia.

It also organizes Free Zone Junior, which includes a documentary film workshop for high school students, and Free Zone on TV, which shows movies from previous festivals on national television.

For more information about the programme and ticket prices visit the official website: www.freezonebelgrade.org

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