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News 19 Feb 16

“Humidity” to Open 44th Annual FEST

Belgrade filmmaker Nikola Ljuca’s debut feature film opens the International Film Festival, for which this year's theme examines the relationship between art and borders.

David Galic
BIRN
Blegrade
Press conference in Belgrade ahead of FEST, which kicks off on February 26. Photo: Beta

Another year, another FEST in Belgrade. The 2016 edition of the popular film festival will open with the debut feature film of one of Belgrade's best up-and-coming young directors, Nikola Ljuca.

Ljuca isn't a newcomer by any means; he has already directed several critically praised short films, but “Humidity” is his first foray into feature film.

“Humidity” is a thriller that follows the story of a young businessman whose wife ends up missing. Petar, the main character, is determined to continue leading a normal life without anyone noticing that his wife is nowhere to be found. Over the course of a week of trying to live with this secret, his life is turned upside-down.

Ljuca, who grew up with FEST in Belgrade, was incredibly enthusiastic about the chance to open the festival with his new movie.

“The feeling of happiness and gratitude is deeper and more complex than I can put into words,” the director said at a recent press conference for the festival.

Festival Council President and City Culture Secretary, Vladan Vukosavljevic, announced that this year’s festival slogan is “Erasing Borders.”

Vukosavljevic said that the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe surfaced in every conversation during planning and development of the festival.

“Our wish was to send a message that art erases borders, that FEST erased borders instead of creating them and dealing with barbed wire and divisions. We erase borders by inviting the most prominent artists from all over the world,” he said.

Vukosavljevic confirmed that many of the films to be shown this year have very strong, both political and artistic messages.

The festival programme is as robust as ever, with a total of 110 movies to be shown within 12 different categories.

The competitive portion of the festival will feature 15 films from all over the world. Festival Art Director Jugoslav Pantelic also noted at the press conference that the festival is proud that many of the films featured in the main programme this year were directed by women.
He added that preparations for this year's festival began even before the last one ended, adding that the decision to have “Humidity” open the festival was made at that time.

Festival staff believed it would great to open up the festival with an atypical Serbian movie.

An interesting addition to this year's FEST is the children's programme, marking the first time movies for younger fans are included in the programme. There will be movies for very young children and films for teenagers included according to Milica Setka, of the Bambi Company, sponsor of the children’s programme. She added that “Juliet and Alfa Romeo” by Slovenian director Blaz Zavrsnik is one of the more interesting films for young adults at this year's festival.

FEST opens on February 26 and lasts until March 6. Tickets are on sale at all of the city's biggest box offices and ticket centres. Visit the festival's official site to see the full programme: http://www.fest.rs/home

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