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News 26 Jun 16

Outdoor Cinemas Take Over the Belgrade Summer

Two free, open-air movie screening events throughout the summer offer a new way to enjoy both Serbian and international films.

David Galic
Filmstreet has been one of Belgrade’s most interesting summer festivals since 2010. Photo: Facebook.

Filmstreet has been one of Belgrade’s most interesting summer festivals since 2010.

Acknowledging that the summer programmes in Belgrade’s cinemas tend to be fairly unimpressive, organizers of the event, the citizens’ association Nova Ideja (New Idea), decided to bring a more diverse film programme to the public for free.

Filmstreet’s goal is to turn everyday locations all over Belgrade into outdoor movie theatres all summer long. The festival kicked off on June 17 in Studentski Park with a screening of the Serbian movie “Nacionalna klasa” (National Class), which paid tribute to recently deceased Serbian cinema legend Dragan Nikolic.

The festival lasts until September, transforming more than ten locations around Belgrade into open-air cinemas screening both foreign and domestic cinema classics. According to the organizers, the idea came to them in 2010, when documentary films related to ecology and the environment were all the rage.

This sparked the idea for creating a cinema event using Belgrade’s many beautiful outdoor locations. The essential idea of Filmstreet is to give film fans the chance to see cinematic classics the way that they were intended to be watched: on the big screen.

By making the festival entirely free and setting up shop in public where anyone can simply show up and have a seat anywhere, organizers are trying to ensure that anyone in Belgrade who wants to see one of these movies on the silver screen can do so with ease.

In total, there will be more than 30 films shown. This year also features three live theatre productions as part of the Filmstreet programme. And while seating is usually very limited at the showings, the whole idea of Filmstreet is that visitors can take a seat wherever they want.

Generally, anything goes at Filmstreet. You can bring a blanket and have a seat on the grass, you can bring your own beverages and snacks to the movies; the entire point of the event is to be a free treat for all cinema fans who want to enjoy classic movies under the clear summer skies of Belgrade.

Even though the “guerrilla film festival” will last throughout the summer, the programme itself is still being crafted.

Therefore, we do not know what to expect for the rest of the month.

On Friday, June 24 a performance of a production by directors Rifat Rifatovic and Branimir Trifunovic which was, until recently, banned in Novi Pazar, will take place at the Kalemegdan fortress.

On Saturday June 25, David Lean’s “Brief Encounter” will be screened in front of UK Parabrod, while Wolfgang Becker’s “Good Bye Lenin!” will be shown on June 29 at Crveni Krst in Vracar.

All of the films in the Filmstreet programme throughout the summer will be shown at 8.30pm.

Serbian classics

Film "Nacionalna klasa" (National Class) with Nikolic. Photo: Facebook.

Filmstreet is not the only festival with an open-air cinema programme this summer.

Skadarlijski kinematograf, presented by the Tourist Organisation of Belgrade, is a new event that screens outdoor movies every weekend.

All films will be shown in Skaradska Street, the famed Bohemian quarter in Belgrade’s downtown, and all of the movies will be in Serbian.

However, this doesn’t mean that foreigners will be excluded. Anyone who wants to learn more about Serbian cinema can do so, since all of the movies will have English subtitles.

The first film will be shown on the night of July 2 at 35 Skadarska Street. Just like Filmstreet, all of the screenings are free. There will be movies shown on every Saturday night throughout July and August and all start at 9pm.

Each movie selected for the festival was chosen because it represents a certain epoch and generation of Belgrade residents and local history.

Having both Filmstreet and Skadarlijski Kinematograf to choose from this summer is certainly great news for cinema fans looking to cool off at night, kick back with friends and a beer and popcorn, and enjoy Serbian and international film classics in the cooling summer breeze of some of Belgrade’s most beautiful natural locations.

This article was published in BIRN's bi-weekly newspaper Belgrade Insight. Here is where to find a copy.

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