From the 18th to the 23rd of January, 2014, I was a visitor at the 7th International Film and Music Festival Kustendorf. This is a festival hosted by our famous film director Emir Kusturica, and is located in Mecavnik, Mokra Gora.
The festival is made of a few programs when it comes to film, so the audience can enjoy newest and the most popular award-winning films in the previous year, and also have the chance to see some of the old cult films that changed the history of cinematography. Of course, there are always a number of student films competing for one of the three prizes- golden, silver or bronze egg. As far as the music program goes, Kustendorf hosts some of the most popular musicians world-wide.
This year’s guests had a chance to attend workshops of a lot of famous filmmakers, among whom are Guillermo Arriaga, the award-winning writer of Babel, 21 Grams and Amores Perros and a two-time Academy award-winning cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski, the Director of Photography in Schindler’s List, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Catch Me If You Can. Also, one of this year’s guests was Paolo Sorentino, a director whose film The Great Beauty was nominated for an Oscar in the category of the best foreign film made in 2013. This is a film that I gladly recommend to everyone, because it’s a true work of art.
There was also a program named “The American New Wave” which introduced some of the best films made in America during the 60s’ and 70s’, like “The Cabaret” by Bob Foss. The audience also got the chance to see a documentary named “EASY RIDERS, RAGING BULLS” by Kenneth Bowser that shows the rise and demise of a generation of film directors who changed for the good the way in which Hollywood films were shot, produced and distributed. After this documentary, Greg De Cuir, a film historian gave a lecture on the American New Wave.
The student films were, as usual, very interesting, since the authors came from different parts of the world bringing to us their culture and tradition through their films. This year’s winner comes from Slovakia, his name is Andrej Kolencik and the name of the film is “Exhibition”. I found out, from the director personally, that he was very surprised to win the prize, and that this was one of his first festivals. The second place went to a Polish director named Julia Kolberger for her film THE EASTER CRUMBLE. And finally, the bronze egg went to a Serbian director Luka Popadic for his film BAITS AND HOOKS, which is also new at festivals.
This year’s music program was amazing, including even Emir Kusturica’s band and a Romanian band named Mahala Rai Banda that really brought the atmosphere of this festival to life. Also, the famous French band ZAZ performed, having the most visited concert at Kustendorf so far.
All in all, this festival didn’t disappoint anyone. Kustendorf has kept its standard yet another year in a row, and left us looking forward to the next year. All I can say is that, in the meantime, what you should do is watch good films.