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Kustendorf Film Festival

Küstendorf Film Festival is an annual event held during early January in the village of Drvengrad (also known as Küstendorf) in the Mokra Gora region of Serbia.
Established in 2008, it is a film and music festival organized by Rasta International, film director Emir Kusturica's production company, in the village whose construction he financed in mid 2000s on the slopes of Mećavnik hill. The festival has no commercial sponsors and is partly financed by the Serbian Ministry of Culture.
In addition to feature films shown in several programs and musical performances, the festival features a competitive component for short films. The festival's main prize, Golden Egg is awarded for the best short film. Vilko Filač Award is given out for the best cinematography.
The sixth edition of Küstendorf took place from 16th to 22nd of January, 2013. The grand opening ceremony included Kusturica again taking on Bruce Willis in a fistfight signifying a "battle between Goliath and David, between ideology-based film and auteur film".
Chinese director Zhang Yimou was this year's main guest at the festival. In addition to his visit that included a workshop with film students, a retrospective of his films was shown, including Not One Less and Raise the Red Lantern as well as his latest film The Flowers of War as part of the contemporary programme.
The short film competition included 28 films from all over the world. The 3-member jury included Israeli actress Alona Kimhi (jury president), producer Michael Hausman, and Oleg Jeknić.
Other guests included Benh Zeitlin (screened his Beasts of the Southern Wild as part of contemporary programme and held a workshop), Aleksei Balabanov (his latest film Me Too screened in contemporary programme and he held a workshop), Audrey Tautou (held a workshop and visited Kamengrad), Matteo Garrone, Monica Bellucci, Yeşim Ustaoğlu, Elia Suleiman, Olja Bećković, Matija Bećković, and Péter Gothár.
Monica Bellucci's 3-day stay at the festival, which Kusturica referred to as "the beautiful spice that captures attention", created another wave of international media coverage similar to three years earlier when Johnny Depp visited. The Italian actress' star power, glamorous image, and sex appeal generated media attention that by proxy also created publicity for the festival as well as for her just announced film with Kusturica tentatively titled Love and War. During the visit, Kusturica announced plans for a movie set during Bosnian War with Bellucci playing a Serbian woman, scheduled to begin shooting in May 2013 in Trebinje with Mr. Dodik and Republika Srpska authorities involved in financing.
And after every day filled with good movies and educational workhops, guests could enjoy the music program followed by a party in one of the restaurants. The atmosphere was amazing as you can see from the photos. Film lover or not, this festival is something every one should experience, and I strongly recommend it.

Text and photos by Nadja, 17

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