There we are, my wife and I, back in Belgrade to take part in the 14th European Feature Documentary Film Festival, Magnificent7 – seven films, one per night, starting tomorrow on the 8th with the Polish masterpiece, “The Prince and the Dybbuk” by Piotr Rosolowski and Elvira Niewiera, who will be present at the screening that is said to be sold out – there is space for 1300 spectators!
From heatwave in Copenhagen to the same in Belgrade with a warm welcome in the airport by Nevena Donlic, program coordinator and Nebosja, driver for the festival through many many years. In to our home for the next week, the Belgrade Excelsior Hotel on Kneza Miloša close to the Parliament and the new venue of the festival Kombank Dvorana. Mr and Mrs. Festival, Zoran and Svetlana Popovic were waiting for us, we got the room and we carried luggage and survival kits up the stairs. Survival kits… for years one of the many jobs at the festival that is carried out by brilliant camerawoman Jelena Stankovic… she buys snacks, chocolate, water, juice, wet wipes, tissues, much needed and one of many specialities of the hospitality, we have enjoyed during all the years. It is an understatement that guests are taken well care of at this festival!
Off to lunch outside in the restaurant Jovac, me starting with my classic rakija, the Losa, it’s from Montenegro, the Serbian waiter said – and followed by salad and schnitzel. From there to a fabulous coffee place ZRNO, means the grain, in the part of the city called Vracar, cafés and restaurants on each corner. Nevena Donlic takes her coffee there – understandable!
14th edition… thinking back on the many films and directors, whose films (91 films) and company we have enjoyed through the years, let me just mention some of them – I go to the facebook page of the festival and look at photos: Audrius Stonys, Miroslav Janek, Nicolas Philibert, Sergei Loznitsa, Sylvain Biegeleisen, Helena Trestikova, Pernille Grønkjær, Wojciech Staron, Jerzy Sladkowski, German Kral, Frank Piasecki Poulsen, Gianfranco Rosi, Marie-Clémence and César Paës, Mika Ronkainen… and late Michael Glawogger (PHOTO). In the coming week Magnificent7 welcomes European documentary cinema makers to Belgrade.