An Evening Bursting with Art Opened the Gradić Fest
The Gradić Fest, which was opened yesterday, completely revived Petrovaradin’s lower town, Podgrađe with its varied and rich art programme, which was offered at all the venues of this unique festival. More than 20,000 people from Novi Sad and elsewhere flocked under the walls of Petrovaradin Fortress early in the evening, to see the pageant and the Flaach Bras Band from Switzerland, and help take the Birds of Peace to Podgrađe, and they stayed there all the way till the end of the first Festival night.
Shortly before the Grand Opening of the Cinema City International Film Festival, which celebrates its 10th anniversary as part of the Gradić Fest, the representatives of all participating partner organizations of the Festival hosted a press conference.
The Director of the Street Musicians Festival, Natali Beljanski Popović, talked about the joint mission of all associated partners involved in the Festival organization and their intention to utilize high-quality art programmes and contents as a means to help the visitors identify with this old Baroque site, which is gradually awakening and becoming more and more attractive for life, work and tourist visits. Dalibor Rožić, a member of the City Council for Culture, also talked about the significance of the Gradić Fest for Novi Sad, pointing out that the festival fits into the strategy to decentralize culture. He said that the City had recognized this initiative from its very beginning and helped its implementation, and also helped recover Podgrađe, for which purpose they had already renovated 45 building facades. According to Bojana Karavidić from Subirbium, an association from Petrovaradin, the fact that the Street Musicians Festival crossed to the other bank of the Danube, and the launching of the Gradić Fest have the same meaning for the inhabitants of this neighborhood as Neal Armstrong’s landing on the Moon had for the humanity, in terms of being a great opportunity for its definitive revitalization and possible permanent suspension of the public transit, so that Podgrađe can start living a new, much more relaxed and attractive life.
The film section of the Gradić Fest and the Grand Opening of the Festival took place at the Kapija Open Air Cinema, a location behind the Belgrade Gate, where the Cinema City representatives presented the marvelous Mirjana Karanović and Miodrag Mišo Milošević with the IBIS awards for their outstanding contribution to the National Cinema.
After the Award Ceremony, the festival opened with a National Class submission “Requiem for Mrs. J", the second film by Bojan Vuletić, a satirical drama which is one of this year’s candidates for the European Film Award. After “Requiem for Mrs. J” the audience had a pleasure to see “Heartstone” by the Icelandic filmmaker Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson. This film was lauded as an exceptional piece of work at numerous international festivals.
Another outdoor movie theater, the Nazorova Open Air Cinema, was set up in the baroque setting of Vladimir Nazor Street, on the left side of Podgrađe. At this location, we presented two extraordinary movies from the region: a satirical comedy by Ivan Marinović titled “The Black Pin”, and Hana Jušić’ film “Quit Staring at My Plate”, which has won 19 awards, including the major prize at the International Film Festival – FEST and the Critics Jury Award at the European Film Festival Palić.
The Rampin put Open Air Cinema hosted thirteen Up to 10,000 Bucks entries. This is a selection of movies whose authors were bold enough to shoot a movie on a budget of less than $10,000.
The Belgrade Indoor Cinema – the only indoor venue at the Festival, situated at the corner of Beogradksa and Lisinski Street, opened its door at 6:00 PM with Tamara Drakulić’ second film “The Wind”. After “The Wind”, the audience had a pleasure to see Stefan Malešević’ film “Gora”, which illustrates the cultural treasures of the isolated slopes of Šar Mountain. “Gora” was followed by two more screenings: “All the Cities of the North” by Dane Komljen, and Tea Lukač’ movie “The Most Important Boy in the World”.
The music part of the Gradić Fest, in the tradition of the Street Musicians Festival, brought together numerous amazing groups and individual artists from our country, the region and all over the world. Their diversity spoke to thousands of visitors, who, surprisingly, were massively interested in something so very astonishing, unconventional, and special... The local rising star Bojana Vunturišević staged an unforgettable show on a revamped scene by the Belgrade Gate. Her extraordinary fusion of the pop-electro sound and candid, heavy poetry, carried on the wings of the MKDSL beat, easily spoke to the hearts and minds of our visitors. American culture arrived to Gradić with the traveling folk musician Christopher Paul Stelling, who, together with his band, demonstrated outstanding skill with acoustic instruments accompanied by an expressive poetic depiction of everyday life, which brought joy to many Country–Americana buffs. Equally attractive, but also more direct in communication with the audience were The Trouble Notes, a gang of street musicians from Berlin, virtuosos with an extraordinary sense of humor and stage. At the same spot, next to the church in Štrosmajerova Street, Renzo Ruggieri reminded us of his glorious past with the aid of the medieval instruments nyckelharpa and santoor. Sometime before Ruggieri, the bandoneon master Toni Pezanov and Gong Master Dolf created a similar rustic sound experience.
The attractive stage on Rampin put, right at the foot of the so-called Drunken Clock, was occupied by the local music forces, with the increasingly popular Belgrade keyboardist Sergio Lounge and his fantastic band being the most interesting gig. The up-and-coming bands UV from Novi Sad and Buč Kesidi from Pančevo also delivered extremely good and attractive sets: both gigs were completely packed, with playful teenage girls having the best of fun – a new grain of hope for the Serbian rock n’ roll. The DJ and VJ shows, delicately illuminated with antique ornamental lanterns, marked the first night at the Pop Up Point. This venue was packed to the brim with modern electro sound lovers who prefer partying the old way, and no one is better at it than Brica and the band. On the other hand, the demand to pamper the senses and go for a walk into the underground galleries of Petrovaradin Fortress together with the UGRIP Association was so high that more than 400 visitors had to be put on the waiting list for some other time.