Gradić Fest Closed: The Sleeping Podgrađe Awakened with a Kiss of Art
Last weekend, Podgrađe, the ancient nucleus of Petrovaradin Fortress, was completely revived in a most extraordinary way with the aid of art, which, despite unfavorable weather conditions, attracted numerous visitors to this baroque setting located at the foot of the centuries-old Petrovaradin walls. The closing night of the Gradić Fest will be remembered for the brilliant performances by artists of various profiles from all over the world, with music gigs and film screenings being – as usual – the most dominant part of the programme.
This crisp – but fortunately dry – night in Beogradska Street opened with the final performance of the “How to Be a Clown” workshop participants, who worked under the mentorship of the world-renowned representative of this kind of performance art Jean Méningue. A dozen of local enthusiasts, future actors and active dancers and performers, willing to put on some heavy stage make-up and red noses, drew thunderous applause, with the loudest contribution coming from the youngest Gradić guests. The acrobatic stunts featuring bicycles and fire blaze, carried out by the Canadian adrenaline-rushing duo Les Dudes, generated equal amount of noise. Not far from there, a young poet from Varaždin Matko Abramić was sitting with a typewriter, writing personalized poems on the spot for the curious visitors, based on any single word they would assign.
The Cinema City Movie Repertoire opened at the Beogradska Indoor Cinema with the films “The Return”, directed by Predrag Jaksic, and “Why Did Dragan Gather His Band”, a film by Nikola Spasić which completely delighted the audience. By the end of the evening, the visitors had an opportunity to see another two movies at the same venue: “Filthy” by Tereza Nvotová, and “The Month of Dreams”, a film by Zoltán Bicskei.
The outdoor venue in Nazorova street, Nazorova Open Air Cinema, hosted “Adriana's Pact”, a film which comes all the way from Chile, and talks about conspiracy theories and personal struggles. “Adriana's Pact” was followed by Nikola Kojo’s “The Herd”, a film depicting the life of the film behind the camera, which the audience met with roars of laughter.
Behind the Belgrade Gate, at the Kapija Open Air Cinema, we presented three movies. The first one was “The Last Family” directed by Jan P. Matuszyński. Right after that, much to the delight of the audience, we screened “Gimme Danger”, a Jim Jarmusch film about the legendary music star Iggy Pop, which has attracted a great deal of attention worldwide. All those of you who followed the porgramme of the festival to its end could see the Bolivian film "Dark Skull" directed by Kiro Russo, a story of a young man and his inner struggles in the harshness of the Bolivian mines.
The Rampin put Open Air Cinema, the venue located on the road leading from the Saint Juraj Church to the Fortress, hosted a number of Up to 10 000 Bucks entries. At the very same spot, the Novi Sad audience had a chance to see the local premiere of “Contact”, a film by Mihajlo Obrenov which chronicles the last twenty years of the Novi Sad subculture music scene, and features an incredible total of 140 interviewees.
The Youth Jury, a group of high-schoolers who gathered every evening at the Rampin put Open Air Cinema to evaluate the Up to 10 000 Bucks entries, chose the Scottish short film “Lethe” by Eric Romero as this year’s winner of the Youth Jury Award: “A delightful movie, both in terms of its storyline, and its production, featuring some excellent acting and a very impressive closing scene, ‘Lethe’ has left an overwhelming impression on the Youth Jury, and according to our opinion, it absolutely deserves this award”. In addition to this film, the Jurors have chosen another two films which spoke to their hearts, and awarded them with Special Mention: “I Saw It” from South Korea and Ionut Gaga's film “The Headlight” from Romania. In their explication, the Young Jury stated that the film “I Saw It” deserves the Special Mention Award for the ease with which it introduces us into the story, utilizing dazzling dramatic techniques and aesthetics, and plays with our minds and feelings, while the Romanian movie “The Headlight”, which employs the biblical context of the perpetual battle of good and evil to show the eternal struggle within us, visualized in a very unconventional way, also stands out and deserves the Special Mention.
During the three days of the Festival, the audience also voted for their favorites. Based on their votes, this year's Audience Award was given to the film by Nikola Spasić “Why Did Dragan Gather His Band”.
The final night of the Gradić Fest also had some awesome music delights in store. The Dutch-Serbian duo Trance n dance stood out with their innovative approach to the trance music, with a touch of some subtle electronic sounds and the Aboriginal instrument didgeridoo. Next to the Saint Juraj Church, Childado, the youngest performer at the Festival coming from Tuzla, and his colleague from Novi Sad, the singer and songwriter Olivera Popović, also captured the attention of our visitors. The local and international up-and-coming star Luke Black staged a brilliant gig at Rampin put, which featured an excellent vocal dark, electro-pop performance and lavish costumes. The Belgrade neo-pop gang Herz with their extraordinary frontman Aleksandar Šišić were equally great. The gigs of the last night’s headliners, the famous Latino masters Mambo Stars and the leader of the local reggae scene Hornsman Koyot, delivered the best sound and attracted the largest number of visitors. The endless pre-midnight show in Podgrađe’s High Street also featured Berlin's own The Trouble Notes, whose ultra-dynamic, acoustic ethno spectacle raised the level of adrenaline to unexpected heights, and kept rolling until they drained the last atom of strength from the enthusiastic crowd in the packed-to-the-brim auditorium.