The eighth Cinema City IFF will be held under the motto In the right place at the right time, meaning in the new creative district comprised of China Town and Limanski Park in Novi Sad, from June 29 to July 5. The audience will get to see 70 films in six very different selections. Special focus will certainly be on the national premiere of Pavle Vučković’s first feature film.
Panama is the first Serbian feature film in thirty years to be included in the main programme, meaning the official selection of the most influential and prestigious international film festival in Cannes. Following this film’s success and world premiere at the 68th Cannes Film Festival, the Serbian audience will get the chance to see it premiere at the opening of the 8th Cinema City festival on Monday, June 29. The film will compete for the Ibis award in the National Class selection, the main festival selection that screens the latest achievements of domestic cinema.
In his debut feature, Pavle Vučković brings us a love story about an emerging issue in the young generation. Hiding emotions, running away from intimacy and honesty, and general alienation are the central themes of this intimate love drama. Two lovers are fighting against their emotions, trying to hide their feelings. In that way they are complying with a prevailing belief in which relationships between young people are reduced to vanity, distancing and emotionless sex. Afraid of being rejected, the protagonists are going through intimate internal dramas in which forbidden love is no longer a matter of social status or nationality, but of narcissist conventions where emotions are unnecessary and a reflection of weakness and where compassion and empathy are objects of mockery. This film deals with social criticism, albeit not directly. Although using a well-known subject, Panama provides a novel, different, and honest approach to something that we fail to notice even when it’s all around us.
Six years had passed between the writing of the script and its Cannes premiere. Due to financial difficulties, the film was shot in several phases. The signed contracts with French distributer Wide, and Collapse Films production company acted as great morale booster for these young filmmakers, as was the help and support of Miroslav Mogorović, accomplished and experienced producer, which allowed them to recommence the shooting after a long break.
This film was the first experience of working on a feature film, not only for Pavle, who directed and co-produced it, but for many other authors and associates engaged in the making of this film, including the co-writer Jelena Vuksanović, producer Tatjana Žeželj Gojković, and the actors who play the main protagonists, for whom this is the first film experience.
The main protagonist Jovan (Slaven Došlo) enters into an open relationship with Maja (Jovana Stojiljković), which grows into an obsessive relationship in which they’re trying to hide their emotions and thus avoid being hurt. Maja is only one of the girls Jovan is seeing, and she seems naïve and inexperienced. Gradually, her ambivalent behaviour begins to intrigue him. Following her video clips and online trails, he starts discovering parts of her double life, which draws him into his own game of deception and jealousy. Jovan starts to lose himself while desperately trying to discover who Maja really is.
In the meantime, Slaven Došlo received the Sterija award from the Dara Čalenić Fund for best young actor, for his performance in the play “Život stoji, život ide dalje“, from the Bitef Theatre.
In other roles are Miloš Pjevač, Tamara Dragičević, Jelisaveta Orašanin, Nebojša Milovanović, Aleksandar Đurica, Branka Pujić, Andrija Daničić, etc.
Excellent cinematography is signed by Đorđe Arambašić, scenography by Bojana Nikolić and Livija Mikić, costumes by Magdalena Klašnja, and editing by Bojana Kosović.
Pavle Vučković is a two-time winner of the Cannes Cinefondation Official Selection, namely in 2003 for Run Rabbit Run, for which he received 1st prize, and in 2007 for Minus, for which he won 3rd prize. Run Rabbit Run had been included as part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The opening of the eighth Cinema City IFF will gather many important film professionals from the country and the region. The purpose is to provide these filmmakers of different age and background with a place where they can gather and exchange knowledge. The audience will have the opportunity to meet not only them but the Panama film crew as well. This is Cinema City’s way of truly focusing on young authors and filmmakers.