Free Zone Film Festival Free Zone Film Festival will be held from 5th to 15th November in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis. On November 5, at 7 PM, the festival will have its grand opening with the movie Nick Cave – Idiot Prayer, which is to be screened in Kombank dvorana in Belgrade, Cultural Centre of Novi Sad and Cineplexx in Nis.

This year, the festival brings 35 art house feature films and documentaries. All the movies in this year’s selection of the festival speak about a desire to communicate, traumas that come with separation and catharsis that intimacy brings. They talk about the need of belonging to a certain community, acceptance, magic of touch, importance of our memory and conquering fears.

On the 16th edition of the Free Zone Film Festival, the audience will have a chance to see films from well-known program segments: International selection, Regional selection – Balkan Horizons, 14+ line, EU – zone of change and Woman line.

This year, the festival added a new selection of films called the Green Zone, which focuses on ecology and our attitude towards the environment. Films from this selection combine authors’ creativity with activism, they connect film to ecology, so as to better understand our natural surroundings, its mechanisms and ways it affects our daily lives. Also, there is a selection that centers around Tito’s legacy from different perspectives, 40 years after his death.


Short films made in Dokufest workshops for documentary film in Prizren will be screened as part of the Future is Here program, just like films by Pietro Marcello as part of the In Focus program. Films from online platform KinoKauch will be screened in Jugoslovenska kinoteka.


EU – zone of change segment of the program continues to reexamine and analyze socio-economic changes in Europe and the way they affect our lives, while the focus of Woman line, one of the favorite program segments of the festival, remains on gender (in)equality issues, activism through art, dealing with past traumas and emancipation of women. As part of the Free Zone Compass, panel discussions will be held after the screenings of films in the Cultural Center of Belgrade.

The big novelty of this year’s festival is the online platform KinoKauch (, on which the films will be screened.

Tickets for this year’s festival are available at the box offices of Cultural Centre of Belgrade, Dom omladine, Kombank dvorana, Art Cinema Kolarac, Jugoslovenska kinoteka, Bioskop Fontana, Cine Grand MCF, Cultural Centre of Novi Sad, Cultural Centre of Nis, and Cineplexx in Nis.

We introduce you to the festival's favorites

Feature film Never, rarely, sometimes, always directed by American film director Eliza Hittman is part of the International selection. Film gives possible answers to very private questions a social worker asks seventeen-year-old Autumn at the crisis pregnancy center. The questions tackle Autumn’s family, her sexual health, habits and feelings. Brutally honest towards society and system, and endlessly gentle towards her heroines, Eliza Hittman invites us to come really close to them, until we get the feeling that true friendship, human touch and support are what we need to live/and survive.

Documentary film The Reason I Jump shows us lives of children and young with autism and their families. Based on the book of the same name, through the inner voice of a thirteen-year-old autistic boy Naoki Higashida, the film allows us to for a moment come close to what people who are unable to express their overwhelming sensations and emotions see and feel.

Gagarine is a story of a block of flats on the outskirts of Paris built by the French Communist Party for the working class in the late 1960s. Strengthening the friendship between the two countries, in 1963, famous Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, personally attended the opening of a building that was to be a symbolic representation of a better future for the working class. In 2019, directing duo Liatard/Trouilh found the prominent building in a bad condition. In that block of flats that is soon to be demolished, their film story about a sixteen-year-old Yuri takes place. What happens to the broken dreams and how much is youth capable to dream, you’ll find out in these 97 minutes, in which the whole space was able to fit.

From the Green Zone selection, we recommend a documentary eco-thriller called Wood. From Siberian taigas and Romanian woods, to rainforests in Peru: the concerns around the world are making billions of dollars from illegal harvesting of the wood. First world consumers are delighted to buy low-price carpentry and furniture, but they would probably be very shocked if they were to find out the origins of those products. This film combines in an exciting way investigative journalism and international espionage and it reveals to which degree the ecological colonialism is spread around the world and in our immediate proximity.

Film portrayal of a world literature icon Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am from director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders was made from a series of interviews with Toni Morrison herself and thirteen more of her contemporaries including Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis and Fran Lebowitz. This is a unique film mosaic about the first Afro-American winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and her literary work. Her life and her work are put in a wider context of  fighting for emancipation and freedom – from Black Power movement to present Black Lives Matter movement.

Welcome to the Free Zone!

Nick Cave opens the 16th Free Zone!

The Free Zone Film Festival will run from November 5 to 10 in Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Niš. The grand opening is set for November 5, leading with the world cinema premiere of the film Idiot Prayer at Kombank Hall at 7 p.m.

The sixteenth edition of the festival will be anything but ordinary. Faced with the unknown in a time filled with uncertainty, The first hybrid Free Zone was brought to life. The closeness remains — although at a distance. And the question poses itself — is such a concept even feasible? Restrained freedom in silence? In semi-isolation. Partially online. Communicating, sharing, and asking questions without looking into each other’s eyes in the cinema’s darkness. What is to be said after such a long time without a glance or a touch? Without so many things that were supposed to happen, and never did, because of the ones that had occurred, changing our realities so unexpectedly? Whatever happened to cuddles? Embraces, kisses, resounding cheers — do you miss the sound of a song? How about the applause? Think of all the magnificent tangible things that have instantly disappeared and are only partially returning.

This year’s opener for the Free Zone, a musical film treat Idiot Prayer, holds the answers to most of these questions.


This musical performance by Nick Cave was recorded on June 19, 2020, shortly after the lockdown in the UK had ended, with a minimal crew, at a completely empty hall of the Alexandra Palace, one of London’s favorite music venues. This time there were no thousands of sweaty bodies swaying and bumping against each other. It was a concert robbed of the noise and the applause. No streams of beer, no mass carrying it, no mobile phones or kisses in the dark — just the empty West Hall. Alone at the piano, a man — dispelling darkness and dissipating loneliness. Nick Cave, on display, for novices and connoisseurs alike. In a span of an hour and a half, without the support of Bad Seeds, he solely drifts through all stages of his vast catalog, from the earliest albums to the latest Ghosteen, including the songs written within the band Grinderman. Those lucky souls who have had the chance to see Nick Cave play live know how challenging describing those emotions can be. Idiot Prayer — the last film of the trilogy, alongside 20,000 Days on Earth and One More Time with Feeling — is ascetically reduced to the essence of the musician’s poetry and music, utterly concise and self-sufficient. The absence of the audience echoes in between songs performed in ecstasy, while they take turns in their alternative forms as solo renditions of the well-known tunes. Cave’s performance can be seen as a prayer for oneself, at the same time addressed to all those who can hear it and recognize themselves in it. It is almost as if we were there with him for a moment.

However, Idiot Prayer is much more than a concert film. It represents a historical turning point factually preserved in a work of art. An emptiness, in which all of humanity has suddenly found itself lost, is being explored in this one-take performance, set to be seen simultaneously by audiences around the world on November 5. Cave himself mentioned that on that June day, with this team, in this unusual set amongst the thermometers, protective masks, and buckets of disinfectants, they created “something very strange and very beautiful that spoke into this uncertain time, but was in no way bored by it”. If you indulge in the glimmering light of the silver screen, you may even recognize the notorious world-saving beauty in it.

This year’s hybrid edition of the Free Zone will present its film program both online and in cinemas. As an alternative to the traditional in-person screenings, audiences across Serbia will be given a chance to immerse themselves in this year’s lineup via KinoKauch, an online platform designed to facilitate access to the latest art house and documentary film releases.

Screenings will take place at various venues, including Kombank Hall in Belgrade (opening ceremony and the premiere of the film), The Cultural Center of Belgrade, Belgrade Youth Center, Yugoslav Cinematheque, Art Cinema “Kolarac”, The Cinema “Fountain” and the Cine Grand in Rakovica. Novi Sad is hosting the projections at The Cultural Center of Novi Sad, and Niš at The Cultural Center of Nis, alongside Cineplexx.

The opening night tickets will be available for purchase from October 8 at the Kombank Hall box office!

This year’s festival is supported by:

The Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, Reconstruction Women’s Fund, the French Institute, and Movies That Matter.

Welcome to the Free Zone!