The film festival Free Zone will take place from November 5th to November 10th in Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Niš. On the 5th of November at 7 and 9 PM, the festival will be solemnly opened with the world cinema premiere of the film Nick Cave – Idiot Prayer at Kombank Dvorana, Kulturni center Novog Sada and Cineplexx in Niš.

The press conference of the festival was held on Tuesday, November 3rd, at Dvorana Kulturnog centra Beograda. Rajko Petrović, festival director and selector, Branka Pavlović, International program selector, Ivan Bakrač, Regional program selector – Balkan Horizons and Ivan Milenković, editor of the Compass debate program, spoke in front of many media representatives.

The festival director, Rajko Petrović, presented this year’s festival and the challenges festival organizers are facing today. Free Zone was supported by the program MEDIA Creative Europe 10 days ago, and because of that, this year audience will get a chance to see 70 featured and documentary films of art-house production (51 featured and 19 short films).

Branka Pavlović presented the movies from the International selection, speaking about the film My favorite war by Latvian director Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen. My favorite war is an animated documentary based on the director’s childhood story growing up in The Soviet Union during the Cold War. A dynamic and engaging documentary about Christoph Schlingensief, German director and socially engaged artist, Schlingensief: A Voice That Shook the Silence, was also recommended by the program selector. She added that this is one of the films in which a director addresses the audience the entire time – which recently became a trend in film art.

Ivan Bakrač
, the selector of the Regional program – Balkan Horizons – talked about movies from this program line with emphasis on the films Acasa, my Home, In Praise of Love, and Miracle Milk.

This selection is special because Balkan directors are slowly expanding beyond the problems of this region and more documentaries are being filmed in other countries and centered around different themes. Films from this selection will have domestic premieres at the Festival, and the movie Sundays by the Greek director Alethea Avramis will have an international premiere.

Ivan Ramljak, the director of the movie O
nce Upon A Youth, will be the guest of this year’s festival edition (winner from 2016). The premiere of Once Upon a Youth will take place on November 7th at 6:30 PM at Dvorana Kulturnog centra Beograda.

Other program lines of the Festival are EU Zone of Change, Green Zone (new program line), Woman line, 14+ selection, Kinokauch presents, In focus, Tito legacy, Zone without Borders, as well as short film program Future is here.

The selector of the Free Zone Compass debate program, Ivan Milenković, said that this year, Compass focuses on the films dealing with global problems, but the same problems can just as easily apply to this region. Panel discussions will follow movies The Realm, This is our Land, Wood, and Milestones at Dvorana Kulturnog centra Beograda.Coffee with Authors has become a Free Zone podcast (edited and hosted by Milica Lapčević), and during the Festival, there will also be a book promotion “50 years of the film hit in Serbian cinematography 1969-2019″ by the professor at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts Marina Fafulić Milosavljević. Many people will find out interesting information about their favorite domestic movies in this book.

A new festival program, Digital Propeller, in cooperation with Media desk Serbia, will offer 2-day workshops where independent Serbian art house film screeners will get a chance to learn about different digital promotional strategies for developing and attracting audiences to the cinemas, as well as new business models imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Even without guests, this year’s Festival edition will have Q&A with authors, filmed before the Festival and played to the audience after movie projections.

During the Festival, Jugoslovenska kinoteka will screen films by Pietro Marcello, one of the most interesting film directors in contemporary cinematography. The projection of Martin Eden will be followed by the conversation with this fascinating director and Masterclass will also be lead by the director Ivana Mladenović.

Great news this year is the online platform KinoKuach. This hybrid edition of the Free Zone will be available for everyone in Serbia with an internet connection.

Tickets for this year’s festival can be bought at the cash registers in Dvorana Kulturnog centra Beograda, Dom omladine Beograda, Kombank dvorana,Art bioskop Kolarac, Jugoslovenska kinoteka, Bioskop Fontana, bioskop Cine Grand BIG Rakovica, Kulturni centra Novog Sada, Niški kulturni centar, Cineplexx Niš.

This year’s edition of the Festival, besides the MEDIA program, was supported by the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, Reconstruction Women’s fund, French Institute, Movies That Matter, and Film Center Serbia.

See you in the Free Zone!