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Interview: NIKOLAI NIKITIN, THE OFFICIAL SELECTION SELECTOR

LOVE PALIĆ PARTY

Nikolai Nikitin, Official Selection selector speaks for the Festival Newsleter about selection we are going to see at Summer Stage, Srdan Golubović, Ari Folman and place of the European Film Festival at The Old Continent's map

 

What distinguishes 20 Palic Festival Official Selection?
It is characterized, as in the previous years, by one of the main ideas of the Festival, to present the variety of European cinema. This year, for example, for the first time since I am involved in the Festival and in 20 years of the history of the Festival, we have a movie from Kazakhstan in the competition, just showing how wide Europe is. Not only are we presenting western-European countries, the eastern-European countries or of former Yugoslavia, but we also go far to central-European region having a Kazakhstan in the competition. And what's more, we have also a very big mixture of genres, a lot of different, let’s say, movie styles, very clear comedies, very clear genre movies, and also a coming-of-age story, story about love, then story about nationalism in Norway. This year we cover trans-gender theme, which is also a big topic. We cover different topics and have movies that audience can enjoy in, with lot of humor, a very classical and beautiful love story from Belgium, with lot of music in it… So, I would say that the Main competition program is very diverse, showing us what is really going now in European cinema. The main thing this year, in the Official Selection is to show movies with very contemporary topics. Good example for that is Serbian movie by Srdan Golubović CIRCLES, reflecting a war topic, but focusing on what is going on in Serbian society right now.By what criteria do you select Serbian films for the Official Selection? In the case of the 20 Festival, it's a film CIRCLES?For me is Srdan not only a very dear friend, which he has become over the years, but CIRCLES is one of the seven most outstanding films in the market right now. It was premiered at Sundance where he got an award. In the Official Selection we wanted to present 7 most outstanding films available right now, from artistic point of view, and I think that Srdan with his film belongs to that group of filmmakers. Srdan was also been at Palić earlier with his film KLOPKA. I think he is an outstanding voice in Serbian cinema right now, because he is a true author, he really believes in his stories and has a very good artistic collaboration with his scriptwriter, with his cameraman. And I like very much the way he is treating the former Yugoslavian history and the way he’s picking stories.
Why there are no Spanish, French and Italian movies? Some critics noticed that.Well, I pick the movies which I like, and it also happens that films from countries which have smaller cinematography have the most interesting films. It is more rewarding to see films at the Festival that don’t have such an easy distribution like some from western-European countries as mentioned above. So, for me is more interesting to show movies which can be only seen at Palić. Furthermore, I would say that France, Italy and Spain are very good in soccer, but today they don’t have a leading role in European cinema, and that other countries like Romania and Israel have more interesting cinema and much more interesting contemporary filmmakers then mentioned countries. The festival will be opened with CONGRESS by Ari Folman. After his WALTZ WITH BASHIR, you decided to choose Folman again - why?Ari Folman's WALTZ WITH BASHIR was probably the most successful film of that year, even though it was overseen at Kan and didn’t get any award. So I am very proud that Palić Festival was the first festival that gave the film the main award. The new Folman's film CONGRESS is very creative and new in terms of film language, by mixing animation with live action. For me Folman is one of the new, fresh voices in cinema, discovering and pushing the borders of new cinema, so we are very happy and very glad to open the 20 Palic Festival with this film and this filmmaker.
Festival cares about the authors, follows them and screens their films: Seidl (Export-Import Paradise: Love), Folman, Dietrich Bruggeman, Mira Fornaj? What are the benefits of that?Well, we have a nice friendship with important European filmmakers, who grow and we are growing with them. Being involved in the Festival, also in the jury, and enjoying serbian hospitality and the whole atmosphere at Palić makes them friends and supporters of the Festival. They are helping the Festival to build its reputation in Europe and make its international position. After they have such a great time at the Festival, it is really easy to have them back again with new projects and present them in the competition.
  Recently, together with my colleges in Serbia, we have managed to put up a very good international reputation of Palić Festival. A proof of that is this year's cooperation with the European Film Academy, and the European film academy is the biggest association of European filmmakers. They are bringing ten young European filmmakers to Palić and experts of European film academy. This year, the most outstanding contemporary filmmaker Jim Sheridan is coming to Palić. And that all wouldn’t be possible if reputation of Palić festival hasn't grown in last 20 years. And I am just very happy and proud to be part of this process.What is the place of the Palic Festival on the European map of festivals?Well, I would say that it is one of the most important and oldest European festivals in the so-called region. And even on the European level, we have a very new and unique selection of authors. In terms of presence, we are still developing and growing and in terms of program and reputation, I would say, we play in the champions league.With what kind of thoughts do you return to Palić?Well, always with very pleasant thoughts, because, you know, usually people go to vacation during summer and I go to so-called work. But what kind of work is to be on Palic, meeting all my European friends, presenting the great movies in a beautiful places, meeting my great Serbian friends… I've been involved in Palić for 10 years exactly, since I was a jury member, when I got to know Miša Mogorovic and the whole gang. I enjoyed so much here so I returned to Palić again and started to collaborate with the Festival. Many people ask me how I am manage to do so much work, and I just say that Palić is not work, it is a pure pleasure for me. Once I get to Palić, I forget actually about every work. And the only thing I envy to our European guests coming to Palić, is that they experience the Palić for the first time.