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Workshop with Ruben Östlund

After the screening of last year’s winner of Palme d’Or, The Square, the film’s author held a workshop with the students and guests of the 11th Küstendorf.

The Swedish director spoke about a specific approach to film and his mode of research into human nature very similar to the methods of sociology. Talking about the ideas and inspirations behind The Square, Östlund spoke about his own installation bearing the same name. As with the whole film, Ruben claims that he wanted to use the installation to challenge the bystander syndrome, which became a standard response of the civilized man to violence, and to human suffering in general. Collective rage towards an uncivilized individual is the most dangerous thing in our society, said Östlund.

Further expressing his dissatisfaction with traditional film approach to problems of human behavior, Ruben pointed out that digital video and especially platforms such as YouTube, allow us to question standard forms of film narrative structure, which offer viewers form instead of content ‒ meeting set expectations instead of questioning human condition. We must question the obsession with Anglo-Saxon dramaturgy, Östlund concluded.

He shared the way he works with actors, cinematographers, and the way he edits. When describing the reasons behind static shots, which sometimes hold entire scenes, Ruben pointed out that this allows him to focus on the actors’ behavior, thus leaving them room for free interaction and personal inquiry into ways to bring a scene to life. Also an editor, Östlund gives an impression of someone who insists on making films only in ways that would allow an intense depiction of problems he is tackling. As film professor, and lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gothenburg, Östlund had many things to say to young authors, in particular that they must not be afraid of failure and that making films must be treated far more freely than it is usually done.

After valuable lessons, the audience had the opportunity to hear the whole synopsys for Östlund’s next film Triangle of Sadness, which deals with human beauty and how it establishes social dynamics.

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Opening of 11th Küstendorf

The dedication To you, Lilya opens Vladimir Mayakovsky’s Cloud in Trousers, back in 1914. Tonight, over a hundred years later, we heard To you, Lilya in Mećavnik, and the muse of the Russian avant-garde became the muse of 11th Küstendorf.

Director, poet, actor, fashion icon, architect and guardian angel of Russian avant-garde artists, Lilya Brik, came down from the film screen and strolled along the Damned Yard Theatre, proclaiming both herself and the Festival bound by film.

The opening ceremony of the 11th Küstendorf began with the remaining frames of the lost silent film Bound by Film (1918), with Vladimir Mayakovsky as screenwriter, starring Mayakovsky and Lilya Brik. The screening was accompanied by music performances of the legendary American guitar player Gary Lucas and The No Smoking Orchestra, and a dance number with acrobat Sanja Radulović and contemporary dancer Dušan Murić. They danced to Waltz No. 2 by Shostakovich, this way embodying Mayakovsky and Brik and bringing the lost film to life.

After the introductory spectacle, Professor Emir Kusturica addressed the audience of the Damned Yard Theatre, saying that this year’s Küstendorf would, like its predecessors, bring together those who would soon become great and those who are already great, but that it would be different because it would use fiction to turn reality into fiction. The floor then went to the Minister of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia Vladan Vukosavljević who referred to Küstendorf as a big beehive visited by hard-working bees from all over the world, making honey, healthy food which is a counterpoint to the poison produced by the entertainment industry.

Gary Lucas took the stage again and accompanied the twenty-minute screening of the silent film Entr’acte (1924) by the great French director Rene Clair.

The audience then saw an homage to the Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, a guest of this year’s Festival and the winner of the traditional Award for Future Films now renamed to Tree of Life. Sorrentino officially declared the Festival open.

After the opening ceremony the audience saw The Square, a Palme d’Or winning film by director Ruben Östlund, who shared an anecdote about his travel from Gothenburg to Mećavnik. After the screening, Östlund held a workshop with the students and guests of the Festival.


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Sorrentino Arrives at Kustendorf as a Special Guest

Italian film director Paolo Sorrentino arrived in Mećavnik on the opening day of 11th International Film and Music Festival Küstendorf.

Professor Emir Kusturica welcomed him in front of Saint Sava’s church with traditional Serbian greetings – bread, salt and rakija.

Sorrentino is a guest of this year’s Küstendorf, and the Festival participants are going to hear the Italian director in workshop and watch his films The Consequences of Love, The Family Friend and Il Divo, and also his TV series The Young Pope.

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First Member of the Jury Arrives in Drvengrad

Petar Peca Popović is the first guest to arrive for the 11th International Film and Music Festival Küstendorf welcomed with the traditional Serbian greeting – bread, salt and rakija. He was greeted by Nana Kusturica, Festival executive director, and Marko Milosavljević, selector of the Competition Programme.
Peca Popović, renowned Serbian rock critic and writer, is here as a member of the Competition Programme Jury to award the Festival prizes – Gold, Silver and Bronze egg.


Competition Programme Selection

It’s December 21st, the shortest day of the year. We’re eager to present you 21 short films selected for Competition programme of Kustendorf 2018:

  1. A Gentle Night – Qiu Yang, China, France
  2. All That Grows – Milena Grujić, China, Serbia
  3. Amor – Isabel Lamberti, Netherlands
  4. Bonboné – Rakan Mayasi, Palestine, Lebanon
  5. Call Him President – Emma Paoli, UK, Serbia, Czech Republic
  6. Chanel – Humberto Vallejo, Dominican Republic
  7. Domesticated Wolf – Elad Primo, Israel
  8. Dregs – Kordian Kadziela, Poland
  9. Fifteen – Sameh Alaa, Egypt
  10. Fortunately – Piotr Januszkiewicz, Poland
  11. Into the Blue – Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, Croatia
  12. It’s Really Awesome – Katarzyna Warzecha, Poland
  13. Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee of the Month – Carlo Francisco Manatad, Philippines
  14. Loop – Matija Gluščević, Serbia
  15. Lumpen – Nikola Vučinić, Montenegro
  16. Mary – Grigory Kolomytsev, Russia
  17. Merry-Go-Round – Ruslan Bratov, Russia
  18. My Boyfriend – Leopold Dewolf, France, USA
  19. Shmama – Miki Polonski, Israel
  20. The President’s Visit – Cyril Aris, Lebanon, USA, Qatar
  21. The Troubled Troubadour – Sébastien Simon, Forest Ian Etsler, South Korea

After seeing many good films we wish to take the opportunity to thank all the authors who submitted their work. We feel that chosen films are exemplary in terms of style, technical flair and visions of the world that will provokе, seduce and energize audiences at Kustendorf.

The festival will take place between Tuesday 16 January and Sunday 21 January 2018.


We Want Your Films

The 2018 Küstendorf International Film and Music Festival is coming in January and we are now open for film submissions.

Our Competition Programme showcases short films and is open to filmmakers around the world. The only limit is runtime. As long as your film is under 45 minutes, fill in the application form, include a streaming link and send it to kustendorffestival@gmail.com.

Here is the application form.

Selected films will compete for Festival prizes and their authors will be invited to take part in Festival programmes from 15 to 21 January.

Submission deadline is 1 December 2017.


Kustendorf Voted Among 25 Coolest Festival Around the Planet

Kustendorf International FIlm and Music Festival has for the second time been included in MovieMaker Magazine annual list of the 25 Coolest Film Festival in the World. This list is decided by the magazine’s own “panel of cool”, a party of eight that includes filmmakers, film festival programmers, producers and publicist, who are invited to evaluate their experience with film festivals in terms of coolness.

This years list includes a variety of festivals that range from well-known film carnivals that attract thousands of film aficionados to some more obscure festivities that might be unknown to even the most relentless festival goers out there. Drvengrad-based festival has found it’s place in a catalogue of places that stretches from Jerome, Arizona to Jeonju, South Korea, and from Artic Circle to  the Carribean coast of Columbia with the following description:

At Küstendorf, time stops. You are absorbed with watching incredible international films, partying relentlessly, and listening to film masters tell their stories. Serbian auteur and two-time Palme d’Or-winner Emir Kusturica presides over the party, drawing in cinema luminaries like Johnny Depp, Alfonso Cuaron and Andrei Konchalovsky for retrospectives and open panel discussions. With a focus on awarding new international talent, the fest is the perfect venue for the next generation of student filmmakers.

Check out the full list over at the MovieMaker.