He started to work as a screenwriter at a very early age and then made his directorial debut with La Bella Vita, premiered at Venice in 1994, straightway displaying an unmistakable style, a mix of melancholy, irony and social drama. It can be said that Virzì has created, with his fourteen films peopled by starry-eyed antiheroes and vulnerable outsiders eager for redemption – at time characterized by the breezy energy of the comedy, at others with the darker tints of the film noir – a kaleidoscopic, affectionate and at the same time biting mosaic of Italian society over the last thirty years. In some of his works, such as Hardboiled Egg, Grand Jury Special Prize at the 54th Venice Film Festival and The First Beautiful Thing, his stories are immersed in the atmosphere of the working class area of Livorno where he was born. But he has also ventured onto the road, exploring the East Coast of the USA in The Leisure Seeker, a film shown in competition at the 74th Venice Film Festival and starring Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren, who was nominated at the Golden Globes for the Best Performance by an Actress for this film. His most recent movie, Magical Nights is a loving and irreverent evocation of the mythology of great Italian cinema, as Virzì encountered it when he first arrived in Rome as a young man. He has won numerous prizes, including seven David di Donatello and eight Nastri D’Argento awards. He has twice been on the shortlist of five nominations for Best European Director at the EFA and has twice represented Italy at Oscars. He amuses himself drawing funny portraits of the people he meets and has three children: Ottavia, Jacopo and Anna.
Tonino Benacquista is a novelist (Saga, Someone else, The Thursday night men). He also writes graphic novels and films scripts (The beat that my heart skipped and Read my lips, by Jacques Audiard). Some of his books have been adapted for the screen, such as Malavita, by Luc Besson, with Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones. He lives in Paris.
Vladislav Tkachiev was born on November 9, 1973 in Moscow. He started playing chess in Kazakhstan in the spring of 1984. By 1992 he had won every single chess award in the newly independent Republic of Kazakhstan. In 1996 Tkachiev moves back to Moscow and soon after that to Cannes, France, since he had started playing for the local Chess Club ACE. In 2006 he was naturalized as a Frenchman, to then become Champion of France in 2006 and 2009. Since then Tkachiev has played many times for the French national team. In the 2012 Olympiad in Istanbul he won the Gold Medal on 5-th board. Other achievements include being quarter-finalist of the World’s Championship in New Dehli (2000) as well European Champion in 2007 (Classical Chess and Blitz). Tkachiev retired from competitive chess in 2016 and from that time on, has been coaching some of the best female and male chess players.
In 2004 he organized the 1st World Chess Beauty Contest on-line. From 2012 to 2013 he was chief-editor of one of the most popular chess websites: whychess.org
He is a great cinephile, most surely because he lives in Cannes, but he suspects that it’s probably the other way around.
Michel Amathieu, director of photography, was born in 1955 in Crevecœur-en-Auge, France. He studied mathematics, obtaining a master’s degree in this field and practiced photography as a hobby. He taught mathematics in high school for two years before joining the evening classes at Louis Lumière film school and devoting himself to the art of cinematography. He worked on a number of short and feature films, before Dobermann (1996), directed by Jan Kounen, attracted the attention of public to his work. This was followed by a noted thriller Cousin (1997) directed by Alain Corneau, and I love L.A. (1998) by Mika Kaurismäki, in a slightly different vein. Michel Amathieu was then called to replace Thierry Arbogast at the end of Black Cat, White Cat (1998) shooting because of the delays: Thierry had engagements elsewhere. Since then, Michel followed Emir Kusturica on the No Smoking Orchestra tour, and took part in Super 8 Stories (2001). He returned to Serbia to work on Life is a Miracle (2003). More recently, Michel has worked as a director of photography on Volker Schlöndorff’s Diplomacy (2014) and Agnieska Holland’s Rosemary’s baby (2014). Along with his work on films, Michael Amathieu was a cinematographer on a number of commercials and TV series.
About the Festival
13th International Film and Music Festival Küstendorf is held between January 13 and 18, 2020 in Drvengrad, Mokra Gora. It is organized by Rasta International under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, the town of Mećavnik and The No Smoking Orchestra. Each year, Küstendorf focuses on emerging filmmakers and the greats of world auteur film.
Mećavnik can be reached from three different directions: from Belgrade, from Višegrad, or from Zlatibor.
From Belgrade, there are multiple routes. From Belgrade, the most frequent route is taking national road M22 to Ljig, highway on the route E376 to Preljina, then road M5 through Čačak, Požega, and Užice. From Užice, follow E761 through Kremna. At the tenth kilometer after Kremna, there is a sign on the right-hand side to turn for Mećavnik where Drvengrad is located. The second way to travel from Belgrade is through Valjevo, Bajina Bašta, and Kremna, and then to continue as previously explained.
From the west of the Balkans, take the M5 highway across the national border. The turn for Drvengrad will then be on the left-hand side of the road. From the south of the Balkans, travel through Zlatibor, following E761 and E763.
From the Belgrade bus station, there are several daily departures for Višegrad. In this case, the passenger should tell the driver in advance to stop at Mokra Gora railway station as this is not one of the regular stops.
The Kustendorf International Film and Music Festival was founded in 2008 with the idea to bring together the icons of contemporary author’s cinema and young, future filmmakers. The festival takes place every year in January in Drvengrad in Mokra Gora, organized by “Rasta International” and under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia. The founder of this unique film and music festival is celebrated film director Emir Kusturica.
Kustendorf is a unique festival, without red carpet, billboards and advertisements, fully devoted to film, music, friendships and exchange of creative ideas and energy.
Drvengrad, the town made of wood, is the center of all festival happenings. It is a place where films are screened, concerts performed, where people meet, make friends, fall in love, work, learn, rest, sleep, eat, think and enjoy. Like any other town, Drvengrad has a central square with the church of St. Sava, a library, an art gallery, a market, a kindergarten, a “prison”, a swimming pool, a sauna, a hair salon, a pastry shop, a grocery shop, a sports area, cinemas, restaurants and many other facilities that make the visit to the Festival an unforgettable experience.
The film programme at Kustendorf Festival is screened in several theatres. The Competition Programme and the Contemporary Trends Programme is screened at the biggest, Damned Yard theatre. Other films are shown in the Noam Chomsky amphitheater. After the projections of films, workshops are held by renowned film authors.
Every night at midnight, after the screenings and workshops, various music stars perform on stage.
No two rooms are alike in Drvengrad, since each room contains uniquely painted and handcrafted furniture, a different view and a different path leading to it. The rooms are located in authentic log cabins and all provide a bathroom, TV, phone and Internet access. During the Festival, accommodation in Drvengrad is booked for guests and participants of Kustendorf. Guests are also accommodated in hotel Iver in a newly opened ski resort, and Vizitorski centar, in close proximity of the village.
Restaurant Visconti – local and international cuisine provided for the Festival participants and guests
Cafe The Damned Yard – a perfect place to meet people in a great atmosphere
National restaurant Lotika – a national cuisine restaurant
Pastry shop Kod Ćorkana – sweets and hot drinks
Kapor Bar – a place to enjoy jazz music
Kind and diligent staff at the reception of the Mećavnik hotel will provide you with all necessary information about the festival, accommodation and events, and give answers to all your questions.
Like in previous years, young filmmakers and students whose films will be presented at the International Film and Music Festival Kustendorf, will be picked up from Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport by our welcome service and transferred to Kustendorf – Drvengrad.
The 13th Küstendorf
International Film and Music Festival
13-18 January 2020
Milorada Mitrovića 15
11 000 Belgrade
tel / fax: +381 11 24 31 505
Programme Coordinator – Guest Service