Auteur Film Festival was established twenty years ago in Serbia and Belgrade under sanctions, isolated, in total darkness and cut off from the rest of the world. In a country excluded from all cultural and civilizational events, in the pre Internet age, all windows and doors were closed, boarded up, bolted, and we, amongst it all, isolated, humiliated and rejected. In Belgrade, only shortly before considered a metropolis of cultural, powerful and vibrant life, the city of New Wave, BITEF, FEST, and rich cultural life.
Unfortunately, during the 90’s, Belgrade was blacked-out, musty and stale inside, with no contact with the outside world.
And then, in November ’94, the first Auteur Film Festival took place. I am inclined to believe that no festival before or after ever brought together such a faith- ful audience. Because at that moment the importance of the festival was much greater and deeper than the festival itself.
That first festival felt like someone widely opened a gigantic window on a ramshackle house and let in the fresh air bringing a breath of novelty, energy and life to all of us who thought that we were forgotten for eternity and cut off from the rest of the world.
We were stigmatized and excommunicated by destructive politics. But the Auteur Film Festival was on the opposite side of all intentions and results of that politics. It reconnected us with the world and reminded us that we belong to that curious, brave and opened world.
It was not the intention of the festival to have political mission, but only cultural and social one, but in the years that fol lowed, it continued to reshape the picture of Belgrade and Serbia, to improve the society’s blood test results, and kept giving us hope and faith that we live in a better world.
At that time, we used to say ‘Belgrade is the world’, although it was isolated and forgotten by itself and by the rest of the world.
The Auteur Film Festival was one of the first cultural events that demonstrated that Belgrade is indeed the world.
This is why its significance at that time by far exceeded the importance of any other given event dedicated to film.
It was our view of the world.
Srdan Golubovic, President of the Festival Council