Milan Stojanović • Programme director, Cinema City
- Producer Milan Stojanović, who is also the programme director of Cinema City, tells Cineuropa about building up the profile and identity of this festival aimed at promoting young filmmakers
Milan Stojanović, a producer and the programme director of the Cinema City Film Festival in Novi Sad, tells Cineuropa about building up the profile and identity of this gathering aimed at promoting young filmmakers.
Cineuropa: After many changes throughout the years, Cinema City seems to have finally defined its main programme sections. Tell us about the philosophy behind the current concept.
Milan Stojanović: After we realised that in six out of seven editions of the festival, the main prizes went to first-time directors, and that one of the most popular sections was Up to 10,000 Bucks, designed for low-budget films usually made by students and newcomers, we decided to officially make Cinema City a festival for first and second films. This also tied in naturally with our Cinema City Campus education programme.
So we have four main sections dedicated to new filmmakers: Fresh Danube Films for movies from the Danube region; 360°, a worldwide panorama of edgy, innovative cinema; National Class, a showcase of up-and-coming Serbian filmmakers; and Up to 10,000 Bucks.
What is Cinema City's position on the Serbian and Balkan festival scene?
Festivals in the region are a channel for audiences to experience non-commercial cinema, and our primary goal is to promote young auteurs. Across all sections, we combine fiction and documentary films, and big productions and no-budget works. We believe that strong stories with a fresh artistic touch should be equally presented, regardless of production conditions, format or length, and that new filmmakers and their films should be promoted with even more love and devotion.
How did the festival's audience develop, and who is the festival primarily intended for?
When Cinema City started its mission in 2007, Novi Sad, the second-largest city in Serbia, didn't have any functioning cinemas. The festival occupied city squares, pedestrian zones and parks, and showed new films from all over the world in high-tech open-air cinemas. But even then, after the multiplexes were built, the audience kept coming back. The festival also has a music section with concerts by high-profile artists, which attract an audience that wouldn't necessarily visit a film festival.
Last year, after the gathering moved to a new location, a cool post-industrial artistic quarter (with a skate park in it), the festival generated a whole new generation of visitors, composed of teenagers and young adults.
Cinema City was one of the festivals that featured the Cineuropa Award. There are no awards at all this year – what is the reason for this?
This year has been tough in terms of financing, and for the first time in years, after a very controversial decision by the selection committee, the festival hasn't received any support from the Serbian Ministry of Culture. On top of that, other sources have dried up because of the election year, and we were forced to make budget cuts. We decided that our priority was to keep the quality and the quantity of the films from the successful previous edition, as well as to maintain the production level of the event and the festival experience that the audience recognised, and to put the juries and awards on hold for this year. We're sorry about this, but we are confident that we will continue with the awards next year, hopefully with the help of Film Center Serbia, which, through a positive initiative by new director Boban Jevtić, has started supporting awards for national cinema within the context of other festivals in Serbia.