Short Report: Belgrade Documentary and Short Film Festival 2014: Laughter Can Save Us and Cinema

The Belgrade Documentary and Short Film Festival has been an international film festival for eleven years and never before have so many authors wanted to have their films screened in competition in Belgrade. In that sense, the festival’s artistic director, Janko Baljak, stated that the selectors received over a thousand films from all over the world. At the same time, Serbia has produced twenty films less than the previous year, which perfectly illustrates the impact of the financial crisis on the production of short and documentary films in the country. Given that it is a festival that showcases the best short films, this year, the organizers tried to shorten the festival’s slogan. To their rescue came the Internet slang and the everyday communication of young people who always have a need to shorten their own language on social networks. Therefore, LOL (laughing out loud), as an interplanetary abbreviation for something hilarious, was chosen. The festival was opened on 2 April 2014 by the Polish director Aneta Kopacz and her film, “Joanna”. It was another strong proof of the vitality of Andrzej Wajda’s school and a confirmation that Polish Cinema is one of the strongest in the sphere of European documentary film.

This year, the audience enjoyed a total of 155 films in 15 different categories.

The National Documentaries Competition program was made up of the following documentaries: “Some Girls Are Bigger” Than Others by Anja Kavić, “Celebration” by Dajan Javorac, “33 Kralja Petra Street” by Aleksandr Ratiy, “How’s It Going, Grandpa?” by Goran Nikolić, “Home” by Dušan Janković and “A Love Case, or a Tragedy of an Ordinary Man” by Svetislav Dragomirović.

In the National Short Fiction Films Competition program, we could see “Rujka” by Strahinja Savić, “The Last Variation” by Irina Dečermić, “To the Border” by Katarina Mutić, “The Night is Too Short” by Isidora Veselinović, “Moonless Summer” by Stefan Ivančić, “Farmer” by Nemanja Ćeranić, “Dragan” by Milorad Ćitić, “The Bag” by Marko Sopić, “Sweet Dreams Baby” by Miloš S. Pavlović, “Dub Play” by Nemanja Lazić, “For Fallen Worlds” by Maša Šaranović, “Do You Believe in Love After Love” by Jovana Tokić, “Baits and Hooks” by Luka Popadić, “Hibernation” by Hadži-Aleksandar Đurović and “As Innocent as Possible” by Dean Radovanović.

The National Animated Films Competition program brought “WOOF” by Goran Alimpić, “Elitism” by Duško Pašić, “Second Chance” by Chris Busuttil and “Wrong Seed, Svetislav” by Pavle Čelić.

For the National Experimental Films Competition program, the following films were selected: “Essence” by Jelena Masnikosić, “Yugoslavian Home Movies” by Salise Hughes, “It’s Late” by Đorđe Stojljković, “Needle” by Đorđe Stojljković, “Wingless” by Nenad Veljović and “Dybbuks” by Nikola Vučenović.

The International Documentaries Competition program was made up of “Ezeiza” by Cristina Motta, “The Immaculates” by Ronny Trocker, “The Being From Elsewhere” by Guy Bordin and Renaud de Putter, “Raffael’s Way” by Alessandro Falco, “Daddy and the Little Lost Ones” by Audun Bratlie, “Red White Green” by Tarek Raffoul, “Cut it Short!” by Filippo Demarchi, “Dream Girl” by Oliver Schwarz, “Train of Pearls” by Gregor Eppinger, “Poop on Poverty” by Vijay Jodha, “Down on the Corner” by Nikola Ilić and Corina Schwingruber Ilić, “Aldona” by Emilija Skarnulyte, “She Who Loves” by Sunniva Sundby and “Displacements” by Manuel Álvarez Diestro.”

The International Short Fiction Films Competition program showed the audience “At the Last Stop Called Ghost Chimney” by Tetsuya To’a, “More Than Two Hours” by Ali Asgari, “Buhar” by Abdurrahman Oner, “Damn Girl” by Kira Richards Hansen, “J.M. Mondésir” by Alice Colomer-Kang, “The Date” by Gianpiero Alicchio, “Butter Lamp” by HU Wei, “The Day When My Father…” by Arnaud Lalanne, “The Dive” by Delphine Le Courtois, “No Kissing” by Manuel Arija de la Cuerda, “No Love Lost” by Shekhar Bassi, “Pieces” by Jack Weatherley, “Tresholds” by Dijana Mlađenović, “Tala” by Pierre-Philippe Chevigny, “Tryouts” by Susana Casares, “Typo” by Hussen Ibraheem, “Zuza Zuza” by Piotr Matysiak, “02:43” by Hector Rull, “RE50 direction Wächtersbach” by Leslie Bauer, “Practice Makes Perfect” by Devon Avery and “Duet” by Navid Danesh.

In the International Animated Films Competition program, the following films were screened: “Hollow Land” by Michelle and Uri Kranot, “Collectors” by Marcel Hobi, “Cycloid” by Tomoki Kurogi, “Forgot” by Stephen McNally, “Love is Blind” by Niall Byrne, “Rabbit and Dear” by Péter Vácz, “Origami” by David Pavón Benítez, “Sleeping with the Fishes” by Yousif Al-Khalifa, “The Hour Glass” by Joscha Thelosen and “Animation Hotline” by Dustin Grella.

The International Experimental Films Competition program brought the following films: “Azotara” by Ada Kobusiewicz, “Tambourine Buttocks” by Carlo Sampietro, “She is Love” by Nicolaj Brüel, “Sounds of Nature” by Simon Weber, “Voices” by Elisabeth Lindland, “MeTube: August Singing Carmen Habanera” by Daniel Moshel, “Ring” by Azar Saiyar and “The Book of the Dead” by Alain Escalle.

The Special program was made up of eight different categories:

  • Diaspora with films by Serbian filmmakers who are looking for their place in the film business but are almost unknown in their home country: “The Tresle at Pope Lick Creek” by Vuk Mitrović, “Way in the Rye” by Goran Stanković, “The Experiment” by Maja Đokić, “Canton Yugoslavia” by Nikola Ilić and “Price of Loneliness” by Milica Đenić.
  • Hot that presented “Married to the Swiss Franc” by Arsen Oremović, “Fire in the Blood” by Dylan Mohan Gray, “Tales From the Organ Trade” by Ric Esther Bienstock, “Joanna” by Aneta Kopacz, “Belgrade – Life or Death” by Bojana S. Knežević and “Tito on Ice” by Mark Anderson.
  • Forbidden Voices – The Selector’s Top Ten that brought us “Forbidden Voices” by Barbara Mueller, “Mama, I’m Gonna Kill You” by Elena Pogrebizhskaya, “The Fishing” by Denis Evseev, “Igruski” by Lina Lužtė, “Balazher. The Correction of Reality” by Lesia Kordonets, “No Burqas Behind Bars by Nima Sarvestani”, “Sobota” by Marie Elisa Scheidt, “The Lust Killer” by Marcin Koszałka, “Farid – In Zurich or Somewhere” by Pino Esposito and “Adela” by Avril Besson.
  • Neighborhood in which films from the Balkans region were screened, like for instance “Drop by Sometime” by Kosara Mitić, “Believe in Love” by Igor Ivanov, “Indigo” by Davorin Marc, “Fuck Off” by Berin Tuzlić, “Boxed” by Nebojša Slijepčević, “Some Limitless Freedom” by Marija Perović, “Vita Mulier” by Mirna Dizdarević and “I Love YU” by Irena Skorić.
  • 4th Eurochannel Short Film Tour presenting some of the short comedies three nights in a row in the program Laughter: The Universal Desire with 21 short films coming straight from this channel’s European tour.
  • Rome Independent Film Festival with “Buon San Valentino” by Cristiano Anania, “Hakuna Matata” by Aldo Iuliano, “La bici” by Giorgio Borgazzi, “La stanza” by Massimiliano Battistella, “L’impresa” by Davide Labanti, “Senzaria” by Massimo Loi and Gianluca Mangiasciutti, “Stripes” by Marco Adabbo and “Sassiwood” by Antonio Andrisani.

The jury was made up of the Swiss director Barbara Mueller, the Danish film theorist Cecile Jorck, the Serbian actress Hana Selimović, the Serbian cinematographer Nikola Majdak Jr and the Ukranian film critic Andrei Alferov.

The festival was also proud to present a special program entitled Belgrade – Edinburgh Project 10x10x14. In fact, the project consists of a series of films produced through a collaboration between animators and composers in five countries, spearheaded by the Edinburgh College of Art directors Jared Taylor and Alan Mason and the program director of MSc Composition for Screen Yati Durant. The aim of the project was to inspire spontaneous creativity and unbridled productivity in the participants by asking that each film be produced in only 24 hours. Within 10 days, hundreds of fascinating and stimulating short animated films were produced as the result of a collaboration between composers and animators. The films can be viewed on

On 6 April 2014, the awards were given and the festival was closed by the Serbian actress Hana Selimović. For more information on the awards, click here: Awards.

The festival welcomed among its many guests Gianpiero Alicchio, Manuel Ricco, Alice Colmer-Kang, Ronny Trocker, Dijana Mlađenović, Aneta Kopacz, Piotr Matysiak, Denis Evseev, Arsen Oremović and Avril Besson.

Even if its first edition took place sixty-one years ago, this year the festival carried out with the same energy its cultural and educational duty, broadening even more the cinematic horizons of the lovers of the “Seventh Art”.

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