LONDON — A new film festival dedicated to showcasing the work of film school students opens Monday in the Serbian mountain resort of Mokra Gora.
The brainchild of international award-winning Serbian director Emir Kusturica, the Kustendorf Film Festival will promote the development of a new generation of film auteurs through a student competition and showcasing the work of new and established filmmakers.
Nikita Mikhalkov — one of Russia’s best known contemporary directors — will open the festival with a screening of his new film “12,” a remake of Sidney Lumet’s 1957 court room drama “12 Angry Men” updated to a setting in a Chechen school gym where 12 juror must decide the fate of a Chechen boy accused of murdering his Russian stepfather.
Film school students from 12 countries including the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Poland, Russia, the U.S., Cuba, Spain, France, the U.K. and Serbia will compete for golden, silver and bronze egg awards under a jury headed by Austrian writer-director Peter Handke.
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The festival — supported by Kusturica and the Serbian ministry of culture — promises to be an idiosyncratic event.
Kusturica said the key aim is to present “quality” not “quantity” and promises it “will not be a mass festival, but mass-product-free manifestation. There will be festivity, but no red carpet and no fashion-inclined icons.”
A Russian retrospective will screen student films from Mikhalkov (who also has his own retrospective), Andrei Tarkovsky and Andrei Konchalovsky.
The festival will feature some of the best auteur films of last year with workshops and screenings of films by German director Fatih Akin (“The Edge of Heaven”), Cannes winner Cristian Mungiu (“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”), Israel’s Eran Kolirin (“The Band’s Visit”) Cristian Nemescu’s “California Dreamin’ ” and Kusturica’s “Promise Me This.”
British director Michael Radford is the focus of a special “Evergreen” program at which his acclaimed 1994 film “Il Postino” and others will screen.
The invitation-only event, which is not open to the public, takes place between January 14 and January 21 at Drvengrad, the wooden-cabin built architectural-award winning ethno tourism village that Kusturica developed in the mountain resort.