Serbia’s Kustendorf Film Festival, which was founded by helmer Emir Kusturica, opens its fourth edition today with Balkan bands blasting a film-set village where students will be exposed to industry mentors for six days.
Dedicated to helping young filmmakers find their unique “film language,” as Kusturica did in pics such as “Arizona Dream” and “Underground,” the fest specializes in workshops led by industryites.
This year, students will be looking for inspiration from Russia’s Nikita Mikhalkov, presenting “Burnt by the Sun 2: Exodus,” Iran’s Abbas Kiarostami (“Certified Copy”), Norwegian helmer Erik Poppe (“Troubled Water”) and helmer-thesp Gael Garcia Bernal, who will provide insights on “Revolucion,” a collection of short films from Mexico.
Helmer Jan Hrebejk will attend with “Kawasaki’s Rose,” the Czech foreign-language Oscar entry.
Fest kicks off with “Czech Peace,” a send-up of U.S. military influence helmed by Czech directors Filip Remunda and Vit Klusak.
Kiarostami and Kusturica will also lead talks, an integral part of the week.
The jury — Vincent Maraval, founder of distrib Wild Bunch; producer and Columbia U. professor Richard Brick; and film theorist Iva Draskic Vicanovic — will judge 20 student films from 13 countries competing for the Golden Egg prize and a development scholarship.
Fest, which wraps Jan. 11, hosts a side event celebrating the Czech New Wave of the 1960s and nightly world music concerts featuring a lineup of bands that includes Kusturica’s own No Smoking Orchestra.
Kustendorf, also known as Drvengrad, is a village that Kusturica built in the mountains 125 miles southwest of Serbia’s capital, Belgrade for his film “Life Is a Miracle.”