By Vid Radičević
I’m going to the Connecting Futures project!
Remember when we were in our caffe, (where we always go when we haven’t seen each other in a while) and you told me about it and how Beldocs partnered with FIDMarseille and Underdox for that very project? Well, I signed up for it, and I’ve just been notified that they accepted my application!
By the way, I’ve just arrived in Turkey. We had some problems with the train ride from Ankara, and afterwards we struggled to find a ride to our hotel in Eskişehir, but other than that, all’s good. It was really stressful to have a complete stranger drive you to your location, but what’s important is that we all made it in one piece and safe. I talked to Kate about the planned workshops, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that I was going to Connecting Futures, so I barely heard her, but that’s okay, there will be more meetings tomorrow.
I don’t know if you even remember this project? It’s organized by Beldocs from Serbia, FIDMarseille from France and Underdox from Germany. FIDMarseille, the biggest festival out of the three, will take place in July. The second largest one, Beldocs, is just around the corner in May, here in Belgrade, while Underdox is scheduled for October in Munich.
The topic for Belgrade, they said, are the burning political questions surrounding Eastern Europe, and I’m really excited about it! I wonder what they have planned for the workshops. They mentioned that we’ll also talk about human rights with anti-war activists and journalists. Maybe some of the activists I told you about will be there. That would be so cool.
In Marseille, we’re supposed to talk about how filmmaking can actually be a full time job. What do you think about that? The festival is at the beginning of July, which means hot weather. I really hope I’ll pass one of my two hardest exams by then, so that I don’t have to worry about it during the festival.
Underdox, the festival from Munich, is a documentary and experimental film festival, at least that’s how I understood. I don’t know what to expect. The workshops will be about media literacy, journalism, technology, filming and collaborating with art collectives. Sounds fun, tho! I don’t know why, but Munich seems so far down the road… University will have started again by the time the festival starts. I don’t know how I’m going to deal with my professors because of absences, specifically the one teaching Educational Psychology. But, who am I to choose two theoretical classes over a week of dialogue and democracy and social cohesion? Exactly, I’ll survive one extra essay.
All in all, the project is supposed to (tightly) connect youth from 3 countries and to create dialogue about movies and current political topics. I would love to have you by my side here, we would have a great time. I don’t know any of the participants so far, so that should be fun.
I’ve only talked about what I’m going to do in this letter, as if nothing is happening right now, but, honestly, nothing much is happening, except that I can’t stop thinking about the possibility of making my own movie in the following months. Dunno what its theme will be, I could think about that.
I’ll be in Turkey for the next 10 days. I’m a bit nervous, but oh well. Not sure if I told you that Maria is texting me again? If not, now you know. She recommended a book to me, I don’t know which one, though. There’s also mention of her coming to Belgrade, but that’s too stressful for me to think about right now, it’s a future Vid problem.
I hope to go out for drinks at our caffe as soon as I get back. After all the drama ends, we should do some more research about these festivals. I think it would be a fun case study for the both of us. Tell me if you agree!
See you soon,
Belgrade has never been quieter.
It’s kind of a weird vibe at Beldocs. I mean, I don’t even know what kind of vibe to expect after everything that has happened lately with that school and the event in Mladenovac… At the university, everyone acts as if the whole thing should be mentalized and thought about what happened and how it happened, what are the causes and consequences. I think that now we should accept the situation as it is, go to Protests Against Violence and do everything possible to prevent such things from happening again, but I am very sad. I feel like the city has never been quieter. Little by little, it seems as if people have already forgotten all that and moved on, but for some reason they don’t stop being quiet. Beldocs almost failed to take place because of everything, I’m happy that it’s not…
I don’t remember if you were at the opening? I don’t think I saw you, you had lectures until late? It was a film about smallpox in Yugoslavia in 1972. It’s a film by Mladen Kovačević, I think it’s very well done in terms of cinematography. The movie had some really brutal scenes, for example when they showed footage of sick or just recovered people. I think it is wise that Zoran Radovanović was the narrator; the authority he had during the Covid times was still heard in his voice. Sorry, I assumed you knew what movie I’m talking about, it’s Another Spring.
I was running from screenings to lectures and from lectures to screenings and masterclasses and workshops, it was really intense. But the good thing is that the whole situation motivated me to study smart and to do well in the mid-term exam in Personality Psychology, which I told you would be perhaps the most difficult this semester. I had almost maximum points.
We watched a lot of movies, I don’t think I even remember them all. The ones that were most impressive to me and that I highly recommend to you are: Travis Wilkerson’s The Fuckee’s Hymn, André Bonzel’s Et j’aime à la fureur and Aleksandra Tatić and Eluned Zoe Aiano’s Floatation. However, I think that the film that attracted the most attention to the Connecting Futures group, was 20 Days in Mariupol by Mstyslav Chernov.
I don’t know why, but that film is somehow not a film for me. Although it is in the format in which a film should be, it has all the elements of a film, it seems more like a rather extended journalistic report accompanied by a story about one’s own family and rather manipulative music. I wouldn’t watch it again. It was amazing to me how many people from the project didn’t even know that such things were happening in Ukraine, and I don’t blame them, I often think that I wouldn’t like to know either. It was very interesting for me to observe how they reacted to how openly Russia is supported in Belgrade, although I was not comfortable with it. I think they all experienced a much bigger culture shock than they might have thought.
All in all, a film festival like this seems very strange. I believe there were a lot of factors that contributed to me not having the most relaxed time ever, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed that experience. I often felt like I was re-exploring some parts of the city. I think I saw some things I hadn’t seen before. My favorite moment was when we watched a movie in the Cinema of the Cultural Centre of Belgrade. I felt very good when at the entrance to the auditorium I just showed the Beldocs accreditation, said that I was with that international group and that I was here to show them my favorite cinema, the Cultural Centre of Belgrade cinema. To make it better, the movie we watched was very nice, it reminded me of La belle époque, from 2019, even though it’s a documentary, I had the same feeling of falling in love.
Whenever I think about the whole of Beldocs and everything that happened there, the word “balance” always comes to my mind. Maybe because the whole situation was really well balanced by the festival, so regardless of the situation we have a really good program and they really managed to avoid or, at worst, mitigate situations that could have been extremely unpleasant and I am very grateful for that.
To be totally honest, Ina, what annoyed me the most in this week was how I couldn’t get along with Maria. I told you that she would come at the end of June, and as much as I’m looking forward to it, I’m finding it very difficult to actually make time for it and for her. Maybe some things just don’t work? Or did I just have too many other things going on or was there something else? I don’t know, I’m not even sure I know what I want of that all. I just hope it will all be resolved soon and before the exam period.
Fun fact: I definitely thought about making a movie. I’m thinking of making it a documentary. I mean, maybe I’m just under the influence of the festival and all that energy. I would like to know what people think it means to be young?
What do you think about that? Maybe we could talk about it with Mateja and Jana when we meet. Have you met Jana? She’s very cool.
In a while crocodile.
I think I should stop reading existentialism during the summer.
I’m leaving Marseille soon, and I must admit that this is a truly peculiar city. I haven’t gone out much to the parties, but I watched the sunrise from my bedroom a few times. I went to two parties in total, last night, and the day before. The only song that’s been stuck in my head for the last three days has been Enchanted by Taylor Swift, the old one, not Taylor’s version.
Compared to my attitude in Belgrade, I was much more open to meeting people from the project here. When I actually got to know them, I was pleasantly surprised – they are so interesting! Still, I tried to be by myself most of the time (I didn’t manage to do that). I wanted to take a break from talking and discussing. The day before coming here I had a presentation of my research paper at uni, and for a while I wanted to never speak again.
I’ve seen 17 or 18 movies, but now that I think about the number, it doesn’t seem like it’s that much. Maybe I should’ve seen more? I’m not sure I wanted to do that. I often felt like fainting, even in the movie theater – you know me when the temperature rises above 30 degrees. I think that’s what distracted me from seeing more movies. Since I failed my Spanish exam (again), I decided to pay more attention to movies in Spanish. I tried to figure out if I actually can’t learn the language, or if I just have to sit down and finally learn the grammar. In conclusion: it’s the grammar.
With that in mind: how much do you know about Argentinian filmmaking and female contribution to it? The first Argentinian documentary saw the light of day in 1901. The period between the 1930s and 1950s is considered their golden age. Its movie industry is considered one of the three strongest ones in Latin America. Almost 80 years passed after the release of the first documentary before women were seriously taken and accepted in the industry, but you can google more about that.
I’m asking because I’ve seen Las Cosas Indefinidas by Maria Aparicio – an interesting movie. The story follows Eva – an editor, and her assistant with whom she’s working on a documentary about blind people. The story lies in the fact that Eva’s friend, whose movies she edited, died recently and unexpectedly. I can’t recall if she recovers her passion for movies and cinematography by the end, if she goes through all the stages of grief or if she ever finishes the movie. But I do remember feeling as if there was something familiar in that movie, as if I’ve already seen a very similar movie, almost the same.
During a masterclass I asked the director my standard question: What do you wish we learned from this movie? She gave me a smile and a long answer about the position of women in Argentinian cinematography. I think I wanted to hear that grief is a process and that it should be trusted, and that, even if things seem to be losing purpose, we should stay persistent. Or something like that. Or maybe I should just stop reading (about) existentialism during the summer, who knows.
That aside, a movie I’d like to watch again is An Evening Song. I’d say that it’s a movie about humans, sad ones. During most of the film I felt like I was dreaming. As if that’s “something that doesn’t happen”, or rather “something that doesn’t happen to us” (whoever “us” is). It was directed by Graham Swon, who originally graduated in the field of theatrical production and worked in movie distribution for a while. One of his most famous movies is The World is Full of Secrets, but I won’t tell you anything about it.
By the way, Marseille is the most important port city in France. A few days before my arrival here, mass protests were held due to police brutality. Apparently, a police officer killed a 17-year-old boy, and now questions about racism and justice are being raised. It seemed like a huge chaos on the news and it was evident that a lot had happened on the streets. I’m glad I avoided all of it. It seems that in every city connected to this project, there are political problems while the city is hosting, just before or just after it. I wonder what’s brewing in Munich?
I’ll spare you the festival history lesson, we went over that during our little case study. I bet that you’re more curious about Maria’s stay in Belgrade… As far as I’m concerned, the most important thing is that it’s done. While I was in Marseille, we got into a huge fight. Well, she got in a fight with me, I zoned out after the second sentence. Shame on me for not knowing the name and identification number of a restaurant I liked… If you ask me, the whole thing is gone for good. I’ll stop here, because, as we say it: say only the best about your ex. You’ll hear the spicy details in our café.
Oh, and, about my movie, I actually wrote the screenplay. I want it to follow three parallel stories: one world-wide, one European, and mine. That probably won’t be an easy message to convey through a documentary-animated movie, but it’s worth a shot. I’ll include some more people in the animation process. What do you think about animation in documentaries? Do you think it’s conceivable?
Until next time,