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ONCE UPON A TIME IN LONDON

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

Original Article Elevate Air Serbia


For the second consecutive year, the Southeast European Future Festival (SEFF), which

is held at the Rich Mix community arts hub in London, presented a selection of prominent

artists from the region, with a particular focus on documentary film and women’s

documentary photography. The festival is organised by the Contemporary Balkan

Art platform and aims to promote contemporary directors, photographers and creative

individuals from Southeast Europe.



The festival enabled visitor to the Mezzanine Gallery in the Shoreditch district of

East London to check out the exhibition Perspectives: Photography Storytelling. The

works of 15 eminent photographers – including Boryana Katsarova, Sanja Knežević,

Glorija Lizde, Lazara Marinković, Mia Novakova, Senja Vild and Marcella Zanki – testify

to the notion that photography can serve as a great driver. Issues of identity and human

nature are contextualised through fashion and theatre photography, as well as

landscape scenes and photojournalism. In terms of the selection of works, participants

were expected to present personal stories characterised by a strong documentary motif,

thus providing something that could carry viewers and convey them to the ambience

of the photographic world. The idea was to bring the reality of life in the Balkans

closer to the average Londoner.

The documentary approach was completed with the screening of films such as 'IKEA for

YU' by Croatian director Marija Ratković Vidaković and 'Occupied Cinema' by Belgrade-based Senka Domanović, who was the winner of the main award at the March Festival. The continuation of the programme saw the audience attend a panel discussion entitled ‘What is Yugoslavia to you?’, which included the participation of writers Vesna Goldsworthy and Olivia Sudjic, director Marija Ratković Vidaković and University of Glasgow professor Vladimir Unkovski-Korica.

The panellists agreed that we primarily form our ideas of Yugoslavia based on the stories

of our parents, but the question is what we really want to convey of that to our descendants.

The panellists also touched on different layers of identity, with writer Goldsworthy saying

that she is both Serbian and Yugoslav, as well as British. As she explained, during family dinners she always comes across different characters who have contrasting political understandings, which lead to her having at least two different opinions in her mind at the same time!


The evening hours saw the screening of Mladen Matičević’s film 'Heavenly Theme', about

the life and works of Yugoslav golden boy Vlada Divljan, with the film simultaneously entertaining, delighting and saddening the audience. The following day saw visitors to Rich Mix watched American director Robert Adanto’s film Born Just Now, about Serbian performance artist Marta Jovanović. It emphasises the importance of the stories we care about and can identify with, whether that’s the story of Granny Skojevka Minka, who does not renounce Tito, the fascinating photographs of the Kolo Ensemble, feminism, or refugee stories.



The panel discussion was followed by a screening of the film 'Naked' by Croatian director Tiha Gudac – respresenting an emotional family story about the lives and destinies of a group of people from Goli Otok [Naked Island], the Yugoslav island prison for political dissidents.

The SEFF culminated with a screening of 'Honeyland', co-directed by Tamara Kotevska

and Ljubomir Stefanov. This film follows the tough life of a woman in North Macedonia

who makes honey according to ancient methods. The festival ended with a thunderous

round of applause, while the magical energy created around the talented

world at Rich Mix certainly represents an additional incentive to start working on the programme for next spring.

Those heading to London this autumn and winter will have an opportunity to enjoy

great exhibitions, two of which – at the old and new Tate – stand out. While the first is about

William Blake, the wonderful creator of horror, the second exhibition is by Danish-Icelandic

artist Olafur Eliasson, who creates an artistic ‘space’ in which his installations and sculptures

impact on all of our senses. It’s nice to travel to different worlds. See you in London.


Priča o jednom festivalu u Londonu

Drugu godinu za redom Southeast European Future Festival (SEFF), koji se održava u londonskom kulturnom centru Rich Mix, je predstavio selekciju istaknutih umetnika iz regiona, sa posebnim fokusom na dokumentarni film i žensku dokumentarnu fotografiju. Festival organizuje platforma Contemporary Balkan Art sa ciljem promocije savremenih reditelja, fotografa i kreativaca iz jugoistočne Evrope.

Tokom festivala, u galeriji Mezzanine u kvartu Shoreditch posetioci su mogli da vide izložbu Perspectives: Photography Storytelling u trajanju od 29. avgusta do 15. septembra. Radovi petnaest eminentnih fotografkinja kao što su Boryana Katsarova, Sanja Knežević, Glorija Lizde, Lazara Marinković, Mia Novakova, Senja Vild i Marcella Zanki, svedoče da fotografija može poslužiti kao veliki pokretač. Pitanja identiteta i ljudske prirode su kontekstualizovana kroz modnu i pozorišnu fotografiju kao i pejzažne prizore i fotožurnalistiku. U smislu selekcije radova, od učesnika se očekivalo kako da prikažu lične priče koje karakteriše jak dokumentarni motiv, tako i da ponude nešto što može da ponese gledaoca i prenese ga u ambijent fotografskog sveta. Ideja je bila da se stvarnost života na Balkanu približi prosečnom londonskom stanovniku.

Dokumentarni pristup je upotpunjen projekcijom filmova poput IKEA for YU hrvatske rediteljke Marije Ratković Vidaković i Okupirani bioskop Senke Domanović iz Beograda, dobitnice glavne nagrade na Martovskom festivalu. U nastavku programa, publika je prisustvovala panel diskusiji ‘Šta je tebi Jugoslavija?’ u kojoj su učestvovale književnice Vesna Goldsvorti i Olivia Sudjić, rediteljka Ratković Vidaković i profesor Vladimir Unkovski-Korica sa Glazgovskog univeziteta. Panel se složio da ideju o Jugoslaviji prvenstveno kreiramo na osnovu priče naših roditelja ali pitanje je šta zaista želimo da od toga prenesemo svojim potomcima. Olivija Sudjić trenutno piše roman o ženi koja živi u Londonu ali je poreklom sa Balkana, koju Bregzit i izlazak Velike Britanije iz Evropske unije podseća na raspad Jugoslavije, barem u emotivnom smislu. Profesor Unkovski-Korica je istakao da su mnogi odlučili da zaborave Jugoslaviju kada su otišli iz zemlje, a on je, nakon preseljenja u Zimbabve sa porodicom, počeo intenzivno da razmišlja o toj zemlji i možda je baš to razlog zašto je postao istoričar. Panelisti su se takodje dotakli različitih slojeva identiteta, pa je tako književnica Goldsvorti za sebe rekla da je i Srpkinja i Jugoslovenka, kao i Britanka. Tokom porodičnih večera, kako je objasnila, uvek se tu nadju različiti karakteri koji imaju različita politička shvatanja, tako da i ona u svojoj glavi ima bar dva različita mišljenja u isto vreme! Stvari se menjaju, Vesna je dodala, pa se tako i njen sin pridružio Ex-YU društvu na njegovom univerzitetu jer su tamo cool deca, hrana je odlična a i devojke su interesantne.


U večernjem terminu je prikazan film Mladena Matičevića Nebeska tema o životu i stvaralaštvu zlatnog dečka Jugoslavije Vlade Divljana, film koji je istovremeno zabavio, oduševio i rastužio publiku. Sledećeg dana posetioci Rich Mixa su gledali ostvarenje Born Just Now američkog reditelja Roberta Adanta, film o srpskoj umetnici performansa Marti Jovanović. Nakon projekcije, profesorka pozorišta i performansa Duška Radosavljević sa Londonske Skole za Dramu razgovarala je sa grupom fotografkinja čiji su radovi izloženi u galeriji Mezzanine, Imranom Kapetanović i Dijana Muminović iz Bosne, Marijom Janković iz Srbije i Katjom Goljat iz Slovenije. One su se zajedno osvrnule na to koliko je važno potencirati priče do kojih nam je stalo i sa kojima se možemo identifikovati, bilo da je to priča o baki Skojevki Minki koja se ne odriče Tita, fascinantnim fotografijama Ansambla Kolo, feminizmu ili priče o izbeglicama. Nakon panela je prikazan film Goli rediteljke Tihe Gudac – emotivna porodična priča o životima i sudbinama grupe ljudi sa Golog otoka.

SEFF je zatvorio Honeyland u režiji Tamare Kotevske i Ljubomira Stefanova. Ovaj film prati nimalo lak život žene koja starinskim metodama pravi med u severnoj Makedoniji. Festival je završen burnim aplauzom i magična energija koja se stvorila oko kvalitetnog i talentovanog sveta u Rich Mixu svakako predstavlja dodatni podsticaj da počnemo rad na programu za sledeće proleće. Oni koji se zapute u London ove jeseni i zime imaće prilike da uživaju u sjajnim izložbama, od koje se izdvajaju dve, jedna u starom a druga u novom Tejtu. Dok je prva o Vilijamu Blejku, čudotvorcu lepote užasa, druga izložba je dansko-islandskog umetnika Olafura Eliasona koji stvara umetnički ‘prostor’ u kojem njegove instalacije i skulpture utiču na sva naša čula. Lepo je putovati u različite svetove.


#London #SEEFF #Beograd #Photography #Balkan #Storytelling #documentary

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