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Gradić Fest Is Over: Art Has Enlivened the Sleepy Lower Town

Last weekend, the Lower Town of the Petrovaradin Fortress was once again enlivened in a special way with the help of art, which attracted a big number of visitors to the baroque setting at the foot of the centuries-old ramparts, despite less than ideal weather conditions. The final evening of Gradić Fest was marked by performances of artists of various kinds and from various meridians, and, as usual, the dominant elements were – music and cinema.

The final, chilly evening in Beogradska Street, luckily without rain, started with the performance of the participants in the workshop “How to Be a Clown”, which was held under the mentorship of Jean Meningue, a world-renowned representative of this kind of performance art. A dozen local enthusiasts, future actors, dancers and performers, ready to put on heavy stage make-up and red noses, caused a big applause, especially among the youngest visitors to Gradić Fest. The same reaction was caused by the acrobatics on bicycles and stunts with fire during the performance of Canadian duo Les Dudes. Not far away from there, a young poet from Varaždin, Matko Abramić, sat behind a typing machine and wrote poems on the spot, giving them as a present to the curious visitors who challenged him by giving him one-word topics to write about.

What stood out among the music treats of the final evening of Gradić Fest was the frenzied ethno jazz performance of Akshani Project, and Dutch-Serbian duo Trance ‘n’ Dance’s innovative approach to trance music in the form of subtle electro music and the sounds of Aboriginal instrument digeridoo. What also attracted the visitors’ attention was the performance of the youngest participant in the festival, a musician from Tuzla, Childado, who performed next to the Saint George Church, as well as the performance of his colleague singer-songwriter from Novi Sad, Olivera Popović. Luke Black, a domestic and international rising star, shone on Rampin put Stage with his brilliant performance of vocal dark electro pop and sumptuous costumes, and so did Belgrade neo-pop band Hertz with the extraordinary frontman Aca Šišić. On Beogradska Stage, a high-quality sound and big attendance marked the performances of the headliners of the last evening: Mambo Stars, and the sound system which came to Petrovaradin with the leader of the domestic reggae movement, Hornsman Coyote. The main street of the Lower Town witnessed a great performance by Berlin band The Trouble Notes, whose ultra-temperamental acoustic ethno spectacle raised the adrenaline to an unexpected level and lasted until the last atom of strength of the thrilled, lucky members of the numerous audience was spent.

The cinema program of Cinema City started with the projections at Beogradska Indoor Cinema, where the audience had the opportunity to watch a film by director Predrag Jakšić, The Return, which thrilled the audience, a film by Nikola Spasić, Why Did Dragan Gather His Band, as well as a film by Tereza Nvotová, Filthy, and a film by Zoltan Bicskei, Álom hava.

At the location Nazorova Open Air Cinema, the evening started with a film from faraway Chile which speaks about the conspiracy theories and a personal struggle, Adriana’s Pact. After that, the audience enjoyed a comedy by Nikola Kojo, Herd, which portrays a film’s life behind the cameras.

Behind the Belgrade Gate, at the location Kapija Open Air Cinema, three films were shown. The first was The Last Family, by Jan P. Matuszynski. What followed after that, to the audience’s great pleasure, was a projection of Jim Jarmush’s film which has attracted a great world-wide interest, Gimme Danger, about a music legend, Iggy Pop. Those who remained until the end of the last evening of the festival, had the opportunity to watch Bolivian director Kiro Russo’s film Dark Skull, which tells the story of a young man and his internal struggle in harsh conditions in Bolivia.

At the location Rampin put Open Air Cinema, the audience had the opportunity to watch films from the category “Up to 10, 000 Bucks”. Also, at the same location, there was the premiere of Mihajlo Obrenov’s film Contact, which tells the story of Novi Sad’s music subculture of the last 20 years, with as many as 140 interviewees.

The Young Jury, who watched all the films from the category “Up to 10, 000 Bucks” during all three days of the featival, at the location Rampin put Open Air Cinema, made their final decision and awarded Scottish director Eric Romero’s short film Lethe with the Young Jury’s award. The jury also agreed that two more films had made a special impression: I Saw You, from South Korea, and Farul, by Romanian director Ionut Gaga. The audience who voted for the best film decided that this year’s winner was Nikola Spasić’s film Why Did Dragan Gather His Band.


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