Gradić Fest started with an evening full of art
The Lower Town of Petrovaradin is wide awake again thanks to Gradić Fest, which started on Friday September 1st with rich and varied art program at all of the festival’s points. More than 20, 000 inhabitants of Novi Sad and visitors from other places joined the ceremonial parade and Swiss Flaach Brass Band in the early evening hours, when they carried together the birds of peace to the Lower Town of the Petrovaradin Fortress, where they remained till the end of the first day of the festival.
The music segment of the festival’s program has gathered numerous unusual bands and solo artists from Serbia, the region, and other meridians, as it is the festival’s tradition, and their variety communicated with the visitors, who were more than interested in this kind of entertainment. The show to remember was the show of the local star Bojana Vunturišević, who performed on the stage next to the Belgrade Gate, and who easily found her way to the hearts and minds of the visitors with her excellent mix of pop electro music, honest and raw poetry and MKDSL beat. The American culture arrived in Gradić with Christopher Paul Stelling, a travelling folk musician, and his band, who demonstrated their fantastic skills on acoustic instruments while poetically singing about everyday life, which was appreciated by numerous fans of Americana and country music. The Trouble Notes, street musicians from Berlin, virtuosos with an excellent sense of humor and great feeling for stage performance, were equally appealing, and even more spontaneous in their communication with the audience. Renzo Ruggiero performed on the same stage, next to the church in Štrosmajerova Street, and his performance on medieval instruments santur and nyckelharpa took the visitors on a journey into the music past. Toni Pezzanov, a bandoneon master, and Gong Master Dolph, who both performed before Ruggiero, treated the audience with a similar, rustic sound delight.
The local music forces “occupied” the attractive stage on the path Rampin put, at the foot of the “drunk” clock, where the most interesting performance was the performance of keyboardist Sergio Lounge, a rising Belgrade star, accompanied by his excellent band. Local band UV and band Buč Kesidi from Pančevo, two young bands on the rise, also gave excellent performances. The first evening at Pop Up point, discreetly lit by vintage decorative lamps, was marked by a DJ and VJ spectacle, and the point was full of very satisfied fans of modern electro music and vintage approach to entertainment, which is what Brica and his crew excel at. On the other side of the venue, The Walk of Senses, the unforgettable tour of the underground passageways of the Petrovaradin Fortress organized by the Association Ugrip, was so in demand that more than 400 visitors were put on the waiting list.
Just before the opening of the program of international film festival Cinema City, which is this year a part of Gradić Fest and is celebrating its 10th anniversary, there was a media conference, where the representatives of all organizations participating in the realization of the festival were present. The director of the Street Musicians Festival, Natali Beljanski Popović, spoke about the joint mission of all the partner organizations, whose goal is to enable all the visitors to identify themselves through high-quality, varied art program with the Lower Town and its old baroque architecture, which is gradually waking up and becoming an appealing quarter for living, working and tourist visits. The importance of Gradić Fest for Novi Sad was also pointed out by Dalibor Rožić, who is a member of the City Council for Culture, who said that this festival fits into the strategy for the decentralization of culture, and that the city recognized the initiative from the start and has been helping both the organization and the Lower Town itself, where 45 facades have already been renovated. According to Bojana Karavidić, from the Association Suburbium from Petrovaradin, the relocation of the Street Musicians Festival to the other bank of the Danube and the birth of Gradić Fest are as important to the inhabitants of this quarter as the first Moon landing, because they represent a big opportunity for the Lower Town’s revitalization and can lead to permanent closure of traffic in the streets of the Lower Town, which would then start living a different, much more relaxed and appealing life than it does now.
The cinema program of the festival and the ceremonial opening of Gradić Fest took place at the point Kapija Open Air Cinema, which is located behind the Belgrade Gate, where the representatives of Cinema City presented Mirjana Karanović and Miodrag Miša Milošević with the IBIS awards for their special contribution to domestic cinematography.
After the awards were given, the festival’s program at that location started with a film from the category “National Class”, Rekvijem za gospođu J (Requiem for Ms. J), the second film of director Bojan Vuletić, a satirical drama which is this year’s candidate for the European Film Academy award. After that, the audience enjoyed a film by Icelandic director Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson, Hartston. This film has been highly praised at numerous international film festivals.
The second open air cinema, Nazorova Open Air Cinema, is located in the baroque ambience of Vladimira Nazora Street, on the left side of the Lower Town. Last night the visitors could watch two excellent films from the region at this location. A satirical comedy by Ivan Marinović, Igla ispod praga (The Black Pin), and a film by Hana Jušić, Ne gledaj mi u pijat (Don’t Look in My Plate), which has received 19 awards, including the award of Belgrade FEST and the award of the European Film Festival Palić.
At the location Rampin put Open Air Cinema, the audience could watch 13 films from the category “Up to 10, 000 Bucks”, films whose authors were brave enough to venture into making a film with a budget under 10, 000 dollars.
At the only indoor location, Beogradska Indoor Cinema, located in a closed space on the corner of Beogradska Street and Lisinskog Street, film projections started at 6 p.m. The program at this location started with a projection of the second film by Tamara Drakulić, Vetar (Wind). After this projection the audience could watch a film by Stefan Malešević, Gora (Mountain), which shows cultural treasures in the isolated regions of Šar Planina Mountain. After the projection of Gora, the audience could watch two more films, Svi severni gradovi (All the Northern Cities), by director Dane Komljen, and Najvažniji dečko na svetu (The Most Important Boy in the World), by director Tea Lukač.