The visitors were welcomed by the director of Bitef, Miloš Latinović, who thanked the hosts for their hospitality, but also the media, for providing great support to the festival and for being an indispensable part of Bitef's charm. Producer Ksenija Đurović explained why the number of domestic performances in the Bitef main programme is again notable this year.
"It is very important for us to continue to develop the emancipatory potential of Bitef in the local community, therefore we have three local plays in the main programme". "We would like to properly support what echoes as Bitef, what Bitef is", added Đurović. "By now, Bitef has become an adjective in its own right, and today we all know very well what it means if a performance is described as Bitef-like."
That is exactly what Igor Koruga's performance "Desire to Make Solid History Will End Up in Failure" is like. It has brought together the pioneers of the local independent dance scene Nela Antonović, Anđelija Todorović, Jelena Jović, Tatjana Pajović, Boris Čakširan, and Sanja Krsmanović Tasić. Produced by the Service Station for Contemporary Dance, this performance takes the audience through several decades of their dance careers, deals with the position of contemporary dance and questions its sustainability over the last four decades.
"When you have a functioning infrastructure, I was interested in how dance is maintained, through what kinds of institutions, institutional support, through what kind of working conditions," said Koruga. "And then, when the infrastructure crumbles, i.e. in a war, how do you position yourself as an artist in those circumstances and political changes? What positions do you take, who do you support and who you don't, and why? And finally, when a better, promising future comes after the war, how do you survive in those circumstances with the practice in the world of the new social order."
After two premiere performances in April, the audience will be able to see it again at this year's Bitef, on October 6th at 6 p.m. in the Bitef Theater.
On the same day, starting at 8 p.m., Bitef audiences will have the opportunity to see the play "All Adventurous Women Do" produced by the Atelje 212 Theater. The play by Tanja Šljivar, directed by Selma Spahić, is inspired by the story of seven thirteen-year-old girls who fell pregnant on a school excursion.
The dramaturg of the performance, Dimitrije Kokanov, spoke on behalf of the entire team when he said that everyone was glad that their work was recognized and selected. According to him, participation in this festival came as a confirmation of their effort to question in Atelier 212 what drama theatre is and what it could be.
"This is one of the most performed domestic pieces in Europe and the world, but it has never been produced in our country until now. With the play, we questioned the performance framework in the drama theatre, as well as the issue of representation," said Kokanov. He reminded the journalists that the roles of girls are played by adult actresses, as well as actors. "Thus, this piece, as well as Selma Spahić's performance, served us as a training ground for research, but they also initiated an important dialogue and discussion."
STRENGTH, DON'T LET YOURSELF BE ANYONE'S
After this presentation, the conference table turned into a dining table, and Nenad Gladić, better known as the famous TV chef Lepi Brka took over. In accordance with this year's slogan of the festival " Strength, Don't Let Yourself Be Anyone's", he demonstrated to the journalists how to prepare a special proja (cornbread), which gave strength to the Balkan peoples.
The gathering in this heavenly environment continued with lunch and refreshments, after which Bitef's press caravan headed to Pranjani, to the Prodanović Distillery. While the visitors were tasting the premium plum and pear brandy, the owner of this distillery, Milutin Prodanović, revealed that he was particularly pleased that the slogan of this year's festival was chosen to be the verse of the young poet Radmila Petrović, who grew up in that part of Serbia and who speaks with zest and inspiration about her life in the countryside.
The trip ended in Takovo, the famous place where Miloš Obrenović started the Second Serbian Uprising. For this occasion, journalists visited the Museum of the Second Serbian Uprising, ourism expert Nikola Petaković took the whole team on a tour of the log cabin church built from wood in 1795. It was from that place that Miloš Obrenović announced to the people that he was starting a new battle against the Turks.
The festival is traditionally supported by the Secretariat for Culture of the City of Belgrade and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia, as well as the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, the Goethe Institute, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Embassy of Greece. New Moment New Ideas Company, the festival's creative agency, is a partner and friend of Bitef. Festival partners this year are Generali Insurance Serbia, Erste Bank a.d. Novi Sad, as well as the friends of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Serbia festival, 1664 Blanc and Somersby, Rajićeva Shopping Center, Alma Quattro, Info Media Group, Acibadem Bel Medic, the programme "Every Can Counts", Vulkan Publishing as well as Hello Creative team.