The first media conference for the 56th edition of BITEF, which will be held 23 September to 2 October 2022, was held in Belgrade. The main programme of the festival will present nine productions from Germany, Belgium, Mexico, France, Serbia, Slovenia, and Great Britain.
The thematic focus of the festival, held under the slogan “We - The Heroes of Our Own Labour”, will address the issue of labour in contemporary society: loss of employment, precarious work, the labour market in the wake of the pandemic, professional requalification, etc. Performances that address the issue of labour in performance art will represent a special cluster.
In line with the thematic line, the aesthetic line also addresses the labour phenomenon; specifically, it is reduced to different forms of dehierarchisation, and democratisation of the creative process. This is especially prominent in devised theatre, where everyone is a creator of the performance, including the performers themselves, equal co-authors from the very beginning of the process, inputting their own personal content as material for the concept.
The media conference, which was held at Belgrade City Hall, was addressed by Bitef Theatre Director Miloš Latinović, Bitef Art Director Ivan Medenica, City of Belgrade Secretary of Culture Ivan Karl, Assistant Minister for Contemporary Creation with the Serbian Ministry of Culture and Information Radovan Jokić, and I&F Group vice-president Vanda Kučera.
In opening the media conference, Bitef Director Miloš Latinović thanked the founder of the festival, the City of Belgrade, the Serbian Ministry of Culture and Information, as well as numerous sponsors, without whom Bitef would not be what it is.
City of Belgrade Secretary of Culture Ivan Karl spoke about the autonomy of the Bitef Festival, in regard to the institutions of the City of Belgrade. He pointed out that this autonomy never causes concern, but rather curiosity regarding the concept of Bitef, which is always fresh and innovative in the European and global scope.
Bitef Art Director Ivan Medenica presented the concept and productions that are part of the main programme. Speaking about the theme of the festival, he pointed out that the issue of labour is closely linked to all the problems that we have been facing lately, whether linked to the pandemic or wars. Medenica added that this year the Belgrade audience will be presented performances by some of the most significant names in European and global theatre, such as Katie Mitchell, Alexander Zeldin, and Jan Martens. A particularity of the 56th Bitef is that all the authors (not including local authors) will be coming to Belgrade for the first time.
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Information, Radovan Jokić referred to Bitef as a space for cultural exceptionality, and artistic and social dynamism, due to which the Ministry’s continuous support of the festival is the only logical move.
Vanda Kučera, spoke on behalf of I&F Group, which is the festival’s partner for the fifth year in a row, and presented the visual identity, which was devised by the McCann agency, part of I&F Group. Bitef’s visual identity was chosen in an internal competition among all the McCann agencies within the I&F Group, which operates across Southeast Europe.
The winning solution was created by Erjeta Murrja, a young designer from Albania, while the creative process was headed by Flonia Vasia, McCann Tirana Creative Director.
“The slogan immediately inspired me, and the whole idea started from my personal experience. My mom is a hairdresser, and I was inspired by the fact that she works hard and still loves her work. Even in the simplest human story, you find inspiration from their strength and resilience, and how they overcome all odds”, graphic designer Erjeta Murrja said in her message. “And this is the strength that I wanted to convey in the visual. It represents in a symbolic way that despite all the difficulties we face, we always find the strength to move forward. Pliers symbolize a force majeure which is driven by the system or even by unavoidable circumstances that create challenges and difficult situations which often lead to obstacles.”
The festival is traditionally supported by the City of Belgrade Secretariat for Culture and the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, the Goethe Institute, the British Council and the Institut Français in Belgrade. I&F Group, which the festival’s creative agency McCann Belgrade is part of, is once again the partner and friend of the Bitef festival. The Posta Srbije company is a sponsor of the festival this year.