The grand opening ceremony of the International Film and Music Festival Kustendorf 2011 kicked off with an unusual performance. On the blow-up film screen, which was set up in the open air in the center of Drvengrad, scenes from the famous Federico Fellini movie, Amarcord, were shown, and were accompanied by live music of the No Smoking Orchestra. Suddenly, the musicians were chased away from the stage by a bear, who was left alone in front of the giant screen to watch the movie in peace. After the movie, the sky was shattered by the marvelous fireworks. The bear, aka the frontman of the band No Smoking Orchestra, Nele Karajlic dressed up as a bear, asked the gathered visitors to “get on board the train” which would lead them to the Damned Yard Theatre. Followed by the brass instrument orchestra of Dejan Petrovic and the No Smoking Orchestra, the guests of the festival, while holding each other’s shoulders, created a train with which they headed towards the auditorium in which the program of the opening of the festival would continue.
The official part of the program began with the opening words of the actress and official speaker, Milica Predic, who, in the name of the festival’s organizers, thanked the guests and visitors of Kustendorf, announcing the Minister of Culture for the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Nebojsa Bradic and the festival’s founder, Mr. Emir Kusturica. Mr. Bradic declared his delight that his ministry has the opportunity to, for the fourth consecutive year, support such a festival, which is the meeting point for young filmmakers and acclaimed directors, and which is fully dedicated to art, movies, and music. Emir Kusturica and Minister Bradic emphasized that the House of Writers is opening in Drvengrad; this house is primarily dedicated to screenwriters who will, inspired by the ambience in which they are creating and the creative energy, compose good and original works. Mentioning that 2011 is the year of Ivo Andric, Minister Bradic reminded the audience that this great author found inspiration for his most prominent work, Bridge Over the River Drina, in this area, just thirty kilometers from Drvengrad.
After the address from the founder of Kustendorf, Emir Kusturica and the Minister of Culture, Nebojsa Bradic, a short film was screened, a unique homage to Abbas Kiarostami. Scenes from movies that this famous Iranian film director directed were shown on the silver screen while the group Vrelo with the musical accompaniment of the jazz ensemble “Unit 5” performed the Louis Armstrong song “St. James Infirmary”.
While decorating Abbas Kiarostami with the “Award for Future Movies”, Emir Kusturica stated
- I am happy that the acclaimed director Abbas Kiarostami is a guest at our festival. I greatly respect his work, his profound form, and the poetry of his movies; the unique award for the lifetime achievement which I am giving to him is inspired by his movie Through the Olive Trees which I particularly love.
Visibly excited and touched by the hommage and the thunderous applause of the audience, receiving the award, a carved olive tree, Abbas Kiarostami expressed his thanks for the invitation to Kustendorf and the warm welcome
- It is an honor to be a guest of Kustendorf and Emir Kusturica, who I met twenty years ago on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet. I am glad that we are now meeting here, on the white carpet, a carpet covered with snow.” He then went on to explain that, “Mr. Kusturica is more popular than I am in my country, and his movies are sold very well on the black market which further confirms this claim.
After the opening ceremony, a movie from the Contemporary Trends Programme, Czech Peace, by the young Czech directors Filip Remunda and Vit Klusak, was shown. Following the screening of the movie, the director Filip Remunda held a workshop.