Geling Yan is one of the most acclaimed contemporary novelists and screenwriters writing in the Chinese language today and a well-established writer in English. Born in Shanghai, she served with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) during the Cultural Revolution, starting at age 12 as a dancer in an entertainment troupe.
After serving for over a decade with the PLA (including tours in Tibet and as a war correspondent during the Sino-Vietnam border conflict), Geling Yan was discharged with a rank equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel. She published her first novel in 1985 and ever since has produced a steady stream of novels, short stories, novellas, essays and scripts. Her best-known novels in English are Little Aunt Crane, The Flowers of War, The Banquet Bug (written directly in English), and The Lost Daughter of Happiness. She has also published a novella and short story collection called White Snake and Other Stories.
Several of Geling Yan’s works have been adapted for film, including internationally distributed films XiuXiu: The Sent-Down Girl directed by Joan Chen, and Siao Yu directed by Sylvia Chang, with script co-written by Ang Lee. Chinese director Zhang Yimou made The Flowers of War, a big-budget film based on her work set during the 1937 Rape of Nanking, and Coming Home, based on her novel The Criminal Lu Yanshi. She has also written numerous scripts based on her own and other authors’ work, both in English and Chinese, including a script for a biopic on the iconic Peking opera star Mei Lanfang for director Chen Kaige Forever Enthralled. Additionally, she wrote the script for Dangerous Liaisons , a Chinese-language film directed by South Korean director Hur Jin-ho.
Geling Yan is affiliated with both the Chinese Writers’ Association of the People’s Republic of China and Hollywood’s Writers’ Guild of America.
Geling Yan went to the United States at the end of 1989 for graduate study. She holds a bachelor’s degree in literature from Wuhan University and a Master’s in Fine Arts in Fiction Writing from Columbia College, Chicago. To date she has published over 20 books in various editions in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the US, the UK and elsewhere, she has won over 30 literary and film awards, and has had her work adapted or written scripts for over a dozen film, TV and radio works. Her works have been translated into fifteen languages: Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese, and her English-language novel The Banquet Bug/The Uninvited was translated into Chinese. She currently lives in Berlin, Germany, and travels frequently to China.
Christian Valsamidis specializes in intellectual property law and banking law specifically in the entertainment industry. He runs the Entertainment Law Department at Taylor Wessing in Paris and represents both national or international companies in the entertainment industry, such as producers, distributors, institutional or financial organisations, as well as directors, authors or actors. His extensive experience in international film financing has lead him to be considered as one of the French specialists of the international co-production, distribution, or sale and leaseback transactions. After having graduated from University of Paris in 1988 with a D.E.S.S. de Droit de la communication audiovisuelle and a D.E.A. d’Economie du Cinéma, Christian founded his own law firm in Paris in 1992. In 2001, he joined an important international law firm in order to create the Entertainment Law Department. In 2003 he took part in the creation of Taylor Wessing Paris where he runs a team of eight associates all specialised in entertainment law. Christian takes part in numerous conferences and gives lectures in Cinema Economy at the Institute of Political Studies of Paris and the Sorbonne University.
Nikola Ležaić was born in 1981, he is a film writer, director and producer based in Belgrade, Serbia. He graduated in Film Directing from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. His directorial debut Tilva Roš premiered in Sarajevo. It was also screened in Locarno, Rotterdam, Warsaw, Miami, San Francisco and at over 40 other festivals, and won over 20 awards around the world. It was nominated for the best debut at 2011 EFA Awards. In 2014, Nikola produced The Disobedient, a feature film premiered at Sundance Festival. He also directed over one hundred music and commercial videos. Nikola is interested in off-topic stories that do not fit anywhere.
Michel Amathieu, director of photography, was born in 1955 in Crevecœur-en-Auge, France. He studied mathematics, obtaining a master’s degree in this field and practiced photography as a hobby. He taught mathematics in high school for two years before joining the evening classes at Louis Lumière film school and devoting himself to the art of cinematography. He worked on a number of short and feature films, before Dobermann (1996), directed by Jan Kounen, attracted the attention of public to his work. There came a noted thriller Cousin (1997) directed by Alain Corneau, and I love L.A. (1998), by Mika Kaurismäki, in a slightly different vein. Michel Amathieu was then called to replace Thierry Arbogast at the end of Black Cat, White Cat (1998) shooting because of the delays: Thierry had engagements elsewhere. Since then, Michel followed Emir Kusturica on the No Smoking Orchestra tour, and took part in Super 8 Stories (2001). He came back to Serbia to work on Life is a Miracle (2003). More recently, Michel has worked as a Director of Photography on Volker Schlöndorff’s Diplomacy (2014) and Agnieska Holland’s Rosemary’s baby (2014). Beside his work on films, Michael Amathieu was a cinematographer on a number of commercials and TV series.
István Borbás was born in 1954 in Budapest, Hungary. The Swedish commercial and feature film cinematographer began his work with Roy Andersson in 1984. During the past 30 years that he has spent at Studio 24, they have created countless commercials and films of different lengths, from 15 seconds to 2 hours. He has also participated in the creation and shaping of books, exhibitions, commercial and billboard campaigns. All of these projects have had the ambition to portray human joy, sorrows and vulnerability in environments and situations we can all identify with. If shown in a specific way, even the most trivial situation (space, light, characters) can succeed in giving us a very precise description of human existence.
Most of these projects have received much attention both in Sweden and internationally. This confirms that it is possible and important to use images to influence our conditions in life and our view on existence. His most recent work with Roy Andersson, A Pigeon sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence received the Golden Lion at the 2014 Venice Film Festival.
The Tenth International Film and Music Festival Küstendorf is held on 14-19 January, 2017 in Drvengrad on Mokra Gora. The Festival is organized by the production company Rasta International under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, town Mećavnik and The No Smoking Orchestra. As in the previous years, Küstendorf is dedicated to emerging filmmakers and the greats of world auteur film.
COMPETITION PROGRAMME – The Competition Programme of the Tenth International Film and Music Festival Küstendorf includes twenty two films by local and foreign authors. Films by young directors from Bulgaria, Denmark, Israel, Iran, Lebanon, Hungary, Moldova, Nepal, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Republika Srpska, Serbia, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Montenegro, Chile, Switzerland and the Philippines are competing for the festival awards – Golden, Silver and Bronze Egg. International jury members include Geling Yan, writer and screenwriter, Christian Valsamidis, expert in entertainment industry law and cinema economy, and Nikola Ležaić, director. The Vilko Filač award for best photography will be awarded by István Borbás and Michel Amathieu, directors of photography.
CONTEMPORARY TRENDS show some of the best films from the previous year. These films will be presented by their authors – festival guests – at workshops following film screenings. This Küstendorf will show The Woman Who Left directed by Lav Diaz; In Bed with Victoria directed by Justine Triet and represented at the Festival by actress Virginie Efira; Flowers of Evil by Finnish director Antti Jokinen, awarded Best Director at the Shanghai Film Festival; De Lan, winner of the Shanghai Film Festival and directed by Liu Jie; and Soul on a String directed by Zhang Yang. Also, On the Milky Road, the latest film by the Festival’s founder, director Emir Kusturica, will be shown at this Festival.
NEW AUTHORS – This Küstendorf programme brings visitors and guests feature films by young authors awarded or nominated at international film festivals. In the previous years, these authors and their short films took part in the Competition Programme at Küstendorf. Director Eliza Petkova competed at last year’s Küstendorf, and this year she returns with her feature film Zhaleika awarded the Grand Prix of the Generation 14plus International Jury at the Berlin Film Festival. The New Authors Programme will show All the Cities of the North directed by award-winning young director Dane Komljen; Old Stone, awarded at film festivals in Stockholm and Toronto and directed by Johnny Ma; and Indivisible by Italian director Edoardo De Angelis, winner of four recognitions at the Venice Film Festival.
RETROSPECTIVE OF GREATNESS – This year’s retrospective is dedicated to screenwriter Gordan Mihić, whose work has left a great mark on Serbian cinematography. This programme will show films When I am Dead and Gone and The Rats Woke Up by Živojin Pavlović; Crows, directed by Gordan Mihić and Ljubiša Kozomara, Mechanism by Đorđe Milosavljević and Emir Kusturica’s Black Cat, White Cat. Also, this programme includes films by Lav Diaz, who is a special guest of this year’s Küstendorf.
MUSIC PROGRAMME – Every night after the screenings and the workshops, different bands add flavour to the praised Küstendorf night life. On the first night of the Festival, good atmosphere will be created by Emir Kusturica and The No Smoking Orchestra, Adam Stinga and Novi Sad Big Band. The Music Programme also features renowned blues-jazz guitar player Ana Popović, Serbian rock band Van Gogh, and Argentinean-Columbian ska punk band Che Sudaka.
International Film and Music Festival Küstendorf is one of the few festivals creating opportunities everywhere for the exchange of energy between the emerging and the experienced artists, at the same time welcoming acclaimed authors, actors and musicians, numerous young filmmakers and film school students from around the world, and other eminent guests from the world of film.
Mećavnik can be reached from three different directions: from Belgrade, from Višegrad, or from Zlatibor.
From Belgrade, there are multiple routes. From Belgrade, the most frequent route is taking national road M22 to Preljina, and then taking road M5 through Čačak, Požega, and Užice. From Užice, follow E761 through Kremna. At the tenth kilometer after Kremna, there is a sign on the right-hand side to turn for Mećavnik where Drvengrad is located. The second way to travel from Belgrade is through Valjevo, Bajina Bašta, and Kremna, and then to continue as previously explained.
From the west of the Balkans, take the M5 highway across the national border. The turn for Drvengrad will then be on the left-hand side of the road. From the south of the Balkans, travel through Zlatibor, following E761 and E763.
From the Belgrade bus station, there are several daily departures for Višegrad. In this case, the passenger should tell the driver in advance to stop at Mokra Gora railway station as this is not one of the regular stops.
The Kustendorf International Film and Music Festival was founded in 2008 with the idea to bring together the icons of contemporary author’s cinema and young, future filmmakers. The festival takes place every year in January in Drvengrad in Mokra Gora, organized by “Rasta International” and under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia. The founder of this unique film and music festival is celebrated film director Emir Kusturica.
Kustendorf is a unique festival, without red carpet, billboards and advertisements, fully devoted to film, music, friendships and exchange of creative ideas and energy.
Drvengrad, the town made of wood, is the center of all festival happenings. It is a place where films are screened, concerts performed, where people meet, make friends, fall in love, work, learn, rest, sleep, eat, think and enjoy. Like any other town, Drvengrad has a central square with the church of St. Sava, a library, an art gallery, a market, a kindergarten, a “prison”, a swimming pool, a sauna, a hair salon, a pastry shop, a grocery shop, a sports area, cinemas, restaurants and many other facilities that make the visit to the Festival an unforgettable experience.
The film programme at Kustendorf Festival is screened in several theatres. The Competition Programme and the Contemporary Trends Programme is screened at the biggest, Damned Yard theatre. Other films are shown in the Noam Chomsky amphitheater. After the projections of films, workshops are held by renowned film authors.
Every night at midnight, after the screenings and workshops, various music stars perform on stage.
No two rooms are alike in Drvengrad, since each room contains uniquely painted and handcrafted furniture, a different view and a different path leading to it. The rooms are located in authentic log cabins and all provide a bathroom, TV, phone and Internet access. During the Festival, accommodation in Drvengrad is booked for guests and participants of Kustendorf. Guests are also accommodated in hotel Iver in a newly opened ski resort, and Vizitorski centar, in close proximity of the village.
Restaurant Visconti – local and international cuisine provided for the Festival participants and guests
Cafe The Damned Yard – a perfect place to meet people in a great atmosphere
National restaurant Lotika – a national cuisine restaurant
Pastry shop Kod Ćorkana – sweets and hot drinks
Kapor Bar – a place to enjoy jazz music
Kind and diligent staff at the reception of the Mećavnik hotel will provide you with all necessary information about the festival, accommodation and events, and give answers to all your questions.
Like in previous years, young filmmakers and students whose films will be presented at the International Film and Music Festival Kustendorf, will be picked up from Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport by our welcome service and transferred to Kustendorf – Drvengrad.
Emir Kusturica, Svetolik Mića Zajc, Dunja Kusturica, Marko Milosavljević, Milica Jelača, Bojan Pivaš, Dragana Bedov, Marija Novaković, Maja Kusturica, Anđelija Janićijević, Nana Kusturica, Nenad Meršnik, Dragan Radivojević Lav, Dragan Teodorović Zeko, Žarko Brecl, Strahinja Marković, Aleksandar Jakonić, Milan Nešković, Christopher Mondt, Danijela Rakić, Zoran Lončarević, Vlada Milanović, Marina Palalić, Ana Uzelac, Olivera Isailović, Branko Tomović, Uglješa Vrcelj, Žarko Bubalo, Raketa Watch Factory, SuperDot.
The 10th Küstendorf
International Film and Music Festival
14-19 January 2017
Milorada Mitrovića 15
11 000 Belgrade
tel / fax: +381 11 24 31 505
Programme Coordinator – Guest Service