60th ANNIVERSARY OF FILM CENTER SERBIA
According to the decision of its Board of Directors, dated September 7the, 2004, the Film Institute in Belgrade changed its name to Film Center Serbia. Film Center Serbia performs activities to benefit the public interest of the Republic of Serbia in the field of cinematography and in accordance with the Law on Cinematography. It is managed by a Board of Directors composed of nine members, appointed by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, at the proposal of the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Serbia; and it is managed by a Director appointed by the Government of the Republic of Serbia at the proposal of the Board of Directors and a previously conducted public competition, at the proposal of the Minister of Culture.
The Film Institute was founded in Belgrade as the Center for the Professional Education of Film Personnel, which was founded in 1959 by the former Association of Film Producers of Yugoslavia for the purpose of supplementary education of existing staff educated in the practice of film-making. In 1963, the Center merged with the Center for the Professional Education of the Personnel of Reproductive Cinematography of the Yugoslavia, and extended its activities to the training of film professionals. However, establishment of new film schools and academies all over the country soon made that form of education redundant, so the Federation of Film Workers of Yugoslavia took over the Center, changing and expandig its tasks, repurposing it into a Film Institute.
The Film Institute was given its definite organizational form and profile in 1969, when founders rights were carried over to the Association of Film Workers of Socialist Republic of Serbia. The Institute’s tasks became research and study of issues such as advancing the film industry, linking it to practical needs, organizing and conducting specialized education of personnel to record and display films, to strengthen film culture through symposia, seminars and lectures, and to publish professional works and publications. Since 1969, the Institute has been producing and publishing the capital cinematographic yearbook, which contains all data on films produced in Serbia (also Yugoslavia, since 1976 and onward until its end), as well imported and screened films; it tracks all cinema-related events in our country and around the world. (those who participated in Yugoslav cinematography) and contains a bibliography of published film books and the content of film magazines published during the year. The Institute also published a theoretical journal, Film Notebooks, and three editions of books: on film aesthetics, on film art in general, and on Film History. The activities of the Film Institute were funded by the Culture Community of Socialist Republic of Serbia.
Beginning June 7, 1980, the Serbian Film Artists’ Association assumed the rights and obligations of the founders. By decision of the Board of Directors, on September 7, 2004, the Film Institute changed its name to Film Center Serbia. In December 2011, the founding rights and obligations of the founders of Film Center Serbia were carried over to the Republic of Serbia. According to a Decree of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, adopted at its session on 30thof April 2013, the Film Center of Serbia was granted the status of a cultural institution of national importance.
The legendary film critic, screenwriter and director Vicko Raspor was one of the founders and the first general secretary of the Federation of Film Workers of Yugoslavia. Together with Momčilo Ilić, he was the founder of the Center for the Professional Training of Film Workers of Yugoslavia, and its first director. After his departure to Dunav Film, where he later helped stablish the Belgrade Documentary School, he was succeeded as the head of the Institute by Momčilo Ilić, who envisioned an institution dedicated to responsibly storing accurate data – considering it future film history material, as well as the introduction of regular guides to Serbian film production, films shown on television and related publications.
The three main areas of activity of the Film Institute were documentation, publishing and promotion of Serbian film.
The essence of the documentation activites was the collection and processing of data published in a special yearbook – Cinematography in Serbia – and Yugoslavia, as well as in Filmografijafilm guides and its derivatives (related ot feature films, genre films, TV films…)
The publishing activities of the Film Institute, later the Film Center Serbia, show persistence and consistent quality, making it a unique publishing house in Yugoslavia, which has thoughtfully, responsibly and continuously published books on the subjects of film, film practice and theory. Significant works by André Bazin, Jerzy Płażewski, Jean Mitry, Christian Metz, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jules Deleuze, David Bordwell have been translated, and numerous biographies published, including those of Louis Bunuel, Federico Fellini, John Houston, Michael Al. Popovic, Puriša Đorđević. These represent only a glimpse of the rich and well-designed publishing tapestry of the Film Institute and Film Center Serbia. Serbian authors – Branko Vučićević, Dušan Stojanović, Bogdan Kalafatović, Vicko Raspor, Ranko Munitić, Petar Volk have contributed to its publishing roster, as did many younger film theorists and historians.
The Film Institute, together with its editor Dušan Stojanović, launched the journal Filmske sveske,which published important texts on film theory in Serbian. Filmograf magazine complementarily covered more approachable topics in the field of cinematographic work.
The Film Institute awarded the Close-up Charter award for outstanding contribution to popularizing film and film theory. Its winners included notable local figures from the film world – professor Daniel Gulding, writer of a book on Yugoslav film, director Dušan Makavejev, and Miron Chernenko, a film critic from Moscow, who published over two hundred bibliographical units on Yugoslav film in professional magazines and newspapers in the Soviet Union.
Promotion of Serbian film became the focus and when the director of the Film Institute became Predrag Golubović.
A trailblazer in a fairly timid field, together with Antonin J. Liehm and Jean-Loup Passek, editor of the film program at the Paris Center Pompidou, effected the most contentious and major step forward in promoting Yugoslav culture in France, after exhibiting murals from Serbian medieval monasteries held in the Grand Palais, the Retrospective of Yugoslav film. Over the course of seven months, over 120 feature films and about a hundred short films, subtitled in French, were shown, alongside a continuous exhibition.
A segment of this retrospective, called the Yugoslavian New Film, was shown at the Belgian Cinematheque, under the direction of the legendary Jacques Ledoux and Gabriella Klass.
The Film Institute presented a selection of Yugoslav silent films at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival and staged exhibitions dedicated to the pioneers of film in Yugoslavia – Karel Grossman and the Manaki brothers, in cooperation with the Macedonian and Slovenian Cinematheques.
First international engagement of the institution was achieved during the tenure of director Momčilo Ilić: membership in CILECT, the worldwide association of film schools and institutes.
As a step forward in that regard and confirmation of engagement in a time when Yugoslavia was making efforts to establish and strengthen the non-aligned movement, the Film Institute, with Film News and the Yugoslav Cinematheque, organized a school for film reporters – attended by students from Algeria and other Maghreb countries. To this end, the famous film historian Jean Mitry made the film Aesthetics of Montage, pasting it together from the archives of the Yugoslav Cinematheque, which became a basic teaching tool for students.
Prior to its transformation into Film Center Serbia, the Film Institute sought to establish itself commercially, dealing with the import and distribution of films, as well as video distribution. At the time of the breakup of Yugoslavia, the Film Institute made an agreement with Zagreb Filmoteka 16 and took over all of its stock of teaching and feature films that was deposited in Belgrade.
From 1992 to 1995, the Film Institute, together with TV Belgrade and Art TV, produced the monthly cinema magazine Cinema Art.
Film Center Serbia performs the following activities to benefit the public interest of the Republic of Serbia in the field of cinematography and in accordance with the Law on Cinematography:
- Prepares and implements the Strategy by supporting the performance, organization and financing of the preparation, development, production, distribution and presentation of local and foreign cinematographic works;
- Collects and distributes, through a public competition, funds for the promotion of cinematographic activities in accordance with the law;
- Supports and encourages the production of cinematographic works by young authors and debutants;
- Promotes local cinematographic activities and works at international festivals and events;
- Supports the participation of local producers in international co-productions;
- Supports and organizes national and international film festivals and events;
- Performs and organizes publishing activities;
- Develops and promotes film culture;
- Performs production financial control and analysis;
- Determines the manner and timing of the distribution of cinematographic works for which support has been granted;
- Documents film-related activity in the Republic of Serbia;
- Supports protection, display and study of cinematic heritage;
- Supports and organizes professional training in film;
- Proposes measures and cooperates with other bodies in combating the illegal sale and use of cinematographic works;
- Promotes values and encourages measures relevant to the protection of children and young people, gender equality, race and national minorities;
- Cooperates with professional associations, legal entities and private persons in order to promote cinematographic activities;
- Maintains a Joint Record of Cinematographic Activities in the Republic of Serbia.