Jugoslav Pantelić is the director of the Yugoslav Film Archive Museum and artistic director of the country’s most important film festival – FEST. In 2018, he was elected a member of the Executive Board of the European Federation of Film Archives (ACE). In a conversation with the magazine Reminder, he reveals what made him the most proud in the past year and what are the plans of the Yugoslav Film Archive Museum for the next 2019 year
Which segment of the Yugoslav Film Archive Museum has made you the most proud in 2018?
As for this year, it was hard, we went from project to project, but given that it was so before it as well, and it will be the same after it, I would say that it was a regular year full of events, in which nice things take turns.
This year, the Yugoslav Film Archive Museum, if I have to highlight something, certainly marked its work with screenings of digitally restored domestic classics. The complete digital restoration process is done in our archive in the digitalization and digital restoration unit. Last year, the Yugoslav Film Archive Museum presented in Cannes the “Feather Collectors” (“Skupljači perja” in Serbian). This year, in Berlin, within the prestigious official program the Forum, the restored film by Žika Pavlović “When I Am Dead and Gone” (“Kad budem mrtav i beo” in Serbian) was shown. It is precisely the digital restoration we are implementing and the giving of new life to movies, which are, of course, certainly, of everlasting quality, something I am particularly proud of. The end of 2018 will be marked by extremely important things, including another digital restored version of the Serbian film classic.
A monument to Karl Malden was placed in front of the Yugoslav Cinema Museum in November. Could you tell us more about this.
On the initiative of Mr. Dan Tana, our close friend and, I am free to say, collaborator, with the support of great artists, above all Zubin Mehta, but also with the great support of the family of Karl Malden himself, we are pleased that the cinema building is decorated by the bust of the Oscar winner and the long-time president of the American Film Academy.
The actor who originates from our region, more precisely from Bileće, has always been a frequent guest on the big screen in our cinemas, and since 2016, again thanks to Dan Tana, there are very important awards, as well as personal items of Karl Malden in the Yugoslav Cinema Museum. They are unified in the legacy of Karl Malden, so the bust on the entrance to our building has complemented the presence of this film industry giant.
I think that the work of Zdravko Joksimović is remarkable, which is confirmed by the reactions of both the professional public and passers-by. Artists never die. Their work continues to live.
In 2018, excellent actors such as Milena Dravić and Nebojsa Glogovac left us. How big is the responsibility to preserve the legacy of such artists?
The Yugoslav Film Archive Museum is the guardian of film epochs, and therefore the films made by the artists you mentioned now, but also many others who left us in this 2018. When you work with materials that date back to further or closer past, then you know the importance of keeping something that, at the time of its creation, is not often recognized as significant. In my opinion, it is extremely important to keep as much data as possible that does not imply only those parts of the professional life of the artist.
The Yugoslav Film Archive Museum, as a film keeper, but also all the keeper of other materials related to the film art, is doing its job responsibly. In that sense, I would again emphasize the importance of digital restoration that allows future generations, whether through television or any other way of presentation that involves not just showing in the cinema, to discover the works of, for example, Milena Dravić, whose good part of the career is still unknown to many. Many things are waiting to be revealed as far as this artist is concerned, but it is similar with other filmmakers, whether it is about actors or authors.
Where do you see the possibility of the progress of the Yugoslav Film Archive Museum?
The Yugoslav Film Archive Museum shares “same” problems as film archives across Europe and the world with which we have close cooperation. As for an intimate answer to your question, it would definitely have to be an increase in capacity. First of all, I am talking about human resources. We need acceleration, and this can also be achieved with the advancement of technology, which we must wait for, since we are working with the latest state-of-the-art technology.
You are the artistic director of FEST. Its 47th edition begins on February 22 and lasts until March 3, 2019.
FEST is completed when it comes to its program, since we are at the end of the year. FEST is a big festival and should be prepared responsibly – at the end of each FEST, we are already preparing for the next one. With the fact that this is not a cliché, or a phrase often used by many, in this case, this is a necessity, because if you want to present the Belgrade audience at the end of February and early March the best that the world production has offered, then you are not able to use shortcuts.
Can you tell us something about the program or guests of FEST?
According to festival standards, I cannot reveal any of the names that will come. What can I say now is that this season was good for a film as far as quality is concerned, so we will have a lot of films by which we will remember FEST 2019. What specifically makes me happy is the fact that a large number of Serbian films, i.e. Serbian and minority co-productions will be shown, which I hope will earn high marks after the premiere at FEST.
I think that the audience will be satisfied since FEST addresses the broadest spectrum of the audience. It addresses those who expect to see Oscar filmmakers, as well as those who are looking forward to new authors who made a breakthrough in the film this season. I would like to draw attention to the FEST competition part; it seems to me that this year, it will be the strongest since we started with this program.
By: Aleksandra Milosavljević