Dear audience, dear friends of the Festival,
After thirteen magnificent years of the Festival’s continuous growth in quality, after its extraordinary contributions to the Belgrade, Serbian and European cultural landscape, the Festival has faced insurmountable difficulties. These difficulties have unfortunately nothing to do with our will or actions; yet, in such circumstances, the Festival has to find a way to exist in another time and another place – which, we believe and hope, will be the spring of this year.
Since the very beginning and the first Festival in 2005, we had an agreement with Sava Center about a joint organization of the Festival. Throughout the years, this cooperation was very successful, fueled by mutual trust and enthusiasm. We are deeply grateful to all those at Sava Center who persisted with us year after year and who invested their best efforts in helping the Festival take place under the best possible conditions and in the best possible way. When Sava Center celebrated its 40th birthday in 2017, we received recognition for “an extraordinary cooperation and special personal contribution to the affirmation of Sava Center.”
Before signing a new contract for 2018, we were notified, to our great surprise, by the administrative department of Sava Center that all future forms of such cooperation were terminated. The argument claimed that the current situation required Sava Center to begin running its operations exclusively on commercial grounds. This in turn meant the cancellation of the agreement about the co-organization of the Festival.
The Festival was thus given the status of any other commercial client overnight – along with the offer to use Sava Center upon paying very high rental prices. The General Director of Sava Center denied any form of communication or dialogue; his response was one of ignoring, which resulted in resounding silence.
Due to lack of means to accept such conditions – but also due to lack of will, since we strongly believe that the commodification of culture inevitably leads to its destruction – we publicly protest such treatment of the Festival and refuse to allow money and profit to have priority over more important human values and needs.
Encouraged by your loyalty and enthusiasm, we are not giving up the Festival that we have made for you and with you. Just like in the past years, we are ready to fight for the superb beauty, the magic of film, and for the values that this unique anthology of modern documentary – The Magnificent 7 Film Festival – brings together.
We will notify you in a timely manner about further developments.
Belgrade, January 19, 2018.
Svetlana and Zoran Popović