My brother Peter invited me to attend the 40th International Belgrade Film Festival in February 2012 where he was being given a Golden Seal Lifetime Achievement award.
I was seated in the audience one seat over from then incumbent President Boris Tadić. Milos Paramentić, Director of the Fest, is standing on the right.
Noting that his father was a Serb, Peter continued, emotion getting the better of him:
"Voleo bih da je ovde, pošto bi bio ponosan što je njegov sin stekao takvo priznanje i čast da u rodnoj zemlji otvori filmski festival".
"I wish that he were here, because he would have been proud that his son received such recognition and honor that in his native country, opened a film festival."
Jelena Stojanović was our guide in Belgrade and she was amazing!
Dinko Tucaković gave me a tour of the famous Film Archives - hundreds of feature films have been shot in Former Yugoslavia. Many famous filmmakers including Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles came to this country to make their films. They are in the process of digitizing thousands of 35mm film reels...
Vanda helped me on numerous occasions including making sure I was able to board my flight back to the US! We shared many laughs!
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The official opening ceremony and the screening of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt, marked the beginning of the 40th annual FEST – Belgrade’s International Film Festival.
When Peter first came up to the mic on stage and said "Zdravo!" (hello) the audience laughed and burst into applause. Native slavs love when anyone even attempts to speak Serbian. It was our first language and although rusty, we still get by...
Filmmaker Nenad Ognjenović interviewed Peter and me about our father Borislav Bogdanovich for his film about Serbian and Czech artists living in Prague.
I met a number of other filmmakers during my visit including Mila Turajlić (Cinema Komunisto) and Dejan Kraljevic, Marko Jeftić and Milutin Petrović. I also met journalists Srdjan Jovanović, and BLIC Boris Vuković. I owe Dusan Poznanović an interview! Ruma journalist Ljuban Kovacević and I are in communication about new interviews for the local newspaper.
After a trip to RUMA and NOVI SAD I was able to extend my trip a few more days in Belgrade and met more family members for the first time!
Sadly, only a few months after this photo was taken, Antonije passed away...I am gratified though, that I met him on this special day - even if only once in our lifetime.