14th FAST FORWARD Human Rights Film Festival Montenegro 2023 completed

The fourteenth edition of the FAST FORWARD Human Rights Film Festival Montenegro 2023, organized by the Centre for Civic Education (CCE), was held from 10 to 14 December in Podgorica, Kotor and Berane. With the motto THROUGH THE FOG, this year’s edition brought 13 film premieres to the Montenegrin audience, including the first CCE’s co-production project Mamula All Inclusive.

“These are films that uncompromisingly dispersed the mist, illuminating the fate of those who cannot see human rights within it and those whose rights are violated in its fog,” states the explanation of the selection rationale.

FAST FORWARD Festival was traditionally opened on the International Human Rights Day. On this occasion, Daliborka Uljarević, Executive director of CCE, presented annual awards for the affirmation of human rights and civic activism to the Association for Aid and Support to People with Cystic Fibrosis of Montenegro, Human Rights Action (HRA) and posthumously to Rifat Rastoder.

“FAST FORWARD is an extremely well-organized festival, led by young, educated and competent people, who work dedicatedly to make the festival visible and for the films to reach the audience. I believe that it is important for the festival to select quality films that communicate and stimulate dialogue, and this festival does exactly that. Human rights are the foundation of any healthy society and there is no nobler theme to which a festival could be dedicated to!” said Nikola Spasić, director of the film Kristina, which closed this year’s FAST FORWARD Festival.

The closing ceremony was also attended by Minister of Culture and Media Tamara Vujović.

“I have been a guest of the FAST FORWARD Festival for years, and I had the privilege and honor to show even four of my films at this festival, side by side, with top-notch film productions that treat human rights problems on a global level. Since 2018, I have been closely following FAST FORWARD and I can say that the Montenegrin audience really has the opportunity to get acquainted with great and important current films at this festival, as well as with the state of human rights in the whole world. This type of education, we can freely call it like that, should be used even more in the future, because it is the best way to learn more about who we are, where we are, and what kind of world we really live in,” said Aleksandar Reljić, the director of the film Mamula All Inclusive and guest of the FAST FORWARD Festival.

The audience, with great interest and emotion, watched the feature-length documentary film Mamula All Inclusive by Aleksandar Reljić, which opened the festival editions in all three cities. The film Kristina, directed by Nikola Spasić, which closed FAST FORWARD in Podgorica, also sparked inspiring questions.

Visitors had the opportunity to watch great films, such as Total Trust by director Jialing Zhang, Ingeborg Bahman – Journey to the Desert, by author Margarete von Trotta and the award-winning film by director Albert Rodríguez – Prison 77, as well as the multi-award-winning film 20 Days in Mariupol by Mstyslav Chernov. Special attention of the younger audience attracted films Girl Gang by director Susanne Regina Meures and the debut feature film Rodeo by French director Lola Quivoron. Films Three minutes: A Lengthening  by the Dutch author Bianca Stigter, then the realistic story of a Finnish family in the film Family Time, by the Finnish director Tia Kuovo, as well as Mara, whose direction, scenario and montage are signed by the Belarusian director Sasha Kulak, Facing Darkness, by the French director Jean- Gabriel Périot and the short film Hope Hotel Phantom, by the Bosnian-Herzegovinian author Bojan Stojičić, were in the focus of the loyal audience of the FAST FORWARD Festival.

Once again this year, through engaging films reaching the hearts of the audience, CCE brought together different actors of society to encourage reflection and discussion about human rights. By telling sometimes difficult and painful stories, with this year’s film selection, we tried to disperse the fog and scratch beneath the surface of the complex human rights narrative, inspiring the audience to question what we can do to affirm and nurture the culture of human rights.

Admission to all screenings was free.

This year’s edition of the Festival was supported by the Ministry of Economic Development of Montenegro and the Municipality of Kotor, with additional support from the Municipality of Berane, KIC “Budo Tomović”, Cultural Center “Nikola Đurković” and the Center for Culture Berane. Partners of FAST FORWARD are BELDOCS, Sarajevo Film Festival and Human Rights Film Network. The commitment to social responsibility was once again reflected in the business sector, emphasizing sponsorships from Hotel Cue, Gostiona 1928, PG taxi and Compania De Vinos Montenegro. Media sponsors of the Festival FAST FORWARD 2023 are television Nova M, Adria TV, Gradska TV, Gradski radio and portal gradski.me, Prva TV, E TV, Radio and portal Antena M, daily newspaper Pobjeda, daily newspaper Dan, portal CdM, portal Analitika, Radio Berane, Radio Kotor and Play radio.

Maja Marinović, Program Associate