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New stars shine at Küstendorf Film and Music Festival


The hamlet of Küstendorf is like a Disneyland for cinema auteurs. Built by double-Palme d'Or-winning director Emir Kusturica, the village has streets named after Federico Fellini and Jean Vigo. The cinema is called the Stanley Kubrick Theatre and the restaurant carries the moniker Visconti. It's also been home to the Küstendorf Film and Music Festival since 2008.

Kusturica came up with the idea of building a cinema enclave for artists while shooting his 2004 tale Life Is a Miracle. The action is set in the Mokra Gora region, a national park just on the Serbian side of the border with Bosnia.

Showing at the festival was the fawning documentary Balkan Star by young Russian film-maker Andrey Grigoryev, in which the director states that he's unlikely to return to his Sarajevo birthplace after his parental home was ransacked following an article he wrote about the Serbian and Bosnian conflict in Le Monde.

This event, revolving around young film-makers, has no sponsorship. The drinks served in the bar are home-brewed.

Thierry Frémaux, the artistic director of the Cannes Film Festival and arguably the most important man in world cinema, gave a lecture on early silent cinema.

The top prize went to Alto Sauce a crime thriller set in Spain directed by Fernando Pomares. The critic's prize was a better choice going to the effective Polish drama Barbakan, from Bartlomiej Zmuda.

The major upset was that Bento Monogatari (Lunchbox Story) by Belgium's Pieter Dirkx did not win a prize. Other film-makers to watch out for are Canadian Lee Filipovski and Germany's Matis Burkhardt.

The only British short was The Song of The Rain, directed by London Film School student Aygul Bakanova.Set in a village in Kyrgyzstan, this story of marital strife lacked a sufficiently dramatic ending.