The 14th Human Rights Film Festival FAST FORWARD Montenegro 2023 was officially opened tonight at the Cultural Information Centre “Budo Tomović” with the Montenegrin premiere of the feature-length documentary Mamula All Inclusive, directed by Aleksandar Reljić.
The XIV edition of the FAST FORWARD Festival was opened by Daliborka Uljarević, Executive director of the Centre for Civic Education (CCE). “The motto of this year’s FAST FORWARD Festival is THROUGH THE FOG. It is an expression of our quest for clarity and the fight for principled action in the complex reality of Montenegro. The fog symbolizes political opaqueness and the challenges we face, and this is another effort to stimulate active engagement and progressive change leading to the establishment of the missing accountability“, said Uljarević.
„THROUGH THE FOG we live in, at the CCE, we try to insist on facts, principles, and values contrary to today’s approach that focuses primarily on the easy sensation, and lack of awareness of priorities and public interest. In such a context, human rights are often collateral damage in partisan and politically-interest transactions. Unlike politicians, we do not have a mission to please anyone or to gain popular points, but to change society for the better, even when it involves insisting on unpleasant topics or conflicting with the prevailing climate. We believe that progress is made that way, not via constant calculation, manipulations, and triviality“, she stated.
This year’s awards for the affirmation of human rights and civic activism were presented to the Association for Aid and Support to People with Cystic Fibrosis of Montenegro, the NGO Human Rights Action and posthumously to Rifat Rastoder.
“The news about the award caught me by surprise. The fight we fought was a fight for the chance and life of our children, and I fought it with the need to save my child, Nora, as well as all other children. I believed that our children would get a chance to live, I believed in the fight for life, and that good people would hear us because every life is precious. We were not discouraged by the many doors that did not open. Today, I accept this award with joy and dedicate it to the bravest and those who fight the hardest battles. Let our struggle be an incentive and a model for all those who fight to achieve their goals,” said Vladislav Vujković, President of the Association for Aid and Support to People with Cystic Fibrosis of Montenegro, during the presentation of the award.
“It is a great honor for me to share the award for civic activism with my colleagues from the Association for Aid and Support to People with Cystic Fibrosis of Montenegro and the Rastoder family. I am especially glad to receive the award from colleagues with whom I share civic activism. Activists are best rewarded when they manage to set the wheels of justice in motion or stop injustice. I see this award as an opportunity, as something that can help us to become more of us who will not allow any more activists to suffer the way Boško Pavićević suffered recently, or to be attacked as activists for the rights of sexual minorities, for the fight against corruption, anti-fascists or environmentalists. I see it as an opportunity to be more of us who will not allow children to suffer violence of any kind, that hatred is waged on social networks, that the law is unequally applied, that anyone starves, and that anyone, anywhere interferes with the order. I invite everyone to be activists, for everyone to use their five minutes to protect someone’s right and to teach children that, because I think that is the best thing we can do for them and Montenegro,” said Tea Gorjanc Prelevic, Executive director of HRA, which received the award in front of the team of that NGO.
“It is a great honor to receive this award, which recognizes the humanity of Rifat Rastoder’s work. I am honored to receive the award on behalf of my family, which, I believe, Rifat’s soul rejoices as well because it comes from an organization that is sincerely dedicated to the mission of raising awareness of the importance of human rights and their protection and improvement. Rifat loved people, especially sincere and honest fighters for a civil, honest, and progressive society. Therefore, it is a great honor and emotion for me that his name is mentioned here – as part of a Festival that raises awareness, reminds us of justice, and calls for civic responsibility. We believe that once again the FAST FROWARD Festival will strengthen our faith in the inalienability of human dignity and the power of the creative and courageous individual who initiates civilizational changes. “Never forget that Montenegro will be eternal only if we build it as a common house of all its inhabitants, regardless of their names, political beliefs, or faiths,” said Rifat Ratoder. In that name, I thank the organizers and all the participants of the Festival for feeding and defending the hope of humanity. I can see from your faces that she is shining tonight,” said Mirsad Rastoder, who received the posthumous award for Rifat Rastoder on behalf of the family.
After the film screening, director Aleksandar Reljić, main producer Dragan Gmizić, as well as Daliborka Uljarević, representing the CCE as a minority producer, spoke about the work on the film and the motives that motivated them.
“As a society, we are suffocated by materialism and money became the measure of all values, so it was also possible to allow the place of suffering and great sacrifice, which both Montenegro and Boka endured on Mamula for freedom, to be turned into a place of a banal consumerist kitsch, as the hotel SPA resort is today,” said director Aleksandar Reljić.
“In the beginning was the word, as the New Testament says. Well, Daliborka Uljarević’s words at the Sarajevo Film Festival about turning Mamula Fortress into an exclusive hotel complex, as well as Aleksandar Reljić’s idea of how the film could be made, were enough,” said producer Dragan Gmizić. He also cites another important reason – the city where he was born, which made him decide to enter the production of this film and collaborate with Reljić. “Herceg Novi is, next to Novi Sad, a city that I consider my hometown. I grew up hearing stories about the camp on Mamula, and trips to that island are deeply in my memory,” he said.
This year, as in previous years, in addition to Podgorica, the Festival will also have parallel editions in Kotor – on December 12 and 13 at the “Boka” cinema and Berane – on December 13 and 14 at the Cultural Center. All informations about the festival are available on the website https://www.ubrzaj.me/.
This year’s edition of the Festival was supported by: the Ministry of Economic Development of Montenegro and the Municipality of Kotor, and support was also provided by the Municipality of Berane, Cultural Information Centre “Budo Tomović”, Cultural Center “Nikola Đurković” and the Center for Culture Berane. FAST FORWARD’s partners this year are BELDOCS, Sarajevo Film Festival and Human Rights Film Network. The commitment to social responsibility was also reflected in the business sector this year, so we highlight the sponsorships of Cue Hotel, Gostione 1928, PG taxi and Compania De Vinos Montenegro. The media sponsors of the FAST FORWARD Festival are: television Nova M, 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 and Radio Kotor, Adria TV, and Play radio.
Maja Marinović, Programe associate