The event included the presentation of the 2019 Jovan Ćirilov Award to the Immoral Tales - Part 1: Mother House production by Phia Menard, which it won at the 53rd Bitef. The ceremony could not be held as originally planned due to the coronavirus pandemic. The award was presented by Bitef festival artistic director Ivan Medenica and 53rd Bitef jury member Olga Dimitrijević, who pointed out that Phia Menard’s work symbolically merges the goddess Athena, as the root of Western civilization, and the iconography of science fiction films as the defining aesthetics of contemporary culture.
At the moment when we feel that the end of one world has come - but we don’t know what is coming next - Phia Menard forces us to contemplate our place in this world, Dimitrijević concluded.
Receiving the award Phia Menard stated that it is a great honour to once again be in the company of people who create an incredible cultural event such as Bitef, as well as to be one of the French artists who are in a position to present their art in this part of Europe. She shared her sentiment regarding the award, which she explained as being the closest to returning to the past, since the performance was held at Bitef before the pandemic. In the meantime, in the new situation where we believe that we lack freedom, it is important to consider new possibilities for creating theatre also in this new situation that humankind finds itself in and not to be sad, she said.
The award ceremony was attended by German Ambassador Thomas Schieb, director of the French Institute Stanislas Pierret, cultural attaché with the French Embassy and the French Institute Catherine Faudry, Vanda Kučer and Radiša Kričak from I&F Group, Aleksandra Kosanović from Erste Bank, as well as representatives of the festivals partners: Belmedic, Halo Creative Team, the Temet winery, Domaće Kiflice, Neveski Hotel, Kuglica, and numerous representatives of the festival’s media friends: RTS, TV Monde, Tanjug, SEEcult, Politika.
After the presentations of the plaques, the guests enjoyed a cocktail prepared by Mezerestoran Dvorište. The summarising of the impressions and planning for the 56th Bitef, which will be held in September 2022, continued in the informal atmosphere.
The festival is traditionally supported by the City of Belgrade Secretariat for Culture and the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, as well as Delegation of the European Union to Serbia. Our long-term associates are the Goethe Institute, and the French Institute in Serbia, with support from Teatroskop - the regional program for performing arts of the French Institute in Paris and the French Ministry of Culture. Once again, this year Bitef's partner and friend is I&F Group, within which the festival's creative agency McCann Belgrade operates. The partners yet again are MTS, Erste Bank a.d. Novi Sad, and long-standing friend of the festival Coca-Cola Hellenic Serbia.