IF, with an open heart, you have an insatiable desire for all things Irish, then this year’s Belgrade Irish Festival (BIF) has prepared a programme that will help sufferers purge themselves of this particularly greenish ailment during Saint Patrick’s week!

BIF is one of the fastest growing festivals in Serbia with over 50 indoor and open-air events throughout the White City, starting on 9th March and ending with a bang on 17th March – Saint Patrick’s Day. While the Irish are considered (by very few people) to be a modest and shy people, it should be pointed out that BIF is the largest annual exhibition of Irish arts in south-east Europe. Indeed, BIF is one of the largest annual exhibitions of Irish arts in the world not supported by a large diaspora in situ – we really are out there!

THIS year BIF is honoured to announce that Lenny Abrahamson, the acclaimed Irish film maker (his ground-breaking film Room was nominated for an Oscar in 2016), will be the main festival guest. Lenny’s latest film, The Little Stranger, will open the Irish film programme at Kinoteka. The film programme will also feature the latest works (both feature films, documentaries, and animation) from the celebrated Irish production house, Cartoon Saloon, & Sé Merry Doyle, Brian Willis, Bryan Delaney….

WITH the Irish embassy, we are hosting a new one-day digital business conference, bringing together private and public sector organisations from Ireland and Serbia. This one-day segment of BIF will provide an excellent opportunity to take stock of, assess opportunities in and look to the future of the creative industries in Ireland, Serbia and worldwide.

IN visual arts, the renowned Irish street artist, James Earley, will paint a 180m2 mural on a city centre building. This will remain as a feature of the city’s urban landscape long into the future. Also, the BIF visual arts programme will include an open-air exhibition on aspects of Irish and Serbian early religious symbols and motifs, in the Belgrade Waterfront area.

THE recently opened and impressive National Museum (Narodni Muzej ) will be bathed in a green glow of light, for the first time this year, on Saint Patrick Day (17th March) – alongside other city centre landmarks, including Palata Albanija, Hotel Moskva, Most na Adi, Narodna Skupština, Glavna Pošta and Belgrade Design District.

A host of other workshops, talks and engagements with many visiting artists can also be found in the programme which we invite you to explore and enjoy.

Finally, we would like to thank the growing body of partners whose commitment to BIF has made this unique cultural exchange between the south-east and north-west of Europe a reality for many in Ireland and Serbia. Needless to say, the Belgrade Irish Festival is also supported by a fantastic local production team whose hard work and personal contributions have helped build BIF into an engaging, rewarding and enriching annual event.

Happy St Patrick’s Day, and the week that’s in it!

Jas Kaminski Festival Director