Amateur film festivals in Yugoslavia

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In the 1960s and 1970s, experimental films were shown almost exclusively at various amateur film festivals organized under the auspices of the Photo-Cinema Association, which was part of the umbrella organization Popular Engineering Society (Ljudska tehnika). The festivals were in fact organized in a system that echoed that of the organizational structure of Ljudska technika or the federal state structure. The basic units in the system were cinema clubs, whose members could enter films for festival consideration; as a rule, filmmakers could not work independently, although there were some exceptions. Following an agreement with the Republic or Federal Subcommittee for Film of the Photo-Cinema Association the individual cinema club would then hold a festival. Initially, the festivals were divided into non-competitive reviews and competitive festivals and then structured hierarchically like the main organization into club, interclub, regional, republic-wide, and federal festivals. The latter two related, as only films that had been successful at the republican level could be entered for federal festivals. This restriction proved too harsh as the federal festival came to be seen as prestigious, and was abandoned in 1970. Although formally only events at club or interclub level, some of them were nonetheless held in high esteem, depending on the organization and the filmmakers they managed to attract. As a result, filmmakers valued GEFF, MAFAF, 8 mm in Novi Sad, the Alternative Film Festival in Split, and the Alternatives in Belgrade more than they did the federal festival. (Miha Peče)