Nenad Stankovic left Serbia fourteen years ago, but he is still closely connected to his motherland. He traditionally organizes the Festival of New Serbian Film in Toronto, Stefan Milenkovic’s concerts and theatre performances from Serbia.
In his ten-day stay in Belgrade, Nenad Stankovic, who lives in Canada, utilized his time to see national movies from the region at this year’s FEST in order to make advance preparations for the Festival of New Serbian Film that he traditionally organizes in Toronto. This well-known festival has taken place annually for the past seven years, and as Nenad Stankovic told us, there have been around 27,000 visitors to date. People from Canada who originate from our region financially support it. Almost the complete repertoire of Serbian cinematography has been shown during these years, and actors, such as Dragan Nikolic, Katarina Radivojevic, Kalina Kovacevic, Branislav Trifunovic and others have attended the event.
In addition to organizing the festival, since 1999 Nenad Stankovic has also been publishing and editing ’MI Magazin’, a magazine in Serbian that is distributed in Canada and the United States and is oriented toward culture and the promotion of successful people from our region. Nenad is also occupied with printing and graphic design, and has organized five concerts for violinist Stefan Milenkovic in Canada! He brought numerous performances from Serbian theatres to Toronto, and is currently organizing a tour for the band ’Trio Balkan Strings’.
At the beginning of the interview for Lisa, we asked Nenad to comment about receiving the symbolic title of the ambassador of Serbian culture in Canada for his engagement in the field of culture.
“That seems a bit pretentious for me, because some other people are doing similar things in Canada. However, I feel that I am doing something that the Serbian state should do, especially in big cultural centers where many people from our country live.”
What appeals to Serbian audiences there?
“Comedies are the most popular. The Serbian community is the liveliest in terms of cultural life, and three performances of some theatre show will bring around 1500 visitors. For movies, usually whole families come, and when we talk about the theatre – the audience is reserved because of different tastes and they do not want to watch everything.”
Was the fact that you graduated from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts crucial for your collaboration with Serbian theatres?
“I know many actors from that time. I started to collaborate with Dragan Jovanovic for the show ’Chicago’s Perversions which enjoys cult status, and the show will end its ’career’ this year in Chicago. It was decided to have 500 performances there in October, and to make a movie about it. The documentary about this jubilee will be made on the way from Toronto to Chicago.”
You come to your hometown Belgrade often.
“I’ve lived in Toronto for 14 years, and I visit Serbia several times annually. I am very busy then, because there are so many people I have to meet. For instance, I will come for the summer for personal reasons, because my son Nemanja plays basketball in Chicago and wants to spend the summer in Serbia in order to compare basketball here and there.”
Who are your friends in Canada?
“They are mostly people from here and friends I have made in Toronto. They have become the main sponsors of my events since they realize the importance of these projects for the Serbian community as well as the significance of having cultural events of the highest quality in Canada. Of course, I spend most of my free time with my family, my wife Gordana, daughter Nora and son Nemanja. My son received a scholarship and plays for a NCAA team, the top college basketball league in the world. He is 2.09 m. tall, he is 19, and his nickname is Big Nem. His goal is to bring the band ’Beogradski Sindikat’ to Canada, and now I am helping him organize it.”
Author: Marina Bulatovic and Blagoje Nenadic
Photo: Dragan Bogdanovic
Published by: Lisa – Belgrade – Serbia