”I lost my city during the war. This is why I wished to build my own village. It bears a German name : Küstendorf. I will organize there seminars for people who want to learn how to make cinema, concerts, ceramics, painting. It is the place where I will live and where some people will be able to come from time to time. There will be of course other inhabitants who will work there. I dream of an open place with cultural diversity which sets up against globalization.” (Emir Kusturica, July 2004)
This is a project Emir has worked on for several months. And it is now a reality. Küstendorf is the name of a traditional village that Emir has built where the shooting of Life is a miracle took place, south west from Belgrade, in Serbia, close to Mokra Gora, not far from the Bosnian border.
The (German) name of the village was chosen by Emir himself. It is funny to learn that it means “village on the coast”, whereas it is located in the heart of the mountains… or maybe is it just a pun on his own name : kustu-dorf, the village of Kustu ?
From an interview to another, Emir also calls Küstendorf under the name of Drvengrad (the wooden village), Mecavnik (the name of the neighbour village), or even Sharingrad (the multicolour village).
Emir's dream was to build a cinema school, to develop agro-tourism in this area, to give a second life to the many kilometres of railways built for film… It is now done, with also a church, an hotel, a restaurant, shops, and guest houses, for him, his family and his friends.
Since January 2008 every year is held the Küstendorf Film and Music Festival.
This festival has no red carpet (even if great names of cinema are always invited), and it has an anti-commercial position. The official competition shows student films from all over the world, and the winner receives a “golden egg”.
The next edition will take place from 16 to 22 January 2013.
No two rooms are alike in Drvengrad, since each room contains the uniquely painted and handcrafted furniture, a different view and a different path leading to it. The rooms are located in authentic log cabins and all provide a bathroom, TV, phone and the Internet access.
During the Festival, the accommodation in Drvengrad is booked for the guests and participants of Kustendorf.
The school has opened during summer 2005 on the theme “Art is (not) in transition”, oriented on the transition in the Balkans from communism to capitalism. The one week cinema workshop, directed by Emir Kusturica himself, took thirty young filmmaker students from the whole world. Living in the village, the “First Küstendorf class” had during the first days theoretical classes where Emir presented extracts of his favourite films, along with some scenes of his own movies, by making the students thinking of the techniques of the filmmaker. In the second part of the workshop, the students made two short films, based on scenarii written in Küstendorf, and taking as a main character the cook of the village.
Those workshops are likely to be held again, probably during summer 2006. Information will be given here as soon as available.
The village was rewarded in 2005 by the prestigious Philippe Rotthier architecture prize for the reconstruction of the city.
Located near the ski trails, the hotel “Mladost” (means “youth”) has 15 double rooms. During winter 2009, the domain was extended to 4 trails, including a black one.
The village has now his officiel website : www.kustendorf.com
Note : it is possible to book accommodation from this website
Also called Drvengrad (the wooden village), the postal address of the village is :
Drvengrad Resavski put 10 31000 Užice Serbia Tel : +381 31 800 686 Fax : +381 31 800 680
The village is open to everybody, and is situated 4h driving from Belgrade. It is possible to sleep and eat.
Here under, you can find a satellite map centred on the site of Küstendorf :
The village was inaugurated with pumps and circumstances on 25th september 2004, with the première screening of Life is a miracle. We can see below Emir Kusturica with Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica.
Since then, French singer Manu Chao, prince Alexandre Karageorgević of Yugoslavia (son of King Peter II) or the Russian director Nikita Mikalkhov also came to pay him a visit in Küstendorf.