Srdjan Dragojevic’s Parada (The Parade) Number One in Home Territories

// 14th of December, 2011

Srdjan Dragojevic’s controversial gay-themed comedy Parada (The Parade) is clocking up record breaking figures in the sixth week of its release on its home territory of Serbia and Montenegro. The film, which, is the third biggest opener of all time, has increased prints week on week starting with 9 and rising to 21 this week.

The success of the film has come a little from left of field as this black comedy takes as its subject matter the very serious subject of gay rights (or lack of) in this most notoriously of homophobic nations. It’s resonance is made all the more powerful by the fact that, yet again, and on the eve of the film’s release in Serbia, Belgrade Pride March was cancelled by the authorities because, they claimed, the police was unable to protect marchers against assaults and violent from neo-Nazi groups and queer- haters.

Local films rarely ever hit the 30,000 admissions mark in the region - Parada (The Parade) is anticipated to surpass the 600,000 mark by the end of February.

Parada (The Parade) is a tongue in cheek Seven Samurai story about Lemon (Nikola Kojo) - who runs his own security service. He is hired by Belgrade Gay Pride activists to provide security for their march. Of course he can’t get help from any security guards or the police - no-one wants to be associated with homosexuals. He resorts to hiring a rag-tag group of his ex-enemies from the Yugoslav wars - as the only group that will stand together to defend the gays......They manage to sign up for their mission: Niko, a Croat war veteran, Halil, a Bosnian Muslim, and Azem an Albanian from Kosovo. But the handful of "samurai" are yet to face their greatest challenge...

"I was shooting the ending of The Parade during last year’s pride in Belgrade, the first "successful" Pride in the history of Serbia," says director Srdjan Dragojevic, "The only success was that participants stayed alive. 6500 policeman were protecting less than 1000 Gay activists & friends against 7000 hooligans and neo-nazis. The result of Pride was 300 wounded policeman and hooligans and demolition of Belgrade downtown. This year, the event didn’t take place. I strongly believe that THE PARADE will help so we can enjoy happy and joyful Pride in Belgrade in following years. Sometimes, hopefully art can work in that way..."

The film is produced by Delerium and Prva Srpska Televizija in Serbia, Forum in Slovenia, Igor A Nola’s Mainframe in Croatia, and Vladimir Anastasov’s Sektor Film in Macedonia, in association with Film and Music Entertainment in London - making it one of the most integrated former "Yugoslav" films since the break up of the country with the participation of the Serbian Film Centre, Slovenia’s Filmski Sklad, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the Montenegrin Ministry of Culture and the Macedonian Film Fund, and Eurimages.

"It’s great that the box office has gone well, and continues to increase week on week," says Film and Music Entertainment’s Mike Downey, "But it’s more than that. It’s about freedom of expression and civil rights. In Serbia free screenings are being organised for Civil Education teachers throughout the country and a vivid and lively discussion has begun in schools about LGBT issues, civil rights and basic freedoms around the subject of homophobia. The film’s level of influence is making a contribution to change - and doing well at the box office. We are confident that the film’s international premiere will be at a major A festival in the New Year."

Filmstar released the film in Serbia + Montenegro, Blic will premiere the film in Croatia with events in Zagreb, Rijeka and Split next week, Skopje opens on 16th and Slovenia on 20th. International sales will be handled by Loic Magneron’s Paris-based WIDE Entertainment.

"Now, when the film is done, I believe even more that Serbia badly needs this story in 2011," concludes Dragojevic, " Just as I believed, more than a decade ago, that my country needed a film that would speak about the war and guilt in a different voice than the official. The result was Pretty Village Pretty Flame and two years later Wounds, which had attendance figures of more than 1,5 million overall. These two films were the first to spark the debate about the war and the responsibility for violent conflicts in ex-Yugoslavia."

For Further Information:
Ed Rigg, Film and Music Entertainment, 0207 478 7527