The Third (Film) International in Yugoslavia

P. Adams Sitney, pioneering film writer and official representative of what was then called New American Cinema, was first invited to Yugoslavia in the summer of 1967. While there, he set up an impromptu screening session in his hotel room in Pula that, in retrospect, was the initial direct contact between the U.S. and Yugoslav film avant-garde. This first kino-séance is invoked as the subject of this research project and serves as primary case study, focusing on Sitney’s return visit to Yugoslavia, at the end of the same year and into 1968, for an official, larger, organized tour across the major cities of the Socialist Republic. This tour was titled theThird International Exposition of New American Cinema, and for many in Yugoslavia it was a turning point in their cinephilic devotion. These historical events, both institutional and improvised, and their implications, are crucial in ascertaining the influence and relevance of classical U.S. film avant-garde for a new generation of moving image artists from the former Yugoslavia. They also chart early significant work in film organizing and curating, particularly in relation to the canon of film art and how it was formed and solidified.

Presentation and Discussion

Taking part in the discussion:
Branislav Dimitrijević, Greg de Cuir Jr, Pavle Levi, Aleksandra Sekulić, Aleksandar Bošković, Milena Dragićević Šešić, Hrvoje Turković, Ljubica Slavković, Ana Miljanić


  • 1963 -

    First edition of GEFF organized in Zagreb; key early gathering point for Yugoslav film avant-garde; one of the oldest festivals of alternative film in the world

  • 1965 -

    First edition of MAFAF organized in Pula; key early gathering point for Yugoslav kino enthusiasts; organized as a side program to the larger national Pula Film Festival

  • 1967 -

    Sitney visits Pula after the invitation from Makavejev and organiyzs an impromptu hotel room screening of Stan Brakhage films.

  • 1967 -

    Sitney returns to Yugoslavia at the end of the year to visit GEFF in Zagreb, screens program of the New American Cinema

  • 1967 -

    Sitney publishes his Yugoslav travel diary in Film Culture no 46

  • 1968 -

    Sitney begins touring the major cities in Yugoslavia with the Third International Exposition of New American Cinema

  • 1971 -

    First program of Filmforum, organized by Zečević, at Student Cultural Center, with projections of New American Cinema

  • 1972 -

    Belgrade International Film Festival founded; Karpo Godina organizes a collective film experiment with Makavejev, Vučićević, Paul Morrissey, and other US directors

  • 1980 -

    Large retrospective of US avant-garde cinema at Yugoslav Film Archive

  • 1982 -

    The festival Alternative Film Video is founded at Academic Film Center; successor to the spirit and aims of GEFF and MAFAF; currently one of the oldest surviving festivals of alternative film in Europe


Greg de Cuir Jr is an independent curator, writer and translator who lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia. Select projects at

Photo by Ephraim Asili.


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