First Bitef donor dinner took place on 11th November 2017 in the Square Nine hotel, with the support of festival friend I&F McCann Grupa. At the donor dinner, which gathered the members of the diplomatic corps, public figures, business people and artists, we have raised finances which were then invested in Bitef programme. The art auction, organized during the evening, comprised the works by our renowned artists Vladimir Veličković, Uroš Đurić, Mihael Milunović, and Vuk Vidor Veličković, but also of the first Bitef (1967) posters and catalogues, designed by Vladislav Lalicki.
The surprize part of the auction were special Bitef experiences: a study trip with Ivan Medenica, Bitef artistic director, and a theatre workshop for 10 people in Bitef Theatre with Bitef team and famous artists.
The invitees were addressed by Miloš Latinović, director of Bitef, Srđan Šaper, the founder of I&F McCann Grupa, and our famous actor Svetozar Cvetković.
In his address, Miloš Latinović expressed his gratitude to all of the guests for accepting the invitation, saying: “This inspires hope in all of us in Bitef that we are not alone on this journey, and it serves as an assurance that our society has become fully aware of the support the culture needs to receive from business, public figures, diplomates, and politics.”
Greeting the guests, Srđan Šaper, whose company supported Bitef, said: “Bitef is a part of the world in our city, and a part of Belgrade in the world. Bitef is all Belgrade theatres in one, and all the world theatres in Belgrade. Bitef, it is us here, like the citizens of Belgrade, temporary or permanent, as the citizens of the world definitely and forever. That is why supporting Bitef means supporting ourselves to contribute to a better and more generous society, and a more open-minded, smarter, and more noble one, too”.
Svetozar Cvetković’s words stirred everyone’s feelings, and he invited all to join in and lend their support to Bitef which, in his words, is the creator of the “world” which would not exist if, in 1967, Mira and Jovan had not come up with the idea to create the “world” in Belgrade. In the end, he emphasized the importance of that event which gathered eminent Belgrade figures, saying: “The seed of an ambitious Bitef which does not simply exist in order to survive, but to persist as a brave and uncompromising festival, has been planted this year. What kind of tree will grow from the planted good will, the knowledge, and the ambition of the ones managing it depends on all of us! So, let’s give Belgrade a chance, let’s give our hand to Bitef, and everything our heart can grab in that hand.”
Ivan Medenica announced the initiation of Bitef friend club, reflected on the success of 51st Bitef, dropped a hint about what to expect at 52nd Bitef, and announced that on 13th December in Rome, within the Europe Theatre Prize (Premio Europa per il Teatro) event, an international panel-discussion will mark 50th years of Bitef.
Among the guests at first Bitef donor dinner were the ambassador of Montenegro, the ambassador of Switzerland, representatives of the companies Raiffeisen bank, L’Oreal, Ahold-Delhaize, Telekom Srbija, Coca Cola HBC Srbija, Color Press Group, Fox, Carnex, Wiener Städtische insurance, painters Uroš Đurić, Vuk Vidor Veličković, actors Svetozar Cvetković, Tamara Vučković, Slaven Došlo, Isidora Minić, Branka Pujić, Maja Šuša, Milan Lučić, Biljana Srbljanović, Robert Čoban, and many others.