The grand finale of the Fortress of Peace programme arch will mark the premiere of the first film saga about Novi Sad – ’Liberta – The Birth of a City’. The first screening of this unique achievement in Serbian cinematography, signed by directors Gvozden Đurić and Žanko Tomić, is scheduled for 17 July at the Petrovaradin Fortress, when viewers will experience the adventure of peaceful liberation of Novi Sad and gaining the status of a free royal city.
‘Liberta’ is an epic film that shows the city of Novi Sad and Vojvodina as a space where Serbian culture and tradition are most closely intertwined with the European ideals and challenges of that time. The historic trip to the Viennese court, where negotiations were supposed to enable the purchase of the city and its peaceful liberation, turned into an exciting film drama about how residents of Petrovardin Šanac (today’s Novi Sad) come together across national and ethnic lines to establish Liberta, a secret association to fight for freedom and for independent civic governance and finally, after a series of travails, without shed blood, achieved freedom for their city.
How will craftsmen who are not accustomed to fighting with bandit gangs and the infamous Sekula Vitković, who persecute them along the way, get to Vienna? And how will they then, as complete outsiders, break through the labyrinth of state administration and court to the supreme empress, Maria Theresa?
Obstructed by spies from the Military Garrison, corrupt state secretaries and the Catholic Church, persistent representatives reach the Empress through a series of difficulties and, despite the opposition of her advisers, gain her affection. On 1 February 1748, Maria Theresa issued a charter by which the Petrovaradin Šanac was included in the ranks of free royal cities. She determined that its name should be NeoPlantea (Neoplanta), Hungarian – Uj-Videgh (Ujvidek), German – Neu-Satz (Nojzac), which the Serbs translated as Novi Sad, and the Greeks as Neophytes. The city was given the right to its own administrative bodies and court, as well as its independent government in the form of a mayor and a magistrate composed of 12 senators.
The citizens of Novi Sad won their freedom on their own and, most importantly, they did so in a peaceful way. That is how the new plant – Novi Sad emerged from peace, and we will watch the story about it for the first time in the year when the city bears the title of European Capital of Culture.
Photo: Maja Medić