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On 20 October 2022, a monument to the Serbian great actor Velimir Bata Živojinović was unveiled in front of the Sopot Cultural Centre. The monument, installation of which was announced this summer during the 50th Film Festival in Sopot, is the creation of sculptor Ranko Đanković, and it was unveiled by Miroslav Čučković, manager of the City of Belgrade, and Živorad Milosavljević, president of the Municipality of Sopot. The ceremony was attended by Bata's son Miljko Živojinović, as well as the members of his family.

 

Dragana Čolić, director of the Cultural Centre in Sopot, reminded that Best Actor Award of the biggest cultural event of this municipality and one of the most important film festivals in Serbia bore the name of the famous actor. She emphasized that Živojinović had played over 300 roles on film and television in the most diverse genres and so left an indelible mark on Serbian cinema. Many films had premiered at the Sopot Film Festival, and because of all of the above, there had been a need to pay symbolic tribute to the beloved and respected Bata.  

 

Živorad Milosavljević pointed out that the idea had been to unveil a monument of love and respect for the great artist Velimir Bata Živojinović on the day of Belgrade's liberation from the fascist occupiers. In his speech, he reflected on the life of our great artist, presenting interesting facts, anecdotes and details from his family life and professional work in film.

 

Milosavljević said that Bata had been fully committed to the founding of the film festival and that his efforts had been fruitful, but that he had also been a welcome friend in pub gatherings. His Sopot awards and a world success had been celebrated there, near the Kosmaj Mountain, which had always connected the inhabitants of Sopot and Bata as a special sign and thread of love and togetherness.

 

The president of the Municipality of Sopot expressed his belief that on the bench ‘at Bata’ the memories of great artists who were no longer among us would be evoked, but also that some new life stories of today’s and future youth would be created.

 

‘Bata was an artist and a citizen of the world, a global acting phenomenon, whose film ‘Walter Defends Sarajevo’ is the most seen film in the history of world cinema. Here, where the film festival has been going for half a century, Walter will be on the eternal guard of art and freedom,’ he said.