Želimir Žilnik (b.1942, Yugoslavia) is an artist-filmmaker from Novi Sad, Serbia. In his highly prolific career, Žilnik has made over 50 feature and short films, which have been exhibited internationally at film festivals including Berlin, Toronto, Rotterdam, London, Moscow and Oberhausen. From the late 60s, his socially engaged films in former Yugoslavia earned him accolades, but also censorship in the 70s and the 90s for his unflinching criticism of the government apparatus. His power to observe and unleash compelling narratives out of the lives of ordinary people is the common thread throughout his work. Recently, Žilnik has been the subject of major career retrospectives at Cinemateca Argentina, 2018; Mar del Plata Int. Film Festival, 2017; Anthology Film Archive, New York & Harvard Film Archive, 2017; Ankara Int. Film Festival, 2016; DocLisboa, 2015; Arsenal, Berlin, 2015; Int. Film Festival, St. Petersburg, 2015; Cinusp, Sao Paulo, 2014; Thessaloniki Int. Film Festival, 2014, etc. Since 2010, his work has been featured in programs of art galleries, museums and art institutes around the world (documenta, Kassel, Germany; Sharjah Biennial, UAE; Venice Biennale, Italy; ICA London & Nottingham Contemporary, UK; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA; Museum Moderner Kunst, MUMOK, Wien, Austria; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, MACBA, Spain; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, Mexico, etc.). Recently, WHW has curated series of Žilnik exhibitions Shadow Citizens (Edit Russ Haus, Oldenbur; Gallery Nova, Zagreb, 2019) which spans five decades of Žilnik’s career revolving around several of his feature-length films, which anchor numerous short films and excerpts from longer works.

Masterclass with Želimir Žilnik
November 23, 2018

In a dialogue with the exhibition Shadow Citizens at the Gallery Nova, organized in clusters of interconnected themes that run through Žilnik’s opus and relate to the concept of shadow citizens, such as questions of shadow economies, borders, migration, labor, terrorism, revolutionary fatigue, clashes of parallel modernisms, and more, Želimir Žilnik looks into his particular method of filmmaking in different production contexts, as well as into the evolving relations to protagonists of his films.

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