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Film Production Design

10 - 27 June 2015

Opening ceremony: Wednesday, 10 June 2015 at 19:00, Museum of Applied Art

The exhibition will be opened by: Goran Marković, director

Curator of the exhibition and catalogue editor: Slobodan Jovanović, MAA

Organized by: Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade


Veljko Despotović (1931–2013) was one of the most prominent Yugoslav and Serbian film production designers. He collaborated not only with the great names of the world and domestic film industry, but also with the authors whose debut films were made complete with his decorations. During his studies and upon graduating from the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade, he worked as an assistant and then chief production designer on a large number of Yugoslav films and international film co-productions, as well as on several dozen projects for Television Belgrade. The first half of his career was shown at the exhibition “Veljko Despotović – Film Set-design” which was held within the Salon of the Museum of Applied Art in 1979. In addition to the significance of the exhibited works, the significance of the text written by Vlastimir Gavrik in the exhibition catalogue, being one of the most comprehensive essays on the topic of film production design in our country, should be emphasised as well. Therefore, this text has seen its reprinted, abridged edition in the catalogue of the retrospective exhibition about Veljko Despotović.

The retrospective exhibition “Veljko Despotović – Film Production Design” is held, as in 1979, within the Salon of Contemporary Applied Art of the Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade. It displays Despotović’s preserved sketches, photographs and technical drawings for the production design of the films he worked on, as well as the digital review of the photographs taken on film sets. However, as Vlastimir Gavrik wrote in the exhibition catalogue from 1979, it was necessary to watch the entire film whose production design was created by Despotović in order to make a judgement on the significance that those design sketches and drawings had to the success of production design of every individual film. As a confirmation of the quality of his production design, Despotović received several dozen acknowledgements and awards, including the following: “Silver Arena” in Pula in 1979, “Golden Arena” in Pula in 1984, “Golden Mimosa” in Herceg Novi in 2002, 2003 and 2004, as well as the Serbian Fipresci Award for the best production design in 2009 and 2014. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award of ULUPUDS1.

Throughout his whole career, Veljko Despotović was tirelessly researching and archiving the photographs of sites, postcards, historical data and newspaper clippings, customs, as well as a variety of props for the films he was planning to work on. The retrospective exhibition “Veljko Despotović – Film Production Design” shows the design sketches that were mostly created until the nineties of the last century, when production conditions were immeasurably better than these today. Unfortunately, some of his drafts and projects were not used, and some of the films were not realised either. This is particularly the case with the projects planned during the nineties. An immense debt of gratitude for the insight into this archive we owe to Gina Despotović, Veljko’s life companion, without whose patience and goodwill this exhibition would be impossible, as well as to Veljko’s associate Željko Antović, who has participated in the exhibition’s conceptualisation and its realisation.

1 prim. prev. ULUPUDS = Udruženje likovnih umetnika primenjenih umetnosti i dizajnera Srbije (abbreviation for The Association of Applied Arts Artists and Designers of Serbia).

Slobodan Jovanović

Selection of works
It Rains in My Village, 1968
Anno Domini 1573, 1974
The Man to Destroy, 1977
The Man to Destroy, 1978
13th of July, 1981
Great Transport, 1981
Great Transport, 1982
Crusoe, 1986
Crusoe, 1986
Mare largo, 1997
Photographs from the opening ceremony

Author of the photographs: Veselin Milunović

Veljko Despotović - Film Production Design