The Festival of knowledge 2013.

The idea of the Festival of Knowledge jumped out of my mind in the early days of july 2013. The format was created to help people in remote places to obtain knowledge and skills that were not available otherwise. One had to travel at least to the capital or other cities to attend lessons or to listen to speakers. Fortunately or not, this part of the region where it all started is pretty undeveloped and has been left out of any similar happenings for a long time. There was this initial presentation of the project FEZ13 in the town of Županja the 22.nd of July, and as one of our speakers said it was a jaw-dropping experience for many of the attendants of the presentation.




The FEZ13 project was presented as a development tool which serves local communities, educates the local population, gives new possibilities for all business that apply to the project. We can all agree it is a bold idea to just jump out of nowhere and create a whole week happening.


First I was looking for people crazy enough to follow me in this effort, and I found some like Mladen Tomić, Vedran Džinić and Zoran Filipović, each of them helped in their own way and according to their possibilities. So, as it was started from the scratch and in the worst possible time, july-august (when everybody is on vacation) and we could just forget about big sponsors. I know that this kind of projects require a 6-8 months preparation, time that we didn't have, as well as money or anything else.

Then, somehow I managed with Mladen to register the FEZ13 association, it was August the 13th when we collected all the necessary papers and exactly 13 days later we received the registration notice, now all we had to do was to get our bank account and begin with mailing the people and institutions of our interest. It was not before the 13th of September that we had all the green lights necessary to stand out as an Organization and nothing before this date had any value. (we could e-mail people and inform them about the project but we couldn't request funding for there was this lack of a bank account previous to the mentioned date).

Our e-mail list included, all major state firms dealing with renewable energy, all Croatian EU parliament members, more than 70 embassies in Croatia, a big number of other businesses and crafts from the region. Some replied, some did not. We managed to collect 4000 kn in donations to the project. (a little more than 500€) All our speakers replied and agreed to help us, some with a symbolic refund some completely free of charge.

Meanwhile, I created the website and activated, created & managed all social media channels. Still, as there was lack of funds, the project couldn't afford to advertise on social networks in a serious way. Many who said they'll help just backed up and others came in to help by recognizing the value of such an event. Mostly we found little or no response from the institutions, local and those of the state. It all seemed like everybody thought this was just another publicity spin or a joke. Anyhow, the FEZ13 project kept going on. It was again me who had to create most of the necessary things like designing flyers, the booklet, passes, posters, program etc...

Then it was already the 19th of October and in the early afternoon the Opel official cars arrived, so we thought this would at least make some difference and we would gain some more of the interest from the locals. The opening evening was pretty scary, we managed to present and screen 2 movies from the SKIG - studio for creative ideas of Gunja and as previously invited we were expecting the local high-schools to attend and to be our guests in promoting the many awards winning studio made by elementary and high-school students, sadly no-one came on Sunday. The next day I had an interview for the local radio station and some interest was shown, curious people came to learn pottery and other crafts from the domain of culture&heritage.

Monday was all about the Center of Personal Power from Osijek with miss Ivana Plačko and the Columna language school - Vinkovci (for pre-school children) Now, those who came to see what was going on were perplexed about the low interest and were also complaining about the locals (to mention that 4 of us were constantly talking about the project for 2 and a half months, explaining it in details in every possible occasion, day and night). We didn't complain simply because our job was ongoing and everything was pretty smooth, mostly we were explaining that this format does not need large crowds but rather the presence of a camera and devoted speakers along with workshops for 10-20 people, so one if unable to attend could watch it later and still have the opportunity to grasp the lecture.

Tuesday beside the workshops we had the city amateur theater performing a play for our festival and it was well announced in the local media, on Wednesday we had the archaeology of the Županja region where we hoped to film the whole day with the local museum and their 60th anniversary but unfortunately they decided that we were not their targeted and competent (skilled) audience, so they didn't come. Thursday was the business day along with other whole week workshops our guests were the local regional development agency Hrast from the nearby Vinkovci and the ladies talked about EU-Funds, Regional Development and institutional projects as those from the EU for high-schools, businesses etc, also we still expected somebody from those high-schools but their interest was elsewhere. I'll never get tired of repeating that most of this project applies just for high-school kids and their staff.

Then Friday came and it was a bit better, with speakers from Germany and the FER- University of Zagreb as well with the hairstyle professionals of the Polypus Studio (education). Saturday, our big day started with Breda Bizjak of the BB-Architects of Ljubljana - Slovenia and she talked about 'ambient of riversides: Paris-Ljubljana-Bucarest', then Miroslav Ambruš-Kiš from the Synergy Moon Team (competing in the Google Lunar X prize project) with his lecture Space 2.0 , as we were waiting to have it all filmed on camera our friend from the (Otvorena Mrteža / Open Network) had to fall out of the schedule, and we're sorry for that Valent Turković. It was already 7:30pm and our guest Dr.Sem Osmanagich arrived, there we had around 270-300 people in the crowd (as the theater has 500+ seats). The lecture on the Pyramids of the world took a bit longer so we all moved to the nearby restaurant Sava for dinner.

The FEZ13 26.10. Saturday was a great day and I have to say in rare occasions there was so many great people from different countries and all united by one single idea that cached their attention. An enormous thank to Dr.Semir Osmanagich and his wife Sabina for the privilege and honor of visiting us in this remote place, also I must thank my friend Breda Bizjak who i saw for the first time 'live' our is a 3 year ONLINE friendship, many many thanks to Miroslav Ambruš-Kiš who brought the great project of the Synergy Moon Team, and to Ivan Voras who showed us how in one and a half century humans evolved in the fields of communications, presenting us with one better future ahead, eye-opening. Thanks a lot to Martin Kovačević from dB Design who presented the human creativity in action. Here I must say also thanks to Boomker for the equipment and to Duje who saved our 'sorry ass' with microphones and probably the star of sathurday our 'man at camera' Anton Papić for making this dream come true, if it was without videos, it would be half the fun and half the goal.

Sunday started already at 11am with the Zumba Club Girls performing live on stage. At 3 pm the second part of the Polypus Studio hairstyling education till 7 pm and again Dr.Sem Osmanagich with the 'Energy of the pyramids' - this was also the closing of the festival. Note: As no-one took us seriously in consideration, the intent was to have a regular opening and 2 moderators of the whole program, local bands, folklore and many more workshops in collaboration with the touristic board, other associations as well to have the closing party as a 'pre-halloween party'.

This all came out of one single idea in July, mostly carried out by 2 guys and a few helpers, a lot of good will and of course with all the help we could have from the speakers, associations, businesses and individuals who joined and gave their contribution.

Who helped:

  • The Škrinjica Association - Vinkovci
  • Tourist Board of Županja City of Županja (The Mayor)
  • Ruža Tomašić - Eu Parliament (donation)
  • ŠKZ-Jamstvo (donation)
  • Ivica Keramika local craft - ceramics (donation)
  • Carbon 4 (Austria) (donation)
  • Ilok Vinery
  • Ožujsko
  • special guests (red bull - promotion)
  • Opel AutoWill Vinkovci
  • Vinko Jovanovac - Photographer (thx for the amazing photos!)
  • Florist Camellia Nova (decoration of the main stage and our temporary office)
  • Boomker

Now to conclude, this was the first edition and we have some bills to pay yet. It is not as much as one could think considering all that has been done. Soon all will be settled. Let's say if we don't consider the web, the administration, designs, the 24/7 running around, the real cost of what the event has to pay is less than 2000€.

Once again, thanks to all who came to see what was this about, thanks to all who trusted us and stay tuned. 

Love 4 all

The FEZ13