Tuesday, 3 September 2019

"Mali" by Antonio Nuić Croatian Candidate for Oscar

ZAGREB, September 3, 2019 - A film titled "Mali" by director Antonio Nuić is this year's Croatian candidate for best foreign film at the 92nd Oscars.

The film is about a drug dealer who is ready to do anything to keep custody of his son after having spent four years in prison.

Mali is a teenager who is about to finish primary school. His mother, Martina, is dying of cancer in hospital and his father, Frenki, has come back from jail a changed man – not exactly leaving his criminal ways behind, but becoming savvier about them. The trouble is that the maternal grandparents will sue Frenki to gain custody of Mali and probably win the case, even though the boy has been doing much better in life since his father got back, improving his grades, behaving better and nurturing his chess skills.

Presenting the nomination, the director Nuić said on Tuesday that making a film is a collective endeavour. However, he highlighted actor Vito Dijak who has the lead role of Mali.

The film's producer, Boris Matiž, recalled that ten years ago they also represented Croatia in the category of Academy Award for Best International Feature Film (Best Foreign Language Film prior to 2020).

It was Nuić's film "Kenjac (Donkey)".

The 92nd Academy Awards ceremony is set for 9 February in Los Angeles.

More film news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Film Festival to Be Held on Croatian Island of Rab on 23-27 August

ZAGREB, August 17, 2019 - The first edition of the Rab Film Festival (RAFF) will be held from 23 to 27 August on that northern Croatian island, with 12 feature and documentary films included in the festival's programme.

The festival will kick off with the Croatian premiere of "Les Miserables" directed by Ladj Ly. This film, which had its world premiere at the last Cannes Film Festival, is a racially charged drama set in the Paris suburb where Victor Hugo wrote his classic novel. The organisers of the RAFF have stated that the film's director Ladj Ly and lead actor Djibril Zonga, will come to Rab for the film's premiere in Croatia.

The audience will be able to watch "Sorry We Missed You" by Ken Loach as well as "Sons of Denmark" by director Ulaa Salim.

The organisers also introduce RAFF as "a festival of investigative movies and documentaries". The screening of the films will take place "several locations in the city, mostly in the charming open-air cinema. Various shows will be provided to please those who like culture-active holidays."

"The visitors will see a display of socially relevant movies and documentaries investigating the global and local issues of present days," according to the information provided on the festival's website.

More news about festivals in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Film about General Ante Gotovina Opens 66th Film Festival in Pula

ZAGREB, July 14, 2019 - The film General by director Antun Vrdoljak was premiered at the start of the 66th edition of the Pula Film Festival on Saturday evening after the opening ceremony which included a fireworks display in Pula's landmark of Arena. Vrdoljak's film is about the life of Croatian war hero general Ante Gotovina who had a crucial role in the 1995 military and police operation Storm when Croatia liberated the largest part of its occupied areas which used to be under the control of rebel Serbs since 1992.

After the showing of the film, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who delivered a speech at that opening ceremony, said that she found the film very emotional. The 2.5-hour film features Goran Višnjić, a Croatian American actor and producer, in the role of General Gotovina.

Before the screening, in her opening speech, the president said that she believed that the film "is not a story of just one deserving man – a general of the victorious Croatian Army Ante Gotovina – this is a story about the Homeland War, but above all the story of the Croatian struggle for human and national freedom."

"This long historical story of ours has many protagonists and deserves many more quality movies," the president concluded, declaring the festival open.

In her speech she also emphasised that "the lasting value of the Pula Film Festival lies in its presentation of contemporary Croatian film production, its diversity and versatility." Therefore, the president awarded the festival the Charter of the Republic of Croatia, for its current work and as an incentive to persevere in the future.

Artists presented themselves and their works on this location, they were judged by experts, but above all by you, the audience of Pula, whose voice always has special importance and value, she added.

At a news conference before the opening ceremony, the Director of the Public Institution Pula Film Festival Gordana Restović thanked all the associates and the Culture Ministry, City of Pula, and the Istria County for their support and assistance to the Festival.

She also said that 110 films would be shown cross 17 venues until 21 July. The Croatian programme includes eight films.

More news about Ante Gotovina can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Turkey Featured at This Year's Pula Film Festival

ZAGREB, June 16 (Hina) - Turkey is the Friend Country of the 66th edition of the Pula Film Festival that will take place in that biggest Istrian city from 13 to 21 July.

"For a number of years, in cooperation with embassies and cultural centres, Pula Film Festival has been organising a section of the International Programme called Friend Country. This year, the cooperation with Turkey will be presented through six contemporary films," the festival says on its web site

One of those six films is the "Dairy Philosopher" comedy directed by Mutif Can Sacinti. The film is about an enthusiast who replaces life in the city with life in the countryside, but soon after receives an offer for his land.

Also the screening of Turkish films includes "Husband Factor" directed by Kivanc Baruonu, which also takes a humorous tone telling a story about a traditional family pressuring a young woman living with her parents to marry.

"The award-winning film Grain (directed by S. Kaplanoglu) is a post-apocalyptic account of a society divided into urban and agricultural zones, where incompatible immigrants suffer from drought and epidemics. The film Blue Bicycle (directed by U. Koreken) is a family drama about a boy who’s saving to buy a bicycle, but is prepared to give up his dream to help a girl in trouble. The drama Fish (directed by D. Zaim) is a story about a fisherman searching for a medicinal fish to help cure his daughter. Telling Tales (directed by B. Aksak) is a romantic comedy about a shy minibus driver whose life changes when he meets a dreamy girl," according to the information published on the festival's website.

The festival organises the showing of all films in Pula's landmark Arena and in the Istrian National Theatre.

More film news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 31 May 2019

Film Producer Branko Lustig Becomes Honorary Citizen of Zagreb

ZAGREB, May 31, 2019 - Film producer and two-time Oscar winner Branko Lustig said on Friday that he was very moved by being awarded the title of an honorary citizen at a special meeting of Zagreb City Assembly on Zagreb City Day observed on May 31.

"I am very touched by this attention and so many of you here. I didn't expect this... I am touched and cannot express what I feel for Zagreb, for this community and particularly toward Mayor Milan Bandić because I always feel that he is not just a mayor but a friend who would do anything for me when it is hardest but also when I fell well," Lustig told reporters after the award ceremony.

Lustig was awarded with the title for his exceptional contribution to promoting the values of a democratic society, the art of film and a culture of understanding between those who are different and in that way Croatia and the City of Zagreb will be in his debt forever.

Lustig was born to a Jewish family in Osijek in 1932. During WWII he was detained in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, weighing only 30 kg when he was freed. Most of his family were killed in concentration camps all over Europe.

He won the Academy Award for best producer in 1993 for Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List" and in 2000 for Ridley Scott's "Gladiator". He donated his "Schindler's List" Oscar to the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem in 2015.

“My number is A 3317. I am a Holocaust survivor. It is a long way from Auschwitz to this stage. I saw many people die and their last words were, ‘Be a witness to my murder. Tell the world how I died Remember,’ Lustig said when he received the Oscar for "Schindler's List," in 1993.

Zagreb is not the first Croatian city to have named Lustig an honorary citizen. Osijek did so in 2010 and Čakovec in 2017. Former Croatian president Franjo Tuđman decorated Lustig in 1994.

In 2014, Lustig was decorated by the president of France and ranked the 29th best film producer of all times by the eminent magazine The Daily Beast.

Since 2008, Lustig has been the president of the Festival of Tolerance - Jewish Film Festival Zagreb.

More Zagreb news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 31 May 2019

Court Rules Zagreb Film Festival to Remain in Europa Cinema

ZAGREB, May 31, 2019 - Zagreb's Commercial Court ordered an interim measure according to which the Zagreb Film Festival (ZFF) organisation is permitted to remain in the Europa cinema for the time being, ZFF reported on Friday.

A day after the last screening was held at the downtown cinema and just before the premises were vacated, Zagreb's Commercial Court delivered an interim measure according to which ZFF does not need to vacate the premises pending a final court decision.

"ZFF still hopes that in the period to come it will manage to establish dialogue with the City authorities and find a solution that will satisfy both sides and above all the citizens of Zagreb and Europa cinema's public," ZFF said.

City authorities in April decided to close the cinema on June 1 for renovations, despite the fact that no such plans exist and strong legal grounds to extend the contract, the cinema claimed then and citizens organised a protest to express their dissatisfaction with the announcement that the popular cinema would be closed.

ZFF sued the City requesting a new lease contract. However, all their attempts to contact City authorities failed.

The suit was filed on the grounds that the lessor was obliged to provide a new lease to the existing tenant if all obligations had been fulfilled until then, which ZFF claims it has proved a number of times.

More Zagreb news about can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Zagreb Film Office to Promote Services to Film Productions

ZAGREB, May 8, 2019 - The newly-established Zagreb Film Office, which will provide comprehensive services to film productions in Zagreb and promote the city, was presented at a news conference on Wednesday.

Zagreb has a long film industry tradition and fantastic locations for film sets, and the city authorities have therefore decided to make yet another step forward in one of the most lucrative industries, said Office head Mia Pećina Drašković.

The purpose of the office is to make the job easier for numerous crews that are making or will be making films in Zagreb and to promote local tourism, she said, adding that the office currently employed three people.

Director Vinko Brešan, who heads Zagreb Film, the institution of which the Zagreb Film Office is part, said that Zagreb had functioned well so far in providing services to the film industry and that now it would function even better.

The establishment of the Zagreb Film Office was supported also by Mayor Milan Bandić and Croatian Audio Visual Centre (HAVC) head Chris Marcich.

Marcich said that there were five film offices in Croatia and that they operated successfully, which, he said, was largely owing to the HAVC's programme of incentives Filming in Croatia, which had been introduced in 2012 and which had yielded excellent results.

More news about filming in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

City of Zagreb to Take Over Europa Cinema on June 1

ZAGREB, April 23, 2019 - The Zagreb city authorities have decided to close down the city's most successful independent cinema, Europa Cinema, despite the lack of a renovation plan and a strong legal basis for the extension of the lease contract held by the Zagreb Film Festival organisation, the cinema's press service said on Tuesday, noting that the cinema would be returned to the city's possession and further management on June 1, but that the leaseholder would continue its legal battle for the cinema.

Recalling that they had asked the city authorities to allow the cinema to continue operating until the start of renovation work and that their request was turned down, as well as that they had proposed their own renovation plans for a number of years, the Zagreb Film Festival and the Propeler Film d.o.o. company said that on June 1 the management of the cinema building would have to be transferred to the city.

The Kino Europa press service also noted that over the past ten years the Zagreb Film Festival and the Propeler Film d.o.o. company had raised the cinema's status to one of the European cinemas with the best programme and that the 120,000 people who had seen its programmes in 2018 testified to its status of an unavoidable place on Zagreb's cultural map.

"The case of Kino Europa is only one in a number of disturbingly similar cases where the city authorities, by ignoring the will of citizens and professionals' demands, are systematically destroying the city's cultural scene. That is why until June 1 we will launch a number of activities to draw the public's attention to the ongoing destruction of culture in Zagreb," the Kino Europa press service said.

The cinema, which turns 94 years old this month has been extremely successful over the last ten years, holding over 14,000 projections with over one million visitors. In 2016, it won the European Best Cinema Award.

The Zagreb city authorities recently decided not to renew the Zagreb Film Festival's lease contract for the cinema, citing plans to renovate the cinema building, located in downtown Zagreb.

More than 2,000 people gathered outside the cinema on April 6 to show support for the cinema’s management.

The management has said that the City is using the guise of renovation to get rid of the cinema’s current management and bring a new tenant in.

The Office of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić has said the cinema will remain an art cinema after the necessary renovation.

More Zagreb news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Film Producer Branko Lustig Becomes Honorary Citizen of Zagreb

The Zagreb City Assembly has decided to name the prominent film producer and double Oscar-winner Branko Lustig as the honorary citizen of Zagreb. Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić submitted the proposal, reports Jutarnji List on April 23, 2019.

Lustig received the tribute for “an extraordinary contribution to the promotion of the values of a democratic society, film art and culture, and mutual understanding.” The proposal also points out that Lustig is the only Croatian winner of two Oscars.

HDZ’s assemblywoman Dubravka Brezak Stamać noted in the debate that Lustig should have been honoured much earlier, and SDP's assemblyman Matej Mišić also supported the decision.

This is not the first such honour for Lustig. He was named as an honorary citizen of Osijek in 2010 and honorary citizen of Čakovec in 2017. In 1994, Lustig was awarded the Order of Trpimir for promoting the international position and reputation of the Republic of Croatia.

In his career, he has received a number of significant international awards. For example, in 2014, the French president awarded him with the knightly order for arts and literature, and he was included among the top 50 best filmmakers of all time.

“My number was A3317. It is a long way from Auschwitz to this stage. Those who died obliged me to keep talking about it," Lustig said after winning Oscar in 1993 as a producer of Schindler's List.

He was born in Osijek in 1932. Because of his Jewish origin, he was detained in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps during the Second World War. Most of his family members perished in concentration camps across Europe, including his grandmother who was killed in a gas chamber and father who was killed in Čakovec. He managed to survive the horrors of the camps. His experience from the camps was embedded in Schindler's List, a film by Steven Spielberg, which convincingly portrayed the painful scenes from concentration camps.

Lustig graduated as an actor at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb in 1955 and started his professional career in Zagreb's Jadran Film, at that time a large film production and distribution company. He was involved in almost all foreign film productions in the former Yugoslavia. He worked as a location manager, assistant director, production assistant and producer, and has played smaller roles in several movies.

In 1988, Lustig moved to the United States, where he continued to build his film career, primarily as a producer. He worked closely with prominent directors Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott and produced many acclaimed and award-winning films, such as Black Hawk Down, Hannibal, Kingdom of Heaven, American Gangster.

Two films from that period – Schindler's List and Gladiator – brought him Oscar and BAFTA awards. He has donated his Academy Award for Schindler's List to the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem.

Since 2008, he has been president of the Festival of Tolerance in Zagreb, which was known until a few years ago as the Jewish Film Festival. It is organised every year in Zagreb, as well as in towns of several other countries of the region.

Translated from Jutarnji List.

More film news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Zagreb's Europa Cinema Receives Letters of Support from Abroad

ZAGREB, April 20, 2019 - Representatives of Croatian and European institutions and professionals, including Slavoj Žižek, Geraldine Chaplin and Claude-Eric Poiroux, have sent letters of support to the former owner of Zagreb's Kino Europa cinema, the Zagreb Film Festival (ZFF) organisation, following the city's decision not to renew its lease contract.

Poiroux, general director of the Europa Cinemas network, regrets that the survival of Kino Europa has been brought into question in the tenth year of its Europa Cinemas membership.

Kino Europa is one of the best and most important cinemas in the Europa Cinemas network, he says in his letter. In 2016, in recognition of the high quality of programming and promotion, it was given the Europa Cinemas award, which put it near the very top of the European film industry, ahead of the network's other 1,078 member-cinemas, he adds.

The team running Kino Europa is widely recognised for their knowledge and professional skills, and their reputation spans far beyond Croatia's borders. The European Commission's favourite location when it comes to events in Zagreb is Kino Europa, Poiroux wrote.

Actress Geraldine Chaplin, who was a guest at last year's ZFF, wrote that she was deeply saddened by the news about Kino Europa's uncertain future.

My husband Pato Castilla and I visited Zagreb and Kino Europa thanks to the Zagreb Film Festival. We were delighted by the architecture and the beauty, the excellent programme and the lively atmosphere of the cinema, a rarity in today's world, which is dominated by multiplexes. Kino Europa is a true cultural heritage, the famed Charlie Chaplin's daughter wrote.

She extended full support to the ZFF team, saying they breathed new life into the old beauty Europa and created the heart of Zagreb's cultural life.

"To break the link between Kino Europa and the ZFF would mean to bring into question the survival of Croatia's capital on that map. We don't need to mention what a hard blow it would be to film culture in Croatia," said the Sarajevo Film Team.

The ZFF was also supported by Simon Popek, programme director of the Ljubljana International Film Festival, notably given the cooperation with the ZFF.

More Zagreb news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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