Friday, 1 July 2022

Ukrainian Films to Be Screened in Croatian Independent Cinemas in July

ZAGREB, 1 July 2022 - At the beginning of July, the Croatian Independent Cinemas Network and Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) will start screening Ukrainian films in independent cinemas throughout Croatia, where visitors will have the opportunity to see three Ukrainian classics and three contemporary productions.

The program will be held until September in more than 20 cinemas. The screenings have been organised in cooperation with the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre.

The three Ukrainian classics that will be shown to the Croatian audience are: "Man with a Movie Camera" from 1929, "Operation Dowry" from 1961 and "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" from 1965. HAVC noted that these masterpieces of Ukrainian cinema are excellent starting points to get to know Ukrainian film culture.

A special partner of the Film Borscht programme is the Ukrainian Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre, and the programme also has a humanitarian character with a fundraising campaign for the centre.

The programme begins in July and in some cinemas it will run through August and September. 

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Croatian Projects and Filmmakers at 2021 Berlin International Film Festival

January 28, 2021 - Croatian projects and filmmakers will have a place at this year's Berlin International Film Festival. 

HRT reports that two Croatian film projects, by the production company Antitalent and author Dora Šustić, have been selected for this year's Berlin International Film Festival, the Croatian Audiovisual Center reported on Wednesday.

This year's 71st edition of the Berlinale is divided into two parts: one held online, from March 1 to 5, and a physical edition planned for June, as part of which the selected films will be shown in cinemas and open-air cinemas.

The drama TV series ‘Maličke’ (Afterparty) is one of ten series presented at the Berlinale co-production fair in the Co-Pro Series section. The author of the series and screenwriter is Dora Šustić, and the producer is Maja Pek-Brünjes from Antitalent.



The story takes place in modern Zagreb, where best friends in their late twenties go through hopeless jobs, unbridled parties, tumultuous relationships, and unconventional relationships, at a time when the Croatian ultra-conservative movement is strengthening.

The protagonist works as a cleaner for a prominent proponent of banning abortion, but when one of her friends gets pregnant and decides to have an abortion, they question their values and change their attitudes.

"Soon the intimate and personal issue becomes a political and ideological issue, and Lucija and her friends must revise their beliefs, friendship, and way of life to fight against shame, chauvinism, and violence," the project announcement said.

The project won the HBO Europe Award for Best Project late last year, after a pitch at the Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn and participation in the Midpoint TV Launch 2020 training program.

Producer Pek-Brünjes said that the selection of the project in the Co-Pro Series is definitely a confirmation of the quality of the scripts, characters, and concepts written by the author, as well as the international potential of the series.

At the Berlinale co-production fair, their task is to find an international presenter, co-producers, and key creative collaborators.

"We want to gather a mostly female team, not only because of the theme of the series but to increase the contribution and raise awareness of the quality of women's creativity in the Croatian and European audiovisual sector," they added.

Dora Šustić is also participating in the platform for networking and training young film professionals, Berlinale Talents, where screenwriter and cinematographer Filip Romac and film critic Dina Pokrajac will present themselves. About 3,000 professionals applied to participate in the platform, and 200 were selected.

As part of the Berlinale Talents, a Short Form Station workshop will take place, where Dora Šustić will participate in the short feature film ‘Bananaribe’ (Bananafishes), where she will be able to work on the script. The project will be presented at the pitch as part of the European Film Market.

According to the author, such workshops are a wonderful opportunity to learn, but also to network and get to know other people's stories and preoccupations:

"You learn everything, and you meet a lot of people. I am most looking forward to that. We’ll see how that works in virtual space this year," she argued.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Sunday, 11 October 2020

'Dislocation' Awarded Best Virtual Reality Film at Ottawa Festival

ZAGREB, October 11, 2020 - "Dislocation", a film by Veljko and Milivoj Popovic, has been awarded Best Virtual Reality project at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, one of the most important in the world, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre has said.

"Dislocation" problematizes fear stemming from the forced removal of people from their homes due to cataclysmic events, offering a visual experience of the emotions that take hold when people find themselves in extremely dire circumstances. The film follows the protagonist around various locations, from a beach on the coast of Greece, a desert on the Mexico-US border, to a forest in the Balkans.   

"This powerful and timely narrative captures the fear and desperation experienced by many refugees. Having the narrative be driven by the physical act of stepping into this person’s experience and fragmenting memories of home, made the experience feel that much more potent, especially at a time where many countries are becoming increasingly hostile and antipathetic towards refugees and immigrants," the jury said in a statement.

Veljko and Milivoj Popovic’s project was created using 2D and 3D animation and motion capture technology, in collaboration with dancer Alen Celic and choreographer Nikolina Dolfic.

"Dislocation" was produced by the Croatian Prime Render studio in co-production with the French company Bagan Films.

The Ottawa International Animation Festival was held from September 23 to October 4.

In addition to "Dislocation", the Croatian animated short "Cockpera", directed by Kata Gugic, was screened in the student film competition.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Croatian Filmmakers Vrdoljak: Debts for Failed 'General' Film

Goran Navojec and Mustafa Nadarević are among the most famous names on a list of people and companies to whom the producers, Antun and Andrija Vrdoljak, of the failed Croatian film and TV series ‘General’ are indebted.

Navojec agreed to speak publicly in a written statement to Vladimir Matijanić/Index on January 10, 2020; and Mustafa Nadarević confirmed his claims.

Unpaid production debts are dragging on for ‘General’ even though producers had a massive budget compared to other Croatian productions. Croatian Radio Television (HRT) alone gave them 9.6 million HRK (1.3 million EUR), the Croatian Audiovisual Center provided 4.2 million HRK (565,000 EUR), and Index wouldn't dare assume how much the Ministry of Defense and numerous local government units, which are credited in the series, paid them or how they provided assistance. Index also contacted the Ministry of Defense regarding the cost of filming ‘General’ and will provide their response if and when they receive it.

It’s worth pointing out that that Vrdoljak was credited as a screenwriter, director and co-producer. Second in line is Goran Višnjić, who enjoyed considerable success in the United States and played Ante Gotovina in the film and series. The executive producer is Antun's son, Andrija Vrdoljak, and the series and film were credited to Kiklop film, along with Croatian Radio and Television. According to court records, the owners of Kiklop film are also Antun and Andrija Vrdoljak, the latter of whom is credited as director.

Navojec: My Relationship with Producers Will End in Court

Here's what Navojec wrote to Index about Vrdoljak's debts.

"My relationship with the producers of the movie and TV series ‘General', or Kiklop film, will unfortunately finish in court because two-and-a-half years after filming ended, and an equally long payment deadline, I still have not been paid a portion of my fees. I was paid a part of my fee after a two year wait. My esteemed colleague and friend, Mr. Mustafa Nadarević, veteran of Croatian cinema and theater, is still waiting for his payment. There are also others waiting too and they are not actors: Gripfilm company, in charge of stage effects; Mario Knezović, co-producer in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Ivan Maloča of Interfilm, whose cameras filmed ‘General,’” Navojec wrote to us.


"It's About Croatian Taxpayer Money"

"It is incomprehensible to me that those in charge of the HRT and HAVC publicly funded joint project, which at one time had received a designation of project of state importance, treat their associates this way by not paying them. Because taxpayer money is involved, I think it is time to speak up regarding this topic. Neither HRT nor HAVC are legally responsible for this situation because we all signed a contract with Kiklop film, but the responsibility of the producer is in question as well as the mechanism for monitoring the spending of public funds.

“If they release my work into the public domain at home and abroad without fulfilling my financial obligations, or the obligations of those without whom there would have been no final product, then we are all in serious trouble. After two years, and in good faith, I communicated regularly with the producer and patiently considered their reasons for the late payment, which were mainly directed towards HRT and HAVC. The producers were supposedly expecting a payment of settlement funds from them, but I eventually decided to resolve the issue through legal means and filed a motion for payment enforcement based on a credible document. An enforcement order was issued and then the producer lodged an unfounded complaint on the same grounds, solely because of the reason for payment delay," Navojec writes in a statement.

Index contacted everyone mentioned in Navojac's statement and they have confirmed his allegations. Nadarević agreed to allow Index to mention his name, while Knezović, Maloča and Siladi from Gripfilm provided more specific details. Knezović received 20,000 EUR from the Bosnian Cinematography Foundation and spent 48,000 EUR which the producers were aware of. He eventually had to cover the excess costs himself. Gripfilm claims an unpaid bill of 420,000 HRK (56,500 EUR) and has initiated foreclosure proceedings, but Maloča refused to say how much the Vrdoljaks owe him, "certainly more than 100,000 HRK (13,400 EUR)," he claims.

Vrdoljak Team and HAVC Won’t Talk, HRT Saying Little

Index sent Andrija Vrdoljak an email which he did not respond to. They also called him, but he didn’t answer, just like his father, Antun Vrdoljak. So far, the Croatian Audiovisual Center (HAVC) has not responded to Index's emails, and Index has asked whether the producer of ‘General’ has provided them with a final financial report. HRT, however, decided to provide a short reply:

"HRT has nothing to do with the relationship between the producer of Kiklop film and HAVC. HRT fulfilled its obligations to an independent producer and acquired the right to use the work and broadcast the work in accordance with the acquired rights. The independent producer provided a spending statement," which indicates that they are the only party who doesn’t have an objection to ‘General’.

HRT Claimed that ‘General’ Would be ‘Very Well Received by Audience’

Just over three years ago, people from HRT were much more talkative. Their website also contains information on signing the contract with Kiklop film for filming the movie and television series ‘The General’, based on the screenplay by Antun Vrdoljak, which is based on the book by Nenad Ivankovic ‘Warrior, Adventurer and General’. The contract was signed by Andrija Vrdoljak and Siniša Kovačić, then acting director-general of HRT.

Kovačić remarked that, upon his arrival at the helm of HRT, "for some reason this project was not among the most important, but during our initial meetings we decided to change that. This is an extremely important project for us," Kovačić emphasized, and the visionary predicted that ‘General’ would "be very well received by the audience because of the strong writing team behind the script and direction team, which have already produced numerous blockbuster films and TV series."

Kovačić left HRT, in the meantime, and ‘General’ has proven to be a total artistic and financial failure. And HRT, regardless of that failure, is still broadcasting it during prime-time hours.

“This is Croatia,” Index concludes.

Check out our Lifestyle page to follow the releases, successes, failures and unpaid debts of films made in Croatia.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Ridley Scott’s TV Series, Filmed in Croatia, Ready for Premiere

ZAGREB, March 28, 2018 - A new Ridley Scott- produced film series, The Terror, shot on the Croatian island of Pag in April 2017, will have the world premiere on the AMC cable network on March 29, the Croatian Audio Visual Centre (HAVC), which provided incentives for the project, said on Wednesday.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Two Croatian Co-Productions in the Competition for an Oscar Award

Two Croatian minority co-productions, the Icelandic-Danish-Croatian film "Sparrows" by Runar Rúnarsson and the Slovenian-Croatian feature-documentary film "Houston, We Have a Problem!" by Žiga Virc, were selected as the national candidates for the 89th Academy Awards - Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the category of "Best Foreign Language Film".

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Two Croatian Co-Productions in the Competition for an Oscar Award

Two Croatian minority co-productions, the Icelandic-Danish-Croatian film "Sparrows" by Runar Rúnarsson and the Slovenian-Croatian feature-documentary film "Houston, We Have a Problem!" by Žiga Virc, were selected as the national candidates for the 89th Academy Awards - Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the category of "Best Foreign Language Film".