Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Croatian Film ''Murina'' Selected for Cannes Film Festival!

June 8, 2021 - The Croatian film ''Murina'',  directed by Dubrovnik-born Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović on her feature-length debut, has been selected for the prestigious Cannes Film Festival!

As reported by Gloria.hr, and confirmed by the Croatian director Antoneta Alamat-Kusijanović, it is a great day for Croatian cinema as a Croatian film will return to Cannes. Her feature-length debut film ''Murina'' was selected in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs. It is the second collaboration between Antoneta and the star of the film, Gracia Filipović, who was also the protagonist in her short film ''Into the Blue'', which won a special jury award at the Berlinale in 2017. The Croatian film ''Murina'' was shot in the Croatian islands.


Director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović and her 18-year old star, Gracia Filipović

The Croatian film "Murina" is a family drama about sixteen-year-old Julia. Her tense relationship with the oppressive father Ante reaches a breaking point when an old family friend arrives at their home on an isolated Croatian island. While his father tries to make a deal with him, the charismatic guest offers Julia freedom from her militaristic existence and arouses her revolt towards her family. During a weekend filled with high expectations, Julia drags her family into a dangerous whirlpool of passion and violence.

''Into the Blue'', the first collaboration between director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović and actress Gracia Filipović

Along with experienced actors, Leon Lučev from Šibenik, Danica Curcic from Denmark, and Cliff Curtis from New Zealand, the 18-year-old Gracia Filipović from Dubrovnik has the main role in "Murina". An excellent steppe dancer and an excellent swimmer, Gracia has already collaborated with Antoneta, together they made the short film "Into the Blue", which won a special jury award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2017, but also the Heart of Sarajevo for best film at the Sarajevo Film Festival.


Director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović on the set of ''Murina''. (Photo: Mario Topić)

Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović is a Dubrovnik director with a degree from the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Arts. She completed her postgraduate studies in film directing at Columbia University in New York and was also the first Croatian scholarship holder of the Cinefondation, a program to support the Cannes Film Festival to talented directors from all over the world.

"Murina" was produced by the Zagreb production company Antitalent and producer Daniel Peka, as well as the powerful Brazilian producer RT Features and the American Sikelia, backed by Oscar-winner Martin Scorsese. The film will be premiered in Cannes, as announced by director Antoneta Alamat-Kusijanović on an Instagram post.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s Cannes Film Festival was not held in its traditional May term, but films in the city on the Cote d’Azur will be screened from 6 to 17 July. And in its 74th edition, Cannes will show that it is the center of the film world. It will be opened by the long-awaited musical by Leos Carax "Annette" starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, and the main guest of the opening will be the American actress Jane Fonda, who will be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.


Director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović on the set of ''Murina''. (Photo: Mario Topić)

Quinzaine des Réalisateurs is a program organized by the French Association of Film Directors during the Cannes Film Festival. Launched back in 1969, it has crystallized over the years as perhaps the best representative of the new voices of world cinema. Oscar-winner Martin Scorsese also began his breakthrough in world cinema after showing the now cult film "Streets of Evil" starring Robert DeNiro in Cannes in 1974. Croatian cinema also has a long history with the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs program. Krsto Papić's "Foxes" was shown here in 1970, and Vatroslav Mimica's "Peasant Revolt", in 1976.

For everything you need to know about filming in Croatia, in your language, be sure to check Total Croatia's page.

For more made in Croatia news, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Balduči Film Delivers Great Success for Croatian Tourist Productions Again

June 1, 2021 - In addition to the 22 awards received last year, the production company Balduči Film was honored with two more recognitions at the International Tourist Film Festival Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, for its two most recent productions.

In recent years, Croatia has positioned itself as one of the favorite locations to shoot big-budget series and movies for international production companies, and not only because of its unique landscapes or architecture, but also because of the flexibility that exists when it comes to obtaining permits and licenses.


The Balduči Film crew, behind the scenes of ''CROATIA YOUR NEXT FILMING DESTINATION''

The Croatian production company, Balduči Film, has been carrying the banner of promoting Croatian film locations and additionally position Croatia as an attractive country on the map of world production centers. Thus, in collaboration with the Croatian National Tourism Board, they produced the tourist film called ‘‘CROATIA YOUR NEXT FILMING DESTINATION’’, to achieve that goal by showing almost entirely the main attractions of each region and city in the country.


Additionally, Balduči Film produced the film ''Rijeka - I miss you'' together with the Rijeka tourist board, to promote the city of Kvarner Bay as the European Capital of Culture in 2020. The film, which evokes strong emotions of nostalgia and highlights the main attractions of the city such as Trsat Castle, Korzo, St. Vitus Cathedral, the National Theater or its Carnival, was written and produced by Spomenka Saraga, directed by Herve Tirmache, and edited by Jalil Armi, who also served as a cameraman.

Rijeka - I miss you, by Balduči Film

The efforts behind both productions were worth it since, in addition to various awards received previously in other international festivals, both films won awards at the International Tourist Film Festival Africa, held last week in Cape Town, South Africa. It is the first festival to be held live this year, but unfortunately due to the situation with the pandemic, the production company Balduči Film couldn’t assist. 

The films were awarded two big prizes. The film CROATIA YOUR NEXT FILMING DESTINATION won gold for the Best Film in the category Tourist product - Film locations, and the promotional film Rijeka - I miss you won silver in the category Tourist destination - City.


Behind the scenes of ''Rijeka - I miss you''

However, despite not being able to receive the awards in person, the celebrations at home were not postponed among the creative team. One of the most excited was Spomenka Saraga, writer and producer of the film Rijeka - I miss you

“We are extremely proud of the success of our films and we must take this opportunity to boast that we have won 22 awards worldwide in 2020; from the USA where we won a total of six awards (among others the award for the Best camera and Best tourist film), at the largest tourism fair ITB in Berlin, at the jubilee 20th edition of The Golden City Gate Silver Awards, in Viseu (Portugal) two first places, in Riga, Istanbul, etc.’’, said Spomenka, naming some of the several awards received. "When we add up these two awards from the Republic of South Africa, we won a total of 24 awards.’’, she added.

The Cape Town festival received 865 entries from 97 countries this year, and the works of some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, and production companies from around the world were awarded.

For everything you need to know about filming in Croatia, in your language, be sure to check Total Croatia's page.

For more made in Croatia news, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Croatian Film Experiences Become Scientific Study Subject

Croatian film experiences are now being looked into in the form of a scientific study. As Novac writes on the 14th of July, 2020, the prestigious British publisher of scientific literature, Routledge, has published a monumental edition dedicated to the interdependence of tourism and the media entitled "The Routledge Companion to Media and Tourism".

This particular edition, aimed at universities around the world and tourism and media industry workers, provides a comprehensive overview of media and tourism convergence research, with particular emphasis placed on the concept of mediated tourism. The publication was edited by eminent scientists in the field: Maria Månsson, Annæ Buchmann, Cecilia Cassinger and Lena Eskilsson. The book brought together leading scientists dealing with this issue from around the world. It also brings with it numerous case studies from the practice of a number of countries, with the world of film playing a special role.

Among the authors of the chapter are Croatian scientists prof. dr. sc. Božo Skoko and doc. dr. sc. Katarina Miličević, who have both dealt with the topic of film-induced tourism on the example of Croatia under the title Challenges of film-induced tourism in Croatia: From Winnetou to Game of Thrones. Namely, Croatia as an alluring tourist destination has been recognised for decades as a prime filming location, where a number of popular films and series were shot. As such, Croatian film and TV tourism plays a pivotal role.

However, much like many other things, the country has undercapitalised Croatian film tourism so many of the facts surrounding it remain largely unknown. In order to further improve audio-visual production, Croatia established the Croatian Audiovisual Centre public institution back in 2008, and in order to use the film in international promotion, in 2013, it adopted a special Croatian film tourism strategy.

Based on the efforts of HAVC, a number of productions were filmed in Croatia, such as Game of Thrones and Star Wars in Dubrovnik. The paper analyses the advantages and disadvantages of film-induced tourism for the identity and image of the destination. The authors also analyse the example of Croatia look into what type of film production is used to promote the destination, and what efforts are needed to capitalise on it. It also delves deeper into what situations the promotion of the destination through film can cause confusion among tourists and actually damage the destination's image. The authors have been dealing with the brand and image of tourist destinations for many years now, but also the country as a whole.

Skoko is a professor at the Department of Strategic Communication at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, and one of the first researchers of the phenomenon of the brand and the image of the state in this area. He is also the co-founder of the leading Croatian communication management agency - Millenium promocija. Miličević is an assistant professor at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and the Zagreb School of Economics and Management, as well as a partner in the global consulting company "Horwath HTL Zagreb". In addition, she is the director and co-founder of the company "thinktourism".

Thanks to the scientific study of the Croatian approach and the engagement of Croatian scientists internationally, there is no doubt that Croatian film experiences will become an inspiration to many around the world, but also an incentive for domestic institutions to better use the raw power of film in Croatia's international positioning in the future.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Croatian Society of Film Critics: The Show Must Go On!

April 23, 2020 - The Croatian Society of Film Critics published their "The Show Must Go On" publication, to remind the public that movies are still being made, still being watched, and that they remain relevant even during these "shaky" times of the pandemic and international insecurity. 

The publication is a collection of selected texts written by the members of the Society, written in 2018 and 2019, available in both English and Croatian. Hrvoje Puškec, the director of the Society explains why the publication has been created, and why the Society felt it was necessary to publish it at this particular moment:

"The project you're looking at started at a time when our biggest concerns were the failure of the most expensive Croatian film since independence, the stagnation of funds for complementary film activities and the diminishing presence of film criticism in the media. Then, after the earthquakes have shaken nearly a quarter of Croatia’s population and in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, those worries seem like a jest. We don't know what awaits us, but it's clear that the cultural sector will end up poorly in the new cards shuffling. It always does. New problems will not erase the old ones but will aggravate them, and therefore: in the time of ‘Infection’—‘The Show Must Go On’! The world will not stop, neither should we."

The Croatian Society of Film Critics, just like the Croatian public in general, is facing reduced media coverage when it comes to film. At the same time, there are more films being made than ever before; there is no cultural, media or social platform nowadays that doesn't count on film. So, the film is everywhere, and yet, paradoxically enough, it appears that contemplating film is no longer amusing to the general audiences. Are the critics writing about the films in which the public is not interested? Have the viewers stopped expecting films to offer reality-decoding algorithms? Has cinema given up? Have the audiences? It is impossible to provide an unambiguous answer to these and any other (film-related) questions. What we can be certain about is that film makes for a perfect document of a time, and as such represents both an extraordinary potential and a platform for reflecting on our surroundings, reality and the moment.

Especially when we're talking about the Croatian cinema, which is barely seen in Croatia, let alone abroad. The reasons are numerous, but certainly one of the most important ones is that there is very little coverage of it, especially in the English language. Even when the Croatian film scene gets discussed out in the great wide world, it is predominantly done by foreign critics and press. For all of those reasons, the Croatian Society of Film Critics has decided to make this bilingual publication happen.

More about the publication here, and you can download the .pdf of it in English here.

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.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Croatian Producer Ankica Jurić Tilić to Receive Eurimages Award

This year’s prestigious Eurimages Co-Production Award will be presented to successful Croatian film producer Ankica Jurić Tilić at a ceremony at the European Film Academy in Berlin on December 7th.

This award highlights the importance of co-production partnerships in fostering international dialogue and the contributions of women to the success of film co-productions. The prize is awarded by Eurimages, a Council of Europe cultural assistance fund established in 1988. Since its inception, Eurimages has financially supported 2047 co-productions totaling around € 597 million.

Ankica Jurić Tilić graduated in comparative literature and French language and literature from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb and has over 25 years of professional experience.

In 2003, she founded the Kinorama production company, along with two partners. While Kinorama's artistic team is equally composed of new and established talent; special attention is given to first time directors and new voices. Kinorama’s projects are regularly presented at numerous international production markets and developed at film workshops.

As a producer, Ankica has 30 feature film credits, several TV series and many short films. Her most recent Eurimages-backed feature films are: Ne gledaj mi u pijat (Quit Staring at My Plate) - Hana Jušić (Fedeora Award at Venice Days 2016, more than 30 film awards, and Croatian nominee for Oscar) and Zvizdan (The High Sun) - Dalibor Matanić (Jury Award in the Un Certain Regard Cannes Film Festival 2015, 30 film Awards, LUX Prize nomination, and Croatian nominee for Oscar).

Among Kinorama’s recent co-productions are Eurimages-backed films: Izbrisana (Erased) - Miha Mazzini and Dušan Joksimović, Teret (The Load) - Ognjen Glanović, Zora (The Dawn) - Dalibor Matanić and Illyricum - Simon Bogojević Narath.

Ankica is a graduate and lecturer at the international professional school EAVE - European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs, a member of ACE Producers, Producers on the Move and the European Film Academy. She teaches at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb and participates as a mentor, panelist and lecturer at many international film events.

Follow our Lifestyle page here to keep up to date on entertainment news in Croatia.

Monday, 22 October 2018

''Eighth Commissioner'' to be Screened in Los Angeles Next Month

Osmi Povjerenik will be screened in Los Angeles next month!

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Yet Another Croat Takes Hollywood!

Meet Filip Sertić, a young Croatian actor on the winding way to an international career.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

‘Into the Blue’ Wins Best Short Film at Chicago International Children's Film Festival

Great success for Croatian cinema!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Croatian Films Awarded at Ottawa International Animation Festival

Great success for Croatian animation!

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