Monday, 1 April 2019

Film about Vis Takes Home Main Award at Florence Film Festival

The stunning Croatian island of Vis takes to the screens as a film which showcases its sheer beauty rightfully wins big in Florence.

As Morski writes on the 1st of April, 2019, the film by Italian director Nicola Bongiorna "The Lions of Vis" won over both the public and panel in Florence, Italy, with a warm story about the Croatian island of Vis, its inhabitants, history, maritime heritage, fishermen, divers, and, above all, its story of love and respect for the sea.

"The Lions of Vis" (I Leoni di Lissa) won the main prize at the Florence Archeofilm Festival. Nicola Bongiorna's film describes the step by step process of a huge search under the sea for the wreck of a sunken Italian vessel - the Re d 'Italia ship from 1866, which sank with its 400 crew members.

The words of an Italian journalist, "The film isn't a historical story of the battle, but a story told through the astonishing beauty of the archipelago that speaks to the soul of the viewer, a film about the transparency of the sea that connects, and doesn't separate the people".

Some sequences of films from as far back as the 1930s and a film from the 1960s from the island of Vis were introduced, which the director used to reconstruct life on the island. Bongiorna also co-operated with prof. Josip Bozanić, who specialises in linguistics, and the film goes on to reveal many similar and even identical linguistic expressions used by people on both sides of the Adriatic coast.

Recalling the success of the film, the Italian media write that "the beauty of Dalmatia is borderless, and the islands are magical".

Nicola dedicated the film to no less than his own father, Mike, a renowned Italian TV quiz host, who taught him what it meant to fall in love with the sea.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.


Click here for the original articles by Pokret otoka (Island movement) and Slobodna Dalmacija

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Filming of ''Maslenica 93'' Liberation Action Film to Begin This Autumn

When looking at Croatia now, the tourist Mecca busy recording arrivals and overnight stays each year, doggedly determined to beat last year's numbers, the war torn former Yugoslav republic seems like centuries ago. The reality however is that the Homeland War is recent in the minds of many, and as Croatia moves forward, it would do well to remember those who have not yet managed to. At the very least, they should be honoured in all ways possible, a new film on Maslenica 93 will do just that.

As Morski writes on the 22nd of January, 2019, the victorious Croatian army troops who bravely participated in Operation Maslenica will have their first feature film about the first major liberation operation completed by the Croatian armed forces during the Homeland War. The recording of the film, directed by Ivona Juka, should begin this autumn.

Confirmation of the filming of the film about Maslenica was confirmed to Radio Zadar by Anita Juka, who pointed out that no feature film about a military operation that was a significant milestone in the Homeland War has yet been recorded.

''So far, we've talked to more than ninety Croatian defenders, and Danijel Kotlar was the starting point for us and the key to our relationship with other defenders who participated in the action. What attracted us especially to the story of Maselnica is the fact that it was a victorious battle, and in Croatia there have been several quality films about the war, but Croats had always lost in them. It seems to us that time has finally come to film a film that deals with a victorious battle,'' Juka added.

She confirmed that the film director would be her sister Ivona Juka, and that the start of shooting is scheduled for September this year.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.


Click here for the original article by Radio Zadar

Monday, 29 October 2018

Filming in Croatia: Lessons from Days of Croatian Tourism on Hvar

October 29, 2018 - Filming in Croatia is a topic which has attracted a lot of attention in recent years, more so after the shooting of Game of Thrones. But is Croatia maximising its tourism potential from this niche?

Continuing our look at various aspects of the recent Days of Croatian Tourism conference on Hvar, the opening panel of the two-day event was centred on filming in Croatia and the relationship between the film industry. With global blockbusters such as Game of Thrones, Mamma Mia 2 and Star Wars filmed here in recent years, the film industry has a significant role to play in Croatian tourism, both in terms of revenue and promotion. 


In a very nice touch to the film theme, there was free popcorn available on either side of Hvar's historic Arsenal. The panel and panellists were advertised as follows:

Panel discussion "Film Industry and Tourism"Panel discussion "Film Industry and Tourism"Croatia has recently become a natural scenography of numerous blockbusters, series and reality shows. Why are they filmed in Croatia, what does it bring to locals and what is the situation in movie industry and tourism in other countries of the European Union and worldwide?

·  Morocco: director of  Moroccan Film Institute (Centre Cinématographique Marocain), Mohamed Sarim El Haq Fassi Fihri
·    Hungary: director of National Film Office Miklós Taba
·    Croatia: Nebojša Taraba (Novine)
·    Croatia: Vanja Černjul (Marco Polo, Crazy Rich Asians)
·    Croatia: Gordana Restović, director of Pula Film Festival
·    Croatia: Ministry of Culture, State Secretary Krešimir Partl Moderator: Director of the Croatian Audiovisual Center, Daniel Rafaelić


It was an interesting panel, and the two contributions from Morocco and Hungary helped to put the filming in Croatia story into context. I had not realised, for example, that Morocco's filming tradition dates back 100 years and includes an A-list portfolio, or that Budapest is now becoming known as the 'Hollywood of Europe.' 


According to the numbers provided, the rise of Budapest as a film location, now eclipsing Prague, is no accident. Some serious investment in supporting the film industry in Hungary, a trend which is increasing significantly with time. 

Sadly there was no time for questions, and the panel did not really touch on the relationship of film and tourism once the production has been completed. It is an important subject for Croatia's tourism and one which, in many ways, reflects to the approach to tourism in general. 

Croatia's core tourism business over the years has been centred on sun, sea and beach. With such great natural beauty, it is hard to fail, and tourists don't need much promotion to be attracted to this one-dimensional tourism. But where is the additional offer on the coast, and what is there to do when it rains? Things are improving in this regard in recent years, and full credit to the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board, for example, who are working hard to diversity the tourism offer, and indeed Central Dalmatia is now the leading destination in Croatia for overnight stays in October, where beach tourism is not the main factor. 

So too with filming in Croatia. To me at least, there are two tourism aspects to this story - the initial work done to attract the production company to shoot the movie, and enhancing the tourism experience for fans wanted to visit the locations afterwards. I don't know enough about the former, but Croatia could REALLY improve the appeal of its spinoff tourism from filming in Croatia. At the moment, the strategy seems to be little more than the self-congratulatory 'Game of Thrones was filmed in Croatia - so many people are coming to visit'. It reminds me a little of the tourism 'strategy' of 'we have beaches so they will come.'

The following is intended - as always -  as constructive criticism, but I am sure it will not be viewed as such in some quarters.  

Filming in Croatia: the Tourism Promotion

The filming in Croatia of Game of Thrones has been huge for the country, and Dubrovnik in particular, with tens of thousands of tourists interested in visiting the real Kings Landing. Lots of private tours have sprung up,and this has become a nice business niche for several agencies. But how is Croatia promoting Game of Thrones tourism, and how does it compare with somewhere like New Zealand, which was also presented with a global blockbuster?

During the panel discussion, I decided to compare the two via the national tourist board websites, with a view to asking a question at the end of the discussion. Here is what I found.


 Searching the Croatian National Tourist Board website for 'Game of Thrones' using the custom search box, I found several results, but none - not one - which had anything to do with the HBO series and Game of Thrones tourism. The top results were attractions in Rijeka, Zagorje and Karlovac. 


The New Zealand Tourist Board website was an altogether different experience. Not only were there 379 relevant experiences, but a very helpful dropdown sidebar menu featuring locations, tours, article and even accommodation was all beautifully arranged. Plan your entire Lord of the Rings adventure to New Zealand from one website over a coffee. Game of Thrones fan heading to Croatia? Good luck! 

Filming in Croatia: Can You Name the Movie Filmed Here Which Won 3 Oscars?

The thing is, Croatia has some incredible filming heritage, which almost nobody knows about, and which - with a little imagination - could be turned into a fantastic, 12-month opportunity. How many of you, for example, can name the movie filmed in Croatia which won no less than THREE Oscars?


You can learn all about the filming of Fiddler on the Roof in Lekenik, just 30 minutes from central Zagreb, in this TCN article.  We took a trip out to Lekenik earlier this year to try and find the house where most of the action was filmed, and found it we did, but not due to any tourism signage. It was a forgotten non-descript house down a small road. Although there was some mention of Fiddler on the Roof in Croatian (that language most tourists do not speak), not a word about it on the English page of attractions of the local tourist board. And as pleasant as Lekenik is, it is not blessed with millions of reasons for tourists to visit. In fact, almost no mention of the fact that this globally-famous movie was filmed in Croatia. That is not to say that there is no tourism to the film location - there is, a private agency bringing groups of Jewish tourists. 

Filming in Croatia - the Day Clint Eastwood and Donald Sutherland Filmed in Istria

I was just as surprised to learn that Kelly's Heroes, Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland et al. was filmed in a village in Istria, and even more surprised to hear about a group of airsoft enthusiasts who reenacted the film last year. You can learn more about the 1969 original filming and the 2017 airsoft reenactment (video above) here.

Filming in Croatia - the Day Orson Welles Made a Movie on Hvar


And just a few metres from where the panel was taking place in Hvar Town, Orson Welles was busy in action just over 50 years ago, filming The Deep.  

Filming in Croatia - Murder on the Orient Express



Looking for more filming in Croatia hooks? The most famous train murder in history took place between Slavonski Brod and Vinkovci in Slavonia - Agatha Christie's classic, Murder on the Orient Express. 

The list goes on. The potential is huge, and the benefits significant. Tourism and filming in Croatia? There is a lot of work to do.  

Listening to Your Customer: Some Golden Opportunities


If those interested in boosting tourism and filming in Croatia niche have read this far, I leave you with another tip from the presentation which followed - Al Merschen's overview of  what Americans are looking for more tourism in Croatia. You can read a more detailed look at Merschen's excellent presentation here. Game of Thrones sites are the 7th thing of interest, but there are also others in this list which have very little official organised promotion. 

Wine and wineries, for example. There is no website with detailed information about Croatia's incredibly wine story, 130 indigenous varieties, home of Zinfandel. It is why we started Total Croatia Wine to meet that need. And it is nice to be able to meet the tourism needs of the many visitors, as well as make a little money shipping Croatian wine to the USA and all over the EU. We have not done Total Croatia Olive OIl yet - we will leave that opportunity to others. But, as Merschen's research shows, the demand is there. 

Filming in Croatia, Croatian wine, Game of Thrones and olive oil -they will always be important factors in a strategy of accidental tourism, but Croatia could - and should - be doing so much better. 

Or is it enough that the sun is shining?

To learn more about filming in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN page.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Italian Academy Award Winner Gabriele Salvatores Filming on Pag

More filming in Croatia as the award winning Italian director and screenwriter takes to Pag.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

''Eighth Commissioner'' Film is Croatian Candidate for Oscar

Good news for the popular Croatian film ''Osmi Povjerenik'' (Eighth Commissioner).

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Acting Legend, Father at 92, Working 'til 101: Meet Zvonimir Rogoz

How many actors could you name that were still actively working at the age of 101? A look at a colourful character of Zvonimir Rogoz on March 15, 2018

Monday, 5 February 2018

Murder on Vis: German Crime Series Set in Croatia Seen by Millions

The latest episode of the popular German crime series is set on Vis island

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Secrecy on Pile as Dubrovnik Prepares for GoT Filming

Preparations in Dubrovnik have begun for the filming of the final season of the hit series, Game of Thrones.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Vis, Here We Go Again: NEW Mamma Mia Trailer

An updated trailer for the much anticipated Mamma Mia: Her We Go Again film was released on January 25, 2018.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Lekenik, Oscar-Winning Village and Haven for Disadvantaged Kids in Croatia

What appears to be just another village outside Zagreb has rather a lot to offer to the untrained eye. TCN visits Lekenik on January 11, 2018.

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