Monday, 24 August 2020

Movies on Waves: 2nd Rab Film Festival Connects Sea, Boats, Locals and Cinema

August 24, 2020 - Given the current pandemic circumstances, the 2nd Rab Film Festival was held with the great effort of its organizers and the support of sponsors. Though reduced to one festival day this time around, all films were screened with a slightly new dimension - the sea.

With great affection from the sky, the efforts of the organizers were rewarded - and as August 22 came to a close, everything coincided. Just how well received the Rab Film Festival was could be seen through its locals, who filled the unique Seaplex Kaich Cinema in Padova Bay with their boats. 

That is precisely the reason why the director of the festival, Robert Tomic Zuber, bowed his head to the people of Rab as a sign of gratitude for their spontaneous support and recognition of RAFF as something that genuinely belongs to them.

"'Films on the Waves' this time was not just a hashtag of the festival on social networks, and last night there was simply a wonderful synergy of the sea, ships, people and film," Toro laboratory said.

Although screenings of "Current Sea" and "Mater" were watched from every available vessel, part of the waterfront was reserved for distinguished guests, Mayor Nikola Grguric, Director of the Croatian Audiovisual Center Chris Marcic, Mater director Jure Pavlovic and all others who supported the Rab Film Festival.

Chris Marcich once again gave strong support to RAFF, sending greetings to the Minister of Culture Nina Obuljen Korzinek. The Mayor of Rab, Nikola Grguric, had the honor to open and close this special evening of the 2nd Rab Film Festival, with a clear message sent from the island of Rab, how culture, even during a pandemic, cannot and must not be delayed.

The audience was addressed by the director of the film "Current Sea", Christopher Smith, and the main actress of the film "Mater", Daria Lorenci Flatz, via video call, while after the film "Mater", Robert Tomic Zuber held a short Q&A with the director Jura Pavlovic.

The course of the festival evening was broadcast live on the Facebook page of the Rab Film Festival and the R + platform.

In the end, the director of the festival once again addressed the audience with heartfelt gratitude, and Mayor Nikola Grguric closed the festival with words of support and hope for a better tomorrow, especially for culture, art and film.

Source: Novi List

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Thursday, 20 August 2020

Rab Film Festival Audience Will Watch From The Sea

August 20, 2020 – After some audience members last year successfully saw films from boats, more attendees will be invited to watch from the waves at this weekend's Rab Film Festival

Visitors to this weekend's Rab Film Festival will have an experience as close to seafaring as it is to cinema-going. In response to epidemiological guidelines, the festival has had to think creatively about seating arrangements. And, they've decided to place over half the audience on boats.

“We rented two boats with a usual capacity of 150 people from which people can watch the films,” Rab Film Festival organiser Robert Tomić Zuber tells TCN. “Under epidemiological guidelines, we should be able to seat between 80 – 100 people across those.”

“A lot of people from Rab already have their own boat, so we invited all of them - and visitors who are here with boats - to come and watch the films for free from their own. We figured it was the safest way to approach the screenings this year.”

Some of the 2019 audience watched from boats. This year there will be even more. © Rab Film Festival

At 2019's Rab Film Festival, audience members were seated on a long pier, stretching out into the sea, flanked by a number of small boats. The screen faced out towards the open waters (main picture). “Last year we had about 200 people seated there,” says Robert. “This year it will be about 70.”

The 2020 Rab Film Festival begins at 8pm on Saturday 22 August and will this year showcase two movies. 'Current Sea' is a tense ecological documentary looking at the overfishing of Cambodian waters by intruding Vietnamese fishermen. “It's a documentary thriller, filmed by American director Christopher Smith,” Robert tells us. “The film was not premiered internationally until now. This is the first screening outside the US.”

The second film, 'Mater' by Croatian director Jure Pavlović, is described by Robert as something of a “little blockbuster here in Croatia.” A Dalmatian drama with lots of humour, the film had its world premiere at the prestigious Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival at the end of last year and was named best film from the region at the Belgrade FEST.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Robert Zuber, Rab Film Festival Launch R+, New Online Platform with Your Stories

March 19, 2020 - Acclaimed journalist and filmmaker Robert Zuber and the team from the Rab Film Festival have launched a new collaborative platform called R+, with an initial hot topic - coronavirus. 

I have a few heroes in Croatia, from all walks of life. People who inspire with their genius, or dedication, or passion. Sometimes all three. 

Among them is a filmmaker and journalist called Robert Zuber (or more correctly now that I don't have to shorten the name to fit the title restrictions, Robert Tomic Zuber). We were introduced by a mutual friend, Andreas Wil Gerdes, last year, and have become good friends and journalist colleagues since.

Robert is the driving force behind the first Rab Film Festival, the only investigative documentary film festival in Croatia, with partners including the iconic Sarajevo Film Festival. 

This year's edition of Rab Film Festival, like everything else in the world right now, is on hold. But rather than sit and do nothing, Robert and his partners have some up with a new collaborative medium which can also tell your stories. Rather than me try and explain it, here is how the R+ team introduce the project.


In moments of fear, anxiety, and frequent malicious fake news, we offer you a space opposite to despair.

We are witnessing great initiatives, people helping each other, streaming concerts, theatre plays, films, video stories with great messages. But, because they are scattered all over the Internet, often many of these great stories do not reach many citizens in these not-so-great times.

That is the idea behind R+. To be the one place where you will be able to express yourselves creatively, share your stories, experiences, search for information, and hear some less apocalyptic perspective while respecting the seriousness of our emerging everyday life.

R+ as of today is your platform, join us, use it, watch it, contribute to it yourselves. One by one, for each other, to preserve what is our essence - to be first and foremost human.

© Created by RAFF Film Festival on sincere emotion, valid information and determination not to give up on the bright sides of our everyday life.

A video welcome from Robert Zuber. 

And with coronavirus the hot initial topic...  

This is Rome.

Isolation lunch on the island of Rab.

Message to my generation by film director Nenad Puhovski.

Initial partners include Rab Film Festival (RAFF), AL Jazeera Balkans, Vecernji List, Radio 808, Exrey, and Kud Nikud. I hope that TCN will shortly be part of the project as well. 

All videos are with English subtitles, and you can learn more about the bilingual project from the official website here, including details on how to get involved.  

A great initiative. For the latest on the coronavirus crisis, follow the dedicated TCN section

What we can all do. 



Sunday, 6 October 2019

Based on a RAFF Story: Reflections from the Rab Film Festival

October 6, 2019 - One of the more interesting additions to the 2019 tourism calendar was the Rab Film Festival, dedicated to investigative documentaries. One enthusiastic festival participant was Gustavo Vilera from Venezuela. 

There I was, driving with my family to the island of Rab, excited about my first Film Festival in Croatia, not only because of the pleasures the Kvarner coast has to offer, but on a mission, a personal mission to support the work and initiative of Robert Zuber, a kind-hearted Film Director, producer and world citizen.

It was RAFF! The film festival and the experience.

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Before we dive into the details of the festival, and before I convince you of joining me next year for the second edition, I’d like to paint you a picture of Rab and of my interest in documentaries up to the moment I sat to watch my first film at the festival.

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The stoned city of Rab is enchanting. The architecture, the large stoned walls that grow straight from the shore, the delicious cakes together with the creative open-space design of Silvija Jonjić gave us an unforgettable and inclusive scene for this RAFF weekend.

The country that saw me grow is Venezuela. From Caracas I dreamt my whole childhood of traveling around the world, visiting all the historical places I saw on TV, the capitals of the world, the unreal pyramids, the castles, all of these historically and culturally rich sites brought to my screen via Satellite waves.

I can proudly say that the privilege of satellite TV played an immense role in my upbringing. It exposed me to different languages and offered me a vast selection of documentaries from National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, PBS, DW, and VTV (The now infamous national channel of Venezuela). These directors awoke my curiosity, showed me how factories work, how the brain functions, how the animals behave in their habitat, inspired me to feel confident in our society and our future, to study science in school and travel to Berlin for my higher education.

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Times change, and so do the agenda of TV channels. Thankfully, my passion had awakened, and until today I search and follow the production of independent documentaries.

There I was, sitting on first row my son and lover next to me, stuffing our face with popcorn, as one does in the cinema. The title: Sea of Shadows, directed by Richard Ladkani.

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Robert introduced the audience personally to the film, charismatically communicating with the audience in English and Croatian. We watched it at the open-air cinema, at the highest point of the old town, surrounded by trees, fresh air, and a beautiful night sky.

There were no free seats, everyone in town knew about the event, RAFF took the city. You could see everywhere the adverts, the people, the gatherings, and workshops. I grew excited during the day, walking the streets of the old town and finding posters with the agenda and functions, finding participants with t-shirts and all the photographers documenting the event.

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Ninety minutes of the best Hollywood-like drama, intense action, and emotions. I want you to picture speed boat persecutions, surveillance drones, murders, animal extinction, crime, cartels, independent activists, corruption, fishermen, military, Chinese triads!!!! I mean, a script like this is worth GOLD and your full attention, the film was RAFF no questions about it, we were captivated, immersed in this quest for justice. 

The credits start rolling on the screen, it’s over, “The End,” kina s pet svjezdica? The audience was still in shock. Silence all around. I turned back to see the faces; the tourists had forgotten about Rab and their vacations. Robert retook the stage, brought us back to our privileged reality with a charming voice, to our Orada dinners with Blitva, to our holidays.

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A fisherman died, murdered because he decided to stand up and talk to the camera, tell us what was really happening.

What to do now? We can’t unsee what just happened in front of our eyes, can we? Can we forget that we live on the same rock that follows the same star on an eternal spiral? Will we wait until it hits our coasts? Nah! that won’t happen here! Said everyone in Venezuela 30 years ago, while the Balkans were killing each other on TV. Look at us now.

It’s RAFF and I’ll be there next year, ready to support again. Join us. 

Thank you Robert and the RAFF team for the message: “don’t speculate, Investigate!”

To learn more about the Rab Film Festival, check out the official website

Saturday, 24 August 2019

First Rab Film Festival Opens with Croatian Premiere of Les Misérables

August 24, 2019 - The first edition of the Rab Film Festival opened on Friday at the Summer Cinema in Rab with a screening of the French film Les Misérables. The opening was attended by the film's director Ladj Ly and actor Djibril Zonga.

The Rab Film Festival held the Croatian premiere of the film, which won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, reports Jutarnji List.

The first edition of this event, which continues until Tuesday, August 27, will feature 13 screenings and five concerts. Danish debutant Ulla Salim’s Sons of Denmark, a story about Islamic radicalism set in the broader context of the rise of neo-Nazi ideologies in Europe, will also premiere at the festival, as well as Ken Loach's new drama Sorry We Missed You, about the fight for survival in an increasingly ruthless British labor market.

The festival program also features Silver Bear winner at the Berlinale By the Grace of God by Francois Ozon, which tells the story of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, Serbian film Stitches (Šavovi) directed by Miroslav Terzić, about a mother’s search for her child she believes was stolen at a maternity ward 18 years ago and, outside the competition, Diary of Diana B (Dnevnik Diane Budisavljević) will be presented to the audience by the director Dana  Budisavljević.

The documentary program highlights the Belgian film Green Gold, a shocking background story about biofuels filmed in the remotest corners of the world for ten years, the German film The Cleaners, which takes viewers to the shady underworld of the Internet - a place where questionable content is removed, and the Dutch Bellingcat, which offers a unique perspective on the world of investigative journalism and the truth seeker in the reign of fake news and alternative facts.

The Rab Film Festival will also feature two award-winning films from this year's Sundance Festival. Exploring the mysterious death of a UN Secretary-General in Cold Case Hammarskjöld, Danish director Mads Brügger takes viewers into the darkest abyss of African history, while Sea of Shadows reveals the effort to rescue the Earth's smallest whale - the Vaquita - from extinction and bringing the international crime syndicate to justice.

The only Croatian title in the competition program is That’s the Way It Is by Arsen Oremović, which tells the story of a father's attempt to exercise his right to see his daughter after a divorce.

The festival is competitive in nature, and the best awards will be presented in three categories: Best Feature Film, Best Documentary, and Audience Award. The awards will be decided by a jury consisting of festival selector, film lecturer, critic, and director Rada Šešić, actress Tihana Lazović and director Antonio Nuić.

The Rab Film Festival program is led by film critic and journalist Vladan Petković (feature films) and Lejla Dedić, program editor at Al Jazeera Balkans (documentary program).

The music program will feature Zdenka Kovačiček & Greenhouse Blues Band, Urban & 4, Elemental, Nipplepeople, and De-tour.

The RAFF GENERATION program is aimed at film professionals and includes lectures by prominent local filmmakers including founder and director of the ZagrebDox International Documentary Film Festival and director of Factum Production Company Nenad Puhovski, director Dana Budisavljević, cinematographer Raul Brzić and writer and screenwriter Marjan Alčevski.

The organizers of the festival are the City of Rab, Rab Open University and Toro Laboratory in Zagreb, and the festival director is Robert Tomić Zuber.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Friday, 31 May 2019

New Rab Film Festival to Premiere this Summer

The first RAFF - Rab Film Festival, which is a festival of investigative film will take place for the first time in Rab this summer, in the period between August the 23rd and the 27th. The festival will be organised on several open-air stages, and visitors can expect to experience excellent film, music and gastro programs. The focus of the film festival will be on the intriguing titles carrying elements of investigation into current global and local problems and phenomena.

Robert Tomić Zuber, the director of the Rab Film Festival spoke at the press conference in Zagreb, presenting the festival: "In the era of the fast influx of information and the clickbait race, our focus is on research. We are interested in stories that are carefully researched, that either ask precise questions or offer answers based on facts, whether they come in the form of a documentary or a feature film".

The program was created in cooperation with the Sarajevo Film Festival, one of the biggest festivals in Europe, and Sarajevo's winning movie will be shown at the opening of RAFF. Mirsad Purivatra, director of the Sarajevo Film Festival said at the press conference that they don't often agree to partner with other festivals, but that he's happy to be able to work with RAFF both in terms of logistics and programming, especially through the program of facing the past.

Another important cooperation for a new festival such as RAFF is their partnership with the Al Jazeera Balkans Doc Film Festival, also based in Sarajevo, which will have the role of a broadcast partner for RAFF.

The highlight of the feature film program, selected by the movie critic from Belgrade, Vladan Petković, is the movie Sons of Denmark, the fictional plot of which takes place in Denmark in 2025, after a major bomb attack in Copenhagen, when radicalisation around the country has intensified and ethnic tensions are running high. The movie will see its regional premiere in Rab, and it warns what Europe might look like if the nationalism and anti-immigration politics continue.

Lejla Dedić, the selector of the documentary program (she is also the selector for the Al Jazeera Balkans Doc Film Festival!) has chosen several remarkable documentaries. What stands out is the Croatian premiere of the movie Bellingcat: Truth in a post-truth world, a movie that dissects the appearance of so-called fake news, and wants to find out if there's a way for real investigative reporting to make a return. The Croatian documentary by author Arsen Oremović, titled "It is what it is" will also be shown, looking into the discrimination of fathers after divorce.

Like we mentioned, a very attractive musical program called RAFF BEAT will be organised during the five days of the festival, with performances by well-known Croatian artists: Urban & 4, Zdenka Kovačiček, Nipplepeople, Elemental and Detour. Urban & 4 concert will be a special event, as he will re-interpret a movie classic with his music. The screening of that movie will remind everyone of the often forgotten consequences of fascism in Europe. Damir Urban said that the combination of music and film has always been intriguing, and that he hopes his performance will give the classic a different point of view.

The final evening of the Rab Film Festival will be spectacular: called the RAFF SEAPLEX "Kaich", it will be an event where both the movie shown and the concert below the town's walls will be best seen from a boat anchored at the port! The town of Rab and the Rab Community College will participate in the organisation, have provided all the necesarry infrastructure for the festival, and have helped organisers network with the local tourist workers etc.

The island of Rab has a 106 year-long movie theatre tradition, and they continue to create quality events for the people of Rab, but also for tourists who will be on the island in late August.