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, 28 September 2019

Rab Town Celebrates 130 Years of Organized Tourism

September 28, 2019 - One-hundred-thirty awards were distributed to mark 130 years of organized tourism in Rab town. 

Novi List writes that Rab Town Tourist Board director Ivana Matusan opened the 130th anniversary of organized tourism in the town at Kino Rab. Matusan outlined the vibrant and exciting history of tourism development on the island from 23 April 1889, when Austrian professors Leopold Schröter and Froschauf submitted a written proposal to the Rab mayor to intensively develop its tourism.

Nikola Grguric, the mayor of Rab, as well as the president of the Rab Town Tourist Board, said that tourism is without a doubt the most important activity for the economy of the island and that its developed form today is the result of coordinated and systematic action of both the economic entities in Rab and the invested knowledge and talents of tourism staff at all levels.

In addition to the continued work of the city government to strengthen the quality of the tourist offer, either by renovating Donja Ulica (Lower Street), or by events such as Fjera, Kantuni, Rab Film and Jazz Festival, Grguric praised the encouraging criticism of the citizens about what can improve and what needs to be changed. The landscaping project of the beaches, Imperial Riviera and Valamar, will soon begin to reposition Rab tourism, and the considerable strength lies in the small renters and their 15,000 beds in private accommodation, which adapt year after year to the requirements of modern tourists.

Prefect of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County Zlatko Komadina and director of the Kvarner Tourist Board Irena Persic Zivadinov also addressed the citizens of Rab.

“Kvarner tourism accounts for 18% of Croatian tourism, and Rab tourism as much as 12% for tourism in our County, and that speaks for itself about the importance of what Rab tourist workers do, and how they contribute to the overall picture of Croatian tourism, and we thank you with all of our hearts,” said Zivadinov.

Assistant Minister of Tourism Robert Pende, in his capacity as envoy to Tourism Minister Gary Cappelli, said that it was evident that Rab recognized its qualities and that it had made significant progress in acknowledging and positioning itself in the tourism market in recent years.

The youngest members of the Rab Tanac Folklore Dance group took the stage of Kino Rab, which was followed by awards to individuals, institutions, companies, associations, caterers, restaurateurs, hoteliers, travel agencies, media, foreign tour operators and renters, in other words, all those who enrich and empower Rab tourism. The Commission for awarding the 130th anniversary of organized tourism in Rab had a difficult job and decided to distribute 130 awards for 130 years of tourism.

“On behalf of all the laureates, I extend words of gratitude, with the call for even closer cooperation of everyone to further improve the quality of Rab tourism,” said Nedjeljko Mikelic.

The program ended with the performance of young pianist Petra Macolic. This was followed by a photograph of all the winners and a reception at the Valamar Collection Imperial Hotel.

In the evening, Kanata was held, which is a traditional festivity and culinary competition for making brudet in copper pots.

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

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.

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.

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.

Monday, 27 May 2019

New Catamaran Lines Presented, to Operate in Summer 2019 Season

In the last several days we've received three separate reports of new catamaran lines introduced for the summer season of 2019, with the intent of inter-connecting Croatian islands. The fact that Croatian islands were often perceived as not inter-connected enough, and that you often had to go to Split in order to get to another island which was in fact quite close was often listed as one of the bigger problems for tourists in Croatia. 

Well, that seems to be changing: during summer 2019, there will be at least three new catamaran lines which will help fix that! Those are:

  • Split Airport - Split Town - Bol on Brač Island - Stari Grad on Hvar Island, operated by https://splitexpress.com/en
  • Rijeka - Krk (Krk) - Lopar (Rab) - Novalja (Pag) - Zadar, operated by G&VLine
  • Dubrovnik - Korčula (Korčula) - Hvar (Hvar) - Bol (Brač) - Split, operated by Jadrolinija.

The last of the three mentioned existed last year too, as we've made clear in our 2018 guide on how to get to Korčula Island. Obviously, it has proven to be a success last year, so Jadrolinija has decided to bring it back, starting operation on May 30th, and lasting until the end of September. The timetable (link to the .pdf document) is similar to last year's, with the key difference being that it will be departing Split 45 minutes earlier in the afternoon (at 15:30, while last year it was at 16:15), thus arriving in Dubrovnik also 45 minutes earlier. In addition, in Korčula, the ferry will not be docking at Dominče ferry port, rather at either the east or the west port in Korčula town itself. The very modern catamaran Jelena will be carrying passengers on this line.

Rijeka - Krk - Rab - Pag - Zadar is a new line, which connects the islands that are close to one another, but have never been well-connected. Now the new catamaran line will give the passengers the chance to island-hop, but also to make a same-day visit to the islands, as it will leave Rijeka in the morning, arriving in Zadar around midday, and you'll be able to from Zadar to Rijeka at around 8 pm. For a detailed timeline, click here (link to the .pdf document).

The timetable for the catamaran line connecting Split Airport, Split Town, Bol on Brač and Stari Grad on Hvar is a bit more complicated, but you can see it below:

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

New Fast Line to Connect Croatian Islands May be Tourist Hit

The residents of Croatian islands often have rightful complaints about their connections to the mainland not being up to scratch in many cases, and while efforts are being made to create better, more reliable and more frequent connections between Croatia's many inhabited islands and the mainland, many remain less than satisfied.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 22nd of May, 2019, the carrier of this idea and the launcher of the line itself is the company GV Line Iadera from the Dalmatian city of Zadar which has many years of experience in navigation on important state routes under its belt.

Every single day as of June the 15th to September the 15th, there will be a fast passenger line on the Rijeka-Zadar route and this will also connect the islands of Krk, Rab, and Pag. This is otherwise the first and the quickest fast passenger line to connect Zadar and Rijeka and the islands in this manner, as 24sata reports.

This new line will certainly contribute to not only the ease of the lives of the residents of the aforementioned islands, but also to the overall enrichment of the tourist offer of both Dalmatia and Kvarner respectively, as well as to the better linking of the islands, since the islands of Krk, Rab and Pag have never been connected in such a way with each other, nor have they ever been connected in this way to the Croatian mainland.

Make sure to follow our dedicated travel and lifestyle pages for much more.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Brand New Zadar-Rijeka Catamaran Line Coming This Summer

Something new is set to take to the placid waves of the Adriatic sea this summer as the Dalmatian city of Zadar and the city that flows - Rijeka in Kvarner, are set to be connected by catamaran.

As Morski writes on the 2nd of April, 2019, as of the 15th of June this year, the G&V Line Iadera will begin running a brand new daily line that will connect Rijeka and Zadar, joining Krk (Krk), Rab (Lopar) and Pag (Novalja) seasonally.

This is a new and unique line from G&V Line Iadera, which will connect Dalmatia and Kvarner by sea, enabling a person to arrive to Zadar from Rijeka (or vice versa) in only four hours, according to a report from eZadar.

190 kuna is the one-way maximum price, and the fastest ship, Melita, with its capacity of 180 passengers and an indoor air-conditioned salon will depart from Rijeka on 08:15 and from Zadar at 16:15.

The total journey time between the two coastal Croatian cities is four hours, and passengers can enjoy travelling in air-conditioned indoor areas with comfortable seating.

The line will run from June the 15th to September the 15th, and ticket sales online will soon begin.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and travel pages for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by eZadar

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Rab Named First European Island of Sports!

December 12, 2018 - At a ceremony at the European Parliament in Brussels, the Croatian island of Rab was awarded the grand prize -  "European Island of Sport 2019", which is the first time an island has won such a title. The Rab delegation at the ceremony was headed by the mayor of the City of Rab, Nikola Grgurić, and the event was attended by high representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament, and ACES Europe, representatives of award-winning cities and media from across Europe. 

The president of the Federation of European Sports Capitals and Cities (ACES Europe), Gian Francesco Lupatelli, awarded prizes to the winners in individual categories, and among the winners from Croatia were also the cities of Sisak and Prelog. The capital of sport for 2019 was proclaimed Budapest.

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At the solemn ceremony, mayor Grgurić addressed the congregation, thanking all those who were worthy of winning this historic title - the first European island of sports. The recognition enabled Rab to be recognized as a destination among the European sports cities and gives it easier access to significant EU funds for further investment in sports and sports infrastructure. Rab was ranked the third city to withdraw the most from EU funds per capita in 2017. 

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“I am proud and happy that this title has been given to Rab, our little Mediterranean paradise, which, apart from the 130 years long tradition of organized tourism, can boast of an almost equally long sporting tradition. Sport is a part of our identity but also an authentic lifestyle, and this acknowledgment is just a confirmation of the sport's awareness, the activities and the success of the city and the island of Rab, and the incentive for further progress. Investment in sports is an investment in the youth and thus - the future. We are proud to carry these labels and will try to justify them in the company of the European sport's elite,” said Grgurić, while in the background, he presented a promotional video with the beauties and specialties of the island of Rab. 

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At this year's Days of Croatian Tourism in Hvar, the most famous Rab manifestation, Rab Fjera, was declared the tourist event of the year, and just a bit before that, in September, the Tourist Board of the City of Rab, according to the Nautical patrol, won the award for the greatest contribution to the development of nautical tourism in Croatia. And just last month, the House of Rab Cakes received the national annual 'Simply the Best' award in the category of catering facilities with traditional food and drinks for the Adriatic region. 

Bravo, Rab!

Monday, 26 November 2018

Rab Island Advent Festival Larger Than Ever Before

Last year, the town of Rab recorded the two-millionth overnight stay 12 days earlier than expected. The last year's tourist season was a record-breaking one by the number of tourist arrivals and overnights. In the meantime, Rab has managed to extend the tourist season and brand its tourist attractions, such as the original and popular Rab Fjera festival. This event has now been joined by the Rab Island Advent Festival, which will this year be organized for the fourth year in the row, reports Večernji List on November 26, 2018.

The director of the Rab Town Tourist Board, Ivana Matušan, discussed the island’s tourism development.

The last year’s tourist season was a record-breaking one. Are you satisfied with this year’s results?

We are extremely pleased. In the first nine months, the town of Rab has recorded 1,436,298 overnight stays, while the one-millionth overnight stay in Rab occurred a day earlier than last year. The season was at the last year’s record levels, with 1% more overnight stays, but it is not over yet. I was extremely pleased with the pre-season. In the first five months, Rab achieved a growth of 43% in overnight stays. I believe that an interesting tourist December is ahead of us. For this Advent, we expect to have four hotels open, while last year we had just one, and I am sure that many private rental owners will open their properties for all tourists who want to experience a special island Advent.

How did the Rapska Fjera festival influence the branding of your destination?

Rapska Fjera is part of the town of Rab; it is inseparable from the town as a tourist destination, but also as the cultural center of the island itself. It has historical foundations on which the Rab history is based even today. There is no similar project in Croatia and the region, and I am very proud of the achieved level of quality, as well as of the award for the best tourism event in 2018, which we recently won at this year's Days of Croatian Tourism held on Hvar. With all of our projects, events and ideas, we strive to be unique, innovative and engaging. I believe there is still room for progress, but also that the efforts of all the stakeholders are visible to everybody.

How can you further improve the tourism offer?

We look forward to announced investments in hotel facilities, and the process of repositioning Rab as “the island of happiness" is underway. This is where I see room to further improve our tourism product. For example, in 2019, the town of Rab will carry the prestigious title of the European Island of Sports.

What about this year's Rab Island Advent?

The most beautiful island Advent festival will be even more interesting and larger than ever. We will expand to two town squares and two beautiful parks. The Rab Island Advent is slowly becoming a reason for the arrival of tourists to our destination during the winter months. This year will bring numerous entertainment programmes, ice skating and other programmes for children and somewhat older guests, right next to the sea. The festival will start on December 1.

For more on the island of Rab, click here.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Majda Mikulandra).

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