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.

Friday, 17 April 2020

New York Through the Lens of Ron Haviv on Croatian R+ Channel

April 17, 2020 - The new R+ video portal by Robert Tomic Zuber continues to attract quality material, the latest big-name photographer Ron Haviv and New York through his lens in the Era of Corona.

One of the things I am enjoying during this current madness is greater accessibility to people online than I would otherwise have. It is also a great period of learning potential, watching and learning from others. 

As TCN starts to evolve more into the video age, one man I am following a lot more than I used to is Robert Tomic Zuber, the acclaimed Croatian documentary-maker who is behind the Rab Film Festival. 

With everything on hold with the current situation, Zuber launched an online platform to complement his film festival, called R+ almost a month ago, as reported by TCN at the time

With an initial focus on coronavirus through the eyes of people in this region, as well as people from this region around the world, the short videos have been compulsive viewing from the start. 

And, occasionally, there are also some guest post videos with no connection to the region, which stand alone with their quality, such as this latest submission from celebrated photographer, Ron Haviv, which is introduced thus on the R+ video channel. 

One of the world's most famous photographers, Ron Haviv, brings R + viewers photos of life in the last two weeks in New York, the epicentre of the COVID 19 epidemic in the US.

These shocking Ron Haviv photos, collected like this, in one place on R +, make it a sort of a video exhibition and a world premiere, as such.

You can see more videos from R+ on the official website, and if you would like to contribute your video story, you can find out how to do so here

Monday, 30 March 2020

Total Croatia News Announces Media Partnership with Robert Tomic Zuber R+ Portal

March 30, 2020 - Total Croatia News is delighted to announce that it has joined Robert Tomic Zuber's new R+ project, starting tomorrow. 

These are crazy times to be in the media in the Balkans (although, thinking about it, I am not sure there is ever a normal time in this fabulous but troubled region), and the fast pace of change in the way information and media is consumed these days means that news portals will have to adapt or die. 

It all seems so different to that distant memory in October 2011, when I opened my laptop with a beer in Jelsa on Hvar and typed up my first happy tourism piece for my new blog, Total Hvar. 

From a Hvar blog to three Google News portals covering Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia has been a challenge to keep up with, even without the acceleration of technological change. 

But there is no point trying to fight the inevitable. The era of the blogger as a man of words and long articles is going to become a lot more niche than it was, and video is definitely one growth area. 

I hate doing video and being on camera, but I am learning that it has become a necessity in the modern media world. 

I am grateful to various people I have met and worked with this year - Andreas Wil Gerdes, Gustavo Vilera and Robert Tomic Zuber - the latter one of the region's most accomplished documentary makers - for showing me the baby steps into this inevitable new media world that TCN will be forced to enter. 

Talk of different strategies have been energising (and terriftying), but it was only when I saw in the flesh what young Zuber was putting together for his new R+ media channel, with an initial focus on corona (what else?) that I really began to understand the power of the new approach, particularly in this new era of self-isolating social distancing. Online communications will become ever more important, and video using simple technology can tell individual stories from literally all over the planet in one place. 

Robert Tomic Zuber's R+ launched just over a week ago, as reported by TCN. It showcases stories from the region, as well as stories of people from the region in other places. To give you a flavour, below you can find the top 5 most viewed videos in the early days or R+. Almost all the videos are bilingual with subtitles. 

TCN will be joining the R+ network to support the Man from Pula, and our first video report will air on the R+ website tomorrow morning. It will feature TCN CEO Paul Bradbury from his terrace on Hvar talking about the realities of trying to run an independent news portal in Croatia during the corona era. As you can see from the lead photo, the technology is not the most sophisticated, but it does the job. With thanks to Miranda Milicic Bradbury for the video and Janja Sestak for the translation for the Croatian subtitles. 

If you like the view, I will be doing more video updates on various topics for TCN from the terrace while we all wait to get our lives back. 

In other news, I have started to grow a beard for the first time in 25 years, so if nothing else, the video update might be fun to monitor progress. 

The Top 5 most popular R+ videos so far:

Report from a hospital in Pula, Croatia

Zagreb, Be Strong

Kisses from New York

From Madrid... With Love, Marko

Notes from isolation | by Boba Đuderija

You can visit the R+ YouTube channel here.

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.