Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Croatian Film Festivals: An Overview

March 23, 2022 - With the 94th Academy Awards just around the corner, Total Croatia News takes a look at some of the major Croatian film festivals celebrating the best of Croatian and international cinema, paving the way for major film festivals in the world.

This Sunday, at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, the 94th edition of the Academy Awards will be held, celebrating the best of the film industry in 2021. In recent years, the role of international cinema in the film industry has been growing progressively. This was evident at the 92nd Academy Awards, where the Oscar for Best International Feature Film was awarded for the first time, replacing the previously named Best Foreign Language Film. More importantly, it was the fact that it was the first time that a non-English language film had won the prestigious Oscar for Best Picture. This was the case of 'Parasite', from South Korea, directed by Bong Joon-ho, who also won the statuettes for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

It seems that, in this last decade, the Academy has decided to reorient its vision of cinema towards a more globalized one, in which we can notice the presence of international films in different categories, thus nominating films, directors, actors, actresses, and scripts from all over the world.

Unfortunately, it could not be the year for Croatian cinema again as it failed to find a place among the best international films. No Croatian film has ever been nominated for Best International Film yet. This year, in particular, saw quite a bit of controversy in the selection process, after ''Murina'', directed by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, was not chosen by Croatia as its representative in the race for the Oscars, despite its enormous international recognition at festivals such as Cannes, where it won the Caméra d'Or for Best First Film. Instead, the Croatian candidate was ‘‘Tereza37’’, directed by Danilo Šerbedžija.


The Pula Film Festival, one of the most important Croatian film festivals. (Photo:

The road for Croatian filmmakers to the world's major film festivals is long and very competitive, but in recent years the international public has set its sights on this region of the continent, due to its richness in stories stemming from its turbulent past and present. The Bosnian film ''Quo Vadis, Aida?'', nominated in 2021, and the Macedonian film ''Honeyland'', nominated in 2019, are proof of this.

But despite the fact that the dream of every director is to show their stories to all corners of the world, it always starts here, at home. Many start out at student film festivals, or at film festivals organized by their towns or counties. If one investigates enough, they would realize that there are film festivals almost everywhere in Croatia. The Croatian Audiovisual Center, for instance, currently co-finances 60 Croatian film festivals and other audiovisual events. These Croatian film festivals serve various functions: they are particularly important for promoting Croatian audiovisual creation and serve as a platform for screening artistic content and non-commercial film forms, which makes them relevant on a local, regional, national, and, in some cases, international level.

In this article, we review ten Croatian film festivals with great recognition and importance not only for aspiring filmmakers but also for a large audience willing to enjoy good Croatian cinema. Many of these festivals also include workshops and special events for aspiring filmmakers. Pay close attention to the dates of these Croatian film festivals, you may still be in time to buy your ticket, or even submit your own movie or short film!

Zagreb Film Festival

Zagreb (23 – 30 October, 2022 | 20th Edition)

Zagreb Film Festival is one of the central and most visited cultural events and the largest among the Croatian film festivals. It is held during November in Zagreb and presents to its audience the best of newer independent international and local film production. From its beginnings, ZFF’s mission is to discover and promote contemporary independent film and debut films of directors from all over the world. For almost two decades, it has offered a festival, and later also a distribution platform, and it has screened works that are often left out of the programs of multiplex cinemas.



The festival has also played a key role in educating generations of audiences who enjoy film art. The festival program offers diverse film and educational content for all ages and interests, and serves as a platform for the networking of professionals: each edition of the festival gathers around 200 film experts from Croatia and around the world who come to Zagreb to present their films or participate in the festival’s educational programs.

Split Film Festival – International Festival of New Film

Split (1 – 9 September, 2022 | 27th Edition)


Photo: Split Film Festival/Facebook

The Split Film Festival – International Festival of New Film focuses on new, creative, experimental, radical, and subversive films, videos, and new media works. It screens all forms and genres, with a special focus on works diverging from the mainstream film and video production model, regardless of whether it concerns traditional filmmaking techniques or the use of the most recent digital technology.

The competition programme is divided into two parts: feature films and shorts. The festival’s side programme presents web projects, interactive works, performances, special programmes, and retrospectives of local and international filmmakers.

Pula Film Festival

Pula (16 – 23 July, 2022 | 69th Edition)



Pula Film Festival is one of the oldest ongoing film festivals in Europe and the world. Launched in 1954 as the main festival of Yugoslav films, Pula Film Festival became Croatia’s national film festival in 1992. Its main competition programme includes feature fiction films. Alongside other city locations, the festival’s programme takes place in Pula’s amphitheater, popularly called the Arena. It is organized by the Pula Film Festival public institution.

STIFF – Student International Film Festival

Rijeka (November 25 – 28, 2022 | 9th Edition)



STIFF is Croatia’s first International Film Festival dedicated entirely to student films. Established by the SKC Rijeka (Student Cultural Center) and Filmaktiv – the purpose of the festival is to strengthen the student film industry by allowing an insight into the work of other fellow student filmmakers, encouraging the development of new ideas, and establishing international collaborations in the field of media production. STIFF’s main goal is to present the best of student film production from all around the world and help them get their audiences. It strives to educate audiences about the quality of work of emerging filmmakers.

Mediterranean Film Festival Split

Split (16 – 25 June, 2022 | 15th Edition)



Mediterranean Film Festival Split takes place annually in June in the city of Split, the second-largest city in Croatia. The Festival's focus are feature and short fiction and documentary films from Mediterranean countries. Besides feature films, great attention is dedicated to the program of short films and the promotion of young authors and their work. The Festival also organizes lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and other side events. In 12 years of its existence, the Festival has become the most visited cultural event in the city of Split. Kino Mediteran project is also part of the FMFS. It is a network of cinemas in 30 small Croatian coastal towns, mostly on islands. 

Croatian Film Days

Zagreb (10 – 14 May, 2022 | 31st Edition)



The Croatian Film Days are a national festival founded in 1991 devoted to showcasing Croatia’s annual production of short- and medium-length feature, documentary, experimental, animated, and commercial films. The festival is of a competitive nature, with awards handed out by the festival jury, members of the Croatian Film Critic’s Association, and the audience. The organizer is the Croatian Film Association.

Motovun Film Festival

Motovun (26 – 30 July, 2022 | 25th Edition)



The Motovun Film Festival is dedicated to films made within small film industries and by independent productions. The programme consists of feature and short fiction and documentary films. The festival is jointly organized by the Motovun Film Festival, the Istria County, and the Municipality of Motovun.

Vukovar Film Festival – Danube region film festival

Vukovar (Summer, 2022 | 16th Edition)



Vukovar Film Festival screens films from the Danube and neighboring countries – Slovenia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Moldavia, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, and Ukraine. It is the only festival that takes place literally on the Danube. The competition programme accepts feature, short fiction, and documentary films, and the jury hands out awards for all three categories. The festival is organized by Discovery Film, the City of Vukovar, and the Croatian House of Vukovar.


Zagreb (3 – 10 April, 2022 | 18th Edition)


Photo: ZagrebDox © Julien Duval

ZagrebDox is an international documentary film festival launched in 2005. The Festival is intended to provide audiences and experts insight into the recent documentary films, stimulate national documentary production, and boost international and regional cooperation in co-productions. The festival's competition program has international and regional categories. Besides the competition program, ZagrebDox has a number of non-competition programs – retrospectives and films focused on specific subjects, genres, techniques, and esthetics.

Brač Film Festival

Brač (Summer, 2022 | 8th Edition)


Brač Film Festival is an international feature film festival for emerging filmmakers from Europe and the Mediterranean. Key goals of the Festival are promotion of the first time feature film directors, presentation of short student films, development of film literacy amongst children and youth, and connecting young film professionals with experienced ones. The short film program is the only competition program, where the audience gives prizes for the best short film.

Learn about other Croatian film festivals at the Croatian Audiovisual Centre official website HERE.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

25th Split Film Festival to Kick Off at Bacvice Open-Air Cinema

September 9, 2020 - The oldest international film festival in Croatia - Split Film Festival / International New Film Festival, will hold its 25th jubilee edition this September, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

In accordance with the current recommendations for protection against coronavirus, film lovers will be able to enjoy screenings in the open, announced the Split Film Festival on its website.

The festival will be held from September 10 to 17, and the central part of the program will be located in the pleasant ambiance of the Bacvice Open Air Cinema. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many famous film festival friends will not be able to visit Split, so the audience will be able to enjoy their company online. Among them is the winner of this year's special award for an outstanding contribution to the art of moving images - Mexican director Carlos Reygadas.

The backbone of the festival this year is the international competition of feature and short films, notably the award-winning Taiwanese drama RIZI / Days (directed by Tsai Ming-liang) and the documentary Land of my Father (directed by Matthew J Koshmrl), which brings to the screen the unresolved trauma of the Japanese occupation of Korea and the way it reflected on the lives of the peasants.

The accompanying program includes the documentary Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache (Pamela B Green), which sheds light on the intriguing story of the forgotten first female director and producer of more than a thousand films, whose achievements have so far been completely erased from of the dominant macho historical narrative.

Honoring the recent death of Bekim Sejranovic, the festival program also includes the film From Tokyo to Morava (Moku Teraoka), whose central character is Bekim.

The audience will have the opportunity to hang out with two favorite actresses from Split. Marija Skaricic arrives in Bacvice in the main role of the Swiss-Croatian film Mare (Andrea Staka) in which she embodies all the complexity of a middle-aged Dalmatian woman, while Ivana Roscic in the Slovenian-Italian film Stories from the Chestnut Forest (Gregor Bozic) stars in a dream story of a forgotten community that once lived on the border of Yugoslavia and Italy.

The online program of the festival offers film lovers and film professionals, no matter where they are, the opportunity to attend masterclasses by the American director of short experimental films Robert Arnold, the new media artist G.H. Hovagimyan, a lecture by British video artist George Barber and American director Pamela B. Green, among others.

For 25 years, the Split Film Festival has focused on works created in deviation from the ruling canons of film and video production. Apart from the recent world and domestic productions, the audience remembers the festival through a series of retrospectives, workshops, lectures, and presentations by leading experts. The globally unique retrospectives of Béla Tarr and Lars von Trier, the Brazilian Cinema Novo, and Orson Welles are especially remembered as the first, and so far only, retrospectives of the father of video art Nam June Paik.

The Split Film Festival is the first domestic film festival to promote new media from the beginning. It also provided its audience with the first drive-in cinema in these areas, the Béla Tarra film workshop, and a lecture by the father of film avant-garde Peter Kubelka.

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Monday, 9 September 2019

Split Film Festival Returns in September for 24th Edition

September 9, 2019 - The 24th Split Film Festival is held from September 18 to 25, 2019.

The 24th edition of the Split Film Festival/International New Film Festival begins on September 18th and lasts until September 25th, bringing the premiere of independent films whose impact could be described as moving the boundaries of the established standard in film. 

All foreign films shown will be Croatian premieres, while the Croatian films that will be screened will be shown for the first time in Split. The films will be screened at the Golden Gate Cinema and Karaman Cinema.

Following the efforts of the Festival to open unexplored possibilities and ask unanswered questions, the entire Split Film Festival program encourages the much-needed discussion about the problems we face in today's society, addressing topics such as the position of women in society, migrant crises, issues of gender and sexuality, human rights, personal freedom and the growing impact of technological development on the quality of life.

This year's selection of films brings the works of authors who, through skillful and innovative use of film language, broaden horizons in different directions, bringing us closer to stories of socially sensitive, vulnerable and marginalized groups and individuals, suggesting that we wonder what it means to live, survive and systematically survive in a society whose rules on one side of the world change from day to day, and on the other stagnate and stubbornly struggle with change.

In addition to the competition of international feature and short films, there is also the accompanying Forum/Next Door/Frame Extended program, Croatian feature and short program, Machine Learning - AI, VR (Virtual Reality) films, and a Special Program that includes retrospectives, workshops and lectures. A lecture on Online Streaming and its impact will be delivered by Helen De Witt, Advisor of the Experimental Program for the London Film Festival, and this year's member of the feature film jury. The lecture on the relationship between moving and static images in film will be given by a member of the short jury, Robert F. Arnold, whose retrospective of films will also have a chance to look at the Special Program, as well as a retrospective of Russian video artist Mikhail Maksimov, who deals with film and video game art.

A wide range of films will be screened during the seven days of the festival.

More information and the full program is available here.

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Friday, 21 September 2018

23rd Edition of Split Film Festival Set to Take Place this October

The Split Film Festival, the oldest international film and media event in Croatia, returns this October for its 23rd edition.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

This Week in Split: Film Festivals, Discos, and A Lot of Art

Welcome to Split: The city where boredom doesn't exist. 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Lights, Camera, Action: 22nd Edition of Split Film Festival Begins this Weekend!

Split becomes the epicenter of alternative films this weekend.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Split in September: A Look at What’s Ahead Next Month

With the busiest summer months just about behind us, there is so much for us to enjoy in September!

Monday, 19 September 2016

The Winners from the 21st Split Film Festival

The Grand Prix film at the 21st Split Film Festival went to 'Oscuro Animal' by director Felipe Guerrero of Colombia, while the Grand Prix for short film went to 'Events in a Cloud Chamber' by Indian author Ashima Ahluwalia.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Welcome to Another Friday in Split: Here Are Today's Happenings

A recap of all the events going on in Split today, September 16.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Kino Bačvice to Show Films in Honor of the 21st Split Film Festival

In honor of the 21st Split Film Festival / International Festival of New Films, Kino Bačivce will be hosting four open-air film showings with films that have been shown at previous festival editions. The event takes place from September 1-4.

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