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Croatian Films at 14th ZFF

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A record-breaking number of Croatian titles in the main programme • Hana Jušić, Rade and Danilo Šerbedžija and Katarina Zrinka Matijević competing for Golden Pram • Together Again side programme features a long-awaited Croatian premiere of Marasović’s Goran…

Exactly a month stands between us and the beginning of the 14th edition of Zagreb Film Festival. In nine days at several location (Europa and Tuškanac cinemas, Museum of Contemporary Art, Docucinema KIC, F22 – New Academy Scene and Goethe Institute) more than a hundred film titles will be presented. Just like every year, in the midst of a broad array of films from all over the world, Zagreb Film Festival is paying special attention to Croatian authors and co-productions between Croatia and other European countries.

The main competition this year includes a record-breaking number of Croatian films – of 13 titles competing for Golden Pram, four are Croatian productions. This is where Quit Staring at My Plate, director Hana Jušić’s feature debut, will premiere. “Since I love ZFF and have been a regular attendee since its first edition, when we were both very young, I am particularly pleased that the home premiere of my first feature film will happen at this festival,” says the author, whose shorts have screened several times in Checkers, and one of them, Terarium, even won.

After the premiere at Pula Film Festival, another Croatian title is presenting to the Zagreb audience in the main competition – Trampoline by the renowned Croatian documentarian Katarina Zrinka Matijević, her first feature fiction venture. The starting point for this film, according to the director, was “what we could whisper to ourselves if we had a chance to meet ourselves in the past or in the future. Would it steer our lives towards something better? In the film, three soul mates recognise this moment in the chaos of time and direct each other’s lives where it is supposed to go, for everything to come into place. In the film we challenge and break chaotic relationships between parents and children, only to reinfuse them with harmony. That is why we love to say that Trampoline is not a romantic film, although it tells a tale of the greatest love of all.”

Two co-productions with a Croatian minority stake are also competing for ZFF’s main award: the Macedonian film The Liberation of Skopje, a joint directorial venture by Rade and Danilo Šerbedžija, and the Georgian film The House of Others by Russudan Glurijdze. Both films are current national Oscar candidates.

The Together Again side programme, every year featuring new films by those directors whose previous works competed at earlier festival editions, is hosting the Croatian premiere of Goran by Nevio Marasović, an intriguing thriller set in the idyllic region of Gorski Kotar. Marasović’s previous film Vis-à-Vis won a jury special mention two years ago in ZFF’s feature competition. This line-up also includes Sieranevada, another Croatian minority co-production, directed by one of the founders of the Romanian New Wave and the winner of the best short film at the 2nd ZFF, Cristi Puiu.

Another Croatian co-production is participating in this year’s edition of Bib for Kids by RBA, suitable for children – a Dutch-Belgian-Croatian title The Day My Father Became a Bush by Nicole van Kilsdonk, based on the popular namesake book about coming-of-age amidst the war, from the point of view of a 10-year-old girl. Several Croatian actors star in the film, including Jan Kerekeš, Hrvojka Begović and Damir Poljičak.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS3kS8PcJlY

The short form in represented in the main (competition) programme as international and national film (Checkers). Next to a series of up-and-coming directors on the local scene, the Checkers section is presenting a Croatian film outside competition – the award-winning The Beast by Miroslav Sikavica, which premiered this spring in Directors’ Fortnight, the parallel Cannes Film Festival section, winning a jury special mention.

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