The 2015 film industry has been marked by appearances at important international festivals, ensuring global recognition of Croatian film…
It all started with a tour of the multiple award-winning These Are the Rules by Ognjen Sviličić and The Reaper by Zvonimir Jurić, and continued with Dalibor Matanić’s new feature film The High Sun which brought Croatian film back to the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard programme after a 30-year absence (The Melody Haunts My Memory, R. Grlić, 1981).
The High Sun, upon winning the Jury Prize, headed by Isabella Rossellini, was then screened at more than 40 international festivals, and won a total of 19 awards, as well as nominations for the European Film Academy Awards, the European Parliament LUX Prize, the Satellite Awards, and was Croatia’s entry for a nomination for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar Awards.
Picnic, by Jure Pavlović, won the European Film Award for Best Short Film, while Dubravka Turić’s Belladonna was selected as the Best Short Film in the official Orizzonti programme of the 72nd Venice Film Festival. Picnic will start its 2016 festival tour competing at the 38th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, while Belladonna will compete at the Sundance Film Festival.
Ivona Juka’s debut feature film, You Carry Me, was screened at the Karlovy Vary Festival, followed by festivals in Sarajevo, Luxembourg and Toruń in Poland. Branko Schmidt’s Ungiven had its world premiere in Moscow, while Life is a Trumpet by Antonio Nuić had its world premiere in Warsaw. 2015 brought numerous awards to Ognjen Sviličić’s These Are the Rules, Zvonimir Jurić’s The Reaper, The Bridge at the End of the World by Branko Ištvančić, as well as to a series of minority co-productions (Sparrows, No One’s Child, Full Contact, Judgement). The end of the year brought Zrinko Ogresta an invitation to the 66th Berlin International Film Festival for his film On the Other Side.
Documentary films were also successful in 2015. Naked Island, by Tiha K. Gudac, was screened at international festivals, along with I Like That Super Most the Best by Eva Kraljević and Sick by Hrvoje Mabić. Award-winning animated films included Choban by Matija Pisačić, Levitation by Marko Meštrović, Nikola Tesla’s Secret Laboratory by Bruno Razum, Hidden Talent by Miran Miošić, the minority co-production Life with Herman H. Rott by Chintis Lundgren, and many others. Damir Očko’s permanent exhibition of his Studies on Shivering at the Croatian Pavillion of the Venice Biennale was made possible through the Croatian Audiovisual Centre’s experimental film production incentives.
In 2015, a total of 96 Croatian films were screened at 70 international festivals and won approximately 40 awards.
Croatian film production and distribution
2015 saw the completion and public screening of 15 feature films, 12 of which were co-financed through The Centre’s public call for applications. Of those co-financed by the Centre, six are minority co-productions. 9 full-length documentaries and 89 short (animated, documentary, experimental and fiction) films were completed and publically screened in 2015.
Through many forms of distribution, 11 feature films, 5 documentary films and 8 minority co-productions generated sales of nearly 80 000 tickets. The most watched film in Croatia in 2015 was The High Sun directed by Dalibor Matanić and produced by Kinorama. It was seen by 42 815 moviegoers. The second most watched film is Life is a Trumpet, directed by Antonio Nuić and produced by Propelor Film. It is currently still in cinemas, and has been seen, so far, by 9 537 viewers. Third place goes to Ivona Juka’s debut film You Carry Me, produced by 4 Films and seen by 8 050 viewers.
In 2015, 10 international projects were agreed upon and completed through incentives offered by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. As a result of these investments in audiovisual works, there were a total of 492 filming days in Croatia during which 166 984 748.86 million HRK was spent on Croatian products and services, while incentives amounted to 32 058 147.96 million HRK. These projects include two television series, two mini-series and six feature films.
The following projects chose to shoot in Croatia: Dig, part 2– from American TV producer NBC/Universal; Fan – Indian feature film directed by Maneesh Sharma starring Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan; Crossing Lines, Season 3 – TV series by German producer Tandem Productions for Canal Plus; En amont du fleuve – Belgian film directed by Marion Hänsel; The Lake – French film directed by Steven Quale and produced by Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp; The Winnetou Trilogy– 3 part German TV film for RTL, directed by Philipp Stölzl; Chris the Swiss – Swiss-Croatian animated documentary by Swiss director Anja Kofmel; The Odyssey (L’Odyssée) – French biopic about Jacques Cousteau directed by Jérôme Salle; German TV film about detective Branka Marić (Murder Unit Split I, II) produced by Constantin Television for ARD; and When My Father Became a Bush (Toen mijn Vader een Struik werd) – Dutch-Croatian children’s film directed by Holland’s Nicole van Kilsdonk.
It should be noted that local spending by projects supported by the Incentives Program is growing annually. Investments of 42 043 745 million HRK between 2012 and 2015 generated 332 454 906.13 million HRK in total income from international productions that, incentivized by a 20% refund of costs, have chosen Croatia as their filming location.
In cinemas and Kino Mreža
After the founding of Kino Mreža – the Croatian Independent Cinemas Network – in November of 2014, this year has marked the beginning of its systematic functioning. Kino Mreža currently has 32 members (37 cinemas) in 27 cities. The Network’s President is Hrvoje Laurent, CEO of Zagreb’s Cinema Europa, while the Network’s Vice-President is Josip Nakić Alfirević, managing director of Public Open University Koprivnica. Membership allows for easier communication between independent cinemas, exchange of knowledge and experience at a national level, and recognizable ‘small cinemas’ who now, under the ‘same roof’, have easier access to the public and more opportunities to build upon an independent cinema brand.
With that goal in mind, a number of activities were organized in 2015, where the Cinema Network positioned itself nationally, in the media and general public, as a new and essential cultural entity.
Through the Network, independent cinemas have organized ‘Women’s Day Weekend’ in honor of International Women’s Day (May 8), and screened award-winning films about strong women; they also organized ‘Family Filming’ from May 15th to 17th in honor of International Family Day; ‘Animafest Weekend for Young and Old’ a special programme organized through the International Animation Film Festival Animafest and held in June; in September ‘Rendez-vous au cinema’ screened a series of French films; and the now, already traditional, Short Film Marathon which was held for the third year in a row from December 18th to 21st in 23 independent cinemas across the country. This year’s programme once again featured open-air screenings at Zagreb’s European Square as well as, for the first time, on Split’s Riva Boardwalk.
Furthermore, a Film Market was organized, for the first time, at the end of September, and held at Art-Kino Croatia in Rijeka. It was a public event organized by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre and Kino Mreža. The Market was held in honor of Kino Mreža’s first anniversary, and its aim was to gather numerous film professionals, cinema owners, distributers and producers, as well as to encourage the development of a platform for the exchange of information, knowledge and skills among representatives of independent Croatian cinemas.
With the aim of attracting more viewers, a promotional campaign was launched in November under the slogan ‘It’s better at the movies’. A promotional cinema and TV trailer was produced, and in collaboration with Kino Mreža, the avant-premiere of The High Sun by Dalibor Matanić was organized, as well as a special screening of Life is a Trumpet by Antonio Nuić. Projects fittingly named ‘Sun on the Road’ and ‘Trumpet on the Road’ gathered the films’ crews, sending them on a national tour attending special events organized by local cinemas and cultural centers.
The Croatian Audiovisual Centre started an initiative where, along with a group of Split residents, they are working on creative programming and merged advertising for Split independent cinemas, preparing for a new, ambitious 2016 cinema season. We are expecting the completion of independent cinemas in Zadar and Šibenik, two important Croatian cities, where there is currently no space for systematic screenings of culturally valuable film works.