French Dramedy ‘Alice and the Mayor’ Opens the 17th ZFF this Thursday!

The new edition of Zagreb’s grandest cinematic adventure will be held over a record 11 days, from Thursday until Sunday, 7th till 17th of November, at Tuškanac Cinema, KIC Hall, Museum of Contemporary Art, Dubrava Public University, Cultural Center Travno, Croatian Music Institute, F22 – New Academy Scene and HUB385.

As always, the pivotal point of the festival is the main competition program of feature and short films, providing an overview of best recent debut and other films from around the globe, as well as the national short film competition program, Checkers, a platform that has hosted short films of all the most important domestic new names.

This year’s ZFF is framed by two political film stories. At the opening in Lauba, we will see the charming French dramedy Alice and the Mayor by Nicolas Pariser about a once ambitious mayor of Lyon “who feels like an expensive and powerful car with no gas” and his relationship with a young philosopher who is tasked with arming him with new, progressive ideas. The film will be presented to Zagreb’s audience by the guest of the 17th ZFF, actor Pascal Rénéric.

The political satire The Barefoot Emperor directed by Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens will close the festival as the twelfth film shown in the main program outside of competition. The sequel to King of the Belgians (ZFF 2016) with Geraldine Chaplin has a Croatian co-producer (Propeler Film) and it was filmed entirely in Croatia. The film will be presented at the closing by co-director Jessica Woodworth, actor Titus De Voogdt and members of the Croatian film crew.

The festival will again host numerous filmmakers. At the very beginning of this year’s festival story, on Friday and Sunday, Ena Sendijarević and Ivana Mladenović are arriving to Zagreb. They are authors of exceptionally interesting directorial works whose films will be shown in the main competition program. Take Me Somewhere Nice by Ena Sendijarević is a Dutch-Bosnian road film about the return of a young émigré to Bosnia and Herzegovina and it has already won the Heart of Sarajevo award. Also coming to ZFF is the winner of the Special Jury Prize – Cineasti del Presente at the Locarno Festival, the Romanian-Serbian film Ivana the Terrible by Ivana Mladenović, a sharp-witted autobiographical comedy about a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown and everyday stresses within a small community.

On Monday, the Norwegian director Dag Johan Haugerud will present his film Beware of Children, also from the competition program. This Norwegian sociodrama premiered at Authors’ Days and goes to the heart of the idea of tolerance and its disintegration in the clash of irreconcilable world views. The Belgian Oscar contender, Our Mothers by Cesar Dias, deals with the consequences of the Guatemalan Civil War, and has already won the Best Debutant Award at Cannes Critics’ Week. The film will be presented by leading actor Armando Espitia.

Beside the main program of feature and short film, ZFF has two additional competition programs. The program Together Again will feature films by authors whose work we have continuously followed through the festival program or film distribution, and this year those are the new films by Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit, Grímur Hákonarson, The County, Roy Andersson, About Endlessness, Gabriel Mascaro, Divine Love, and Pablo Larrain, Ema.

Films in the competition program PLUS are chosen and awarded by Zagreb highschool students, and among them are the films Let There Be Light by Marko Škop and The Diary of Diana B. by Dana Budisavljević (jury member for the feature film competition program along with directors Elmir Jukić and Ágnes Kocsis), who will also personally present their films to the public.

Along with the permanent and popular programs The Great 5, LUX Film Days, My First Film and Bib for Kids, this year we are presenting two new ones. Chosen by the curator, film critic Diana Nenadić, prompted by Croatia’s presidency of the EU Council, we present the program Fragments of the Exile whose small sample will show how some renowned European filmmakers have reacted to different aspects of that ineradicable phenomenon, while the program Two Berlins – Films Across the Wall was prepared by Restart and Dokukino KIC in cooperation with Goethe-Institut Kroatien and ZFF to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall.

During the eight days of the INDUSTRY program, ZFF’s educational and networking platform for professionals, but also anyone interested, there will be a number of lectures, panels, and workshops, as well as a pitching forum with 7 student projects from the region. Top experts in design and narrative development of video games are coming to Zagreb, but also from the currently most interesting segment of global audiovisual production – TV storytelling.

After it visited a record 16 cities last year, the program ZFF Travels continues this year. A record 11 days of program definitely deserves a larger number of audience to enjoy it. That is why, this year, Zagreb Film Festival is visiting 21 cinemas in 20 cities. Simultaneously with Zagreb’s audience, two feature films from the Main program and one film from the program Together again will be screened all over Croatia. The cities on the list are Bjelovar, Bol, Dubrovnik, Hvar, Imotski, Ivanec, Koprivnica, Omiš, Podgora, Prelog, Rijeka, Rovinj, Samobor, Slatina, Split, Šibenik, Varaždin, Velika Gorica, Zadar, Zagreb, Sv. Ivan Zelina and SOS Childrens’ Villages Lekenik and Ladimirevci. On its voyage, ZFF also offers entertainment for its youngest audience, but also the program of Croatian short film Checkers for all those interested in new Croatian production.