A Record Number of Women Directors and Thrillers in the Main Program – 14th ZFF Press Conference Held
At the media conference on 27 October at Cinema Europa, the program of the 14th Zagreb Film Festival was presented. The Festival takes place in Zagreb, from 12 to 20 November at Europa and Tuškanac cinemas, Museum of Contemporary Art, Docucinema KIC, F22 – New Academic Scene and Goethe Institute. For the very first time, the Zagreb opening ceremony will be live streamed in Rijeka’s Art Cinema Croatia, as part of the special event called ZFF Travels. The opulent festival competition and special programs were presented at the conference by Boris T. Matić, festival director, Selma Mehadžić, program coordinator, Hrvoje Laurenta, executive director, and Sanja Milinović, head of the Department for Direct Market Access with Croatian Telecom.
Boris T. Matić reflected on the 13 titles in this year’s feature fiction film COMPETITION: “This year we have, in terms of theme and genre, a most diverse array possible, including comedies, dramas and so far the largest number of thrillers. We are extremely pleased to have as many as four feature narratives directed by women, which is a record in the competition. Next to Hana Jušić (Quit Staring at My Plate) and Katarina Zrinka Matijević (The Trampoline), there is also Israeli filmmaker Maysaloun Hamoud, one of the guests at the 14th ZFF, presenting her charming Isreali-French film In Between, about three young Arab women in Tel Aviv, balancing between urban life and traditional family values, as well as Georgian author Rusudan Glurjidze with her semi-autobiographic drama House of Others.
For the first time in many years, ZFF’s competition does not include a single film from Iceland, but nevertheless a heart-warming cinematic tale opening the festival on Saturday, 12 November, also comes from the North, more accurately, from Finland. The winner of Un Certain Regard in Cannes, the biopic The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki by Juho Kuosmanen, portrays the life of the famous Finnish boxer, seasoned with a lot of humour and warmth. Apart from Olli, lovers of feelgood films might be attracted to the Serbian fairy tale for adults directed by Srđa Penezić, Name: Dobrica, Last Name: Unknown, starring in the role of the Balkan Forrest Gump one of the most famous legendary actors from the former country, Slavko Štimac, another ZFF guest.
In addition to the record-breaking number of Croatian productions running for the Golden Pram, this year’s festival edition features a record-breaking number of thrillers – four of them: Nocturnal Animals, the latest films by the fashion designer and ever more successful filmmaker Tom Ford, which won a Jury Award in Venice; a western-thriller cross-breed Dogs, Romanian director Bogdan Mirica’s debut, coming to ZFF with a FIPRESCI Award from Un Certain Regard in Cannes. Flemish Heaven is defending the Belgian colours in the main program – an outstanding suspense directed by Peter Monsaert, and the program also includes Old Stone, a thriller directed by the Chinese-Canadian director Johnny Ma. The protagonist is a taxi driver responsible of a car accident which pushes him into a relentless bureaucratic grind, based on a series of actual events from the Chinese crime pages.
Selma Mehadžić presented countless new things in this year’s ZFF programs: “The TOGETHER AGAIN section, as per usual, is gathering the authors whose previous films we saw at past festival editions. The main novelty is that this section becomes a competition – the winner will be awarded the Golden Bicycle, which is a result of our effort to systematically follow the work of ‘old’ ZFF filmmakers and to place more focus on their works than before. This year one of the great masters of the Romanian New Wave and the winner of ZFF’s short film competition in 2004, Cristi Puiu, is paying a visit to us to present his dark humour family drama Sieranevada, a Croatian co-production.
ZFF’s collaboration with the European Parliament continues: the LUX FILM DAY section presents three of this year’s finalists for the LUX Award.
This year’s, fifth, INDUSTRY program, meant for film professionals and the interested public, includes, among other things, the significant event This Is How WE Do It!, connecting the 25th birthday of the MEDIA Sub-programme and Canada’s soon-to-be accession to Eurimages (17 November at Europe House). Interesting events are also being organised in association with SPID, Screenwriters and Playwrights Guild: a masterclass with the co-writer of HBO’s new serial The Young Pope, Tony Grisoni, and a discussion under the title New Heavy Guns in the TV World with HBO representatives, focusing on the development and production plans for this region right at the time of wrapping up HBO Adria’s open call for TV serial development.
Many years of successful collaboration with the festival’s general sponsor, Croatian Telecom, were described by Sanja Milinović: “Croatian Telecom for the sixth year in a row proudly supports Zagreb Film festival, definitely one of the most important film events in Croatia. The cooperation between us and the diligent festival team is excellent; due to this fact, our MAXtv users have a chance to see exclusive film content and interesting and appealing titles. The festival warm-up begins with a line-up of award-winning films from the past festival editions, available without an additional fee in MAXtv video library and MAXtv To Go from Wednesday, 9 November, to Friday, 11 November.
The festival’s general sponsor is Croatian Telecom. Media coverage is provided by Croatian Television Channel Three, Jutarnji list, Yammat FM and Gold FM, and it is funded by City of Zagreb Office for Culture, Croatian Audiovisual Centre and Creative Europe – MEDIA Sub-programme.