Kosovar drama “Hive” opens 19th ZFF

On Sunday night, the screening of the Kosovar film Hive, a drama about a woman whose business rocked the patriarchal community, ceremoniously opened the 19th Zagreb Film Festival. After more than 10 years, Zagreb Film Festival returned to the Zagreb SC Cinema, where it started in 2003 as the then only international festival of feature film in Zagreb. 

Festival director Boris T. Matić and executive director Hrvoje Laurenta were joined on stage of SC Cinema by producers of Hive, Valon Bajgora and Agon Uka, and Deputy Mayor of Zagreb Luka Korlaet. The new festival beginning was also supported by members of the Ministry of Culture and Media, and the CEO of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre Chris Marčić, while the winners of the Albert Kapović Award were traditionally announced at the opening of ZFF, which were presented by Sanja Ravlić on behalf of the Croatian Producers Association.

“For over a year and a half we have fought the uncertainty brought by COVID-19. Last year we opened our online edition streamed over digital platforms in the empty Tuškanac Cinema. Regardless of the fact we had to move from the big to the small screens, the interest of the audience was huge and we celebrated our coming of age at home. But we all know that is not it. The festival is the celebration of films, which implies watching them together in the seductive darkness of cinemas. And by respecting all epidemiological measures, films and festivals have returned where they belong, to cinemas with audiences. In order to keep it that way and for all of us to come to screenings care-free, aside from COVID passes and valid negative tests, we have additionally reduced cinema capacities, we will measure temperature at the entrance, and masks are mandatory.

Never before has our competition program had such a selection of winning films from A-list world festivas as this year. Among the films competing for ZFF awards are laureates of the Palme d’Or, Golden Lion, and Golden Bear, as well as winners of Sundance, Karlovy Vary, and Sarajevo. We will present films which deal with abortion and homosexuality, several films will take us into the world of fantasy, and through the still current topic of migrants, we will also see the cross-section of Croatian society. A large number of films are national Oscar candidates, and some are also competing for the European Film Academy Awards”, Boris T. Matić stated.

“All our programs, including the program of the KinoKino festival for children, will show a total of 134 films. Aside from SC Cinema, films will also be screened in Tuškanac Cinema, &TD Theatre, Urania on Kvatrić, but also on our digital platforms kinoeuropa.hr and croatian.film. Aside from films, we are once again organizing the Industry program, an educational film platform aimed at professionals and all those who want to know more about film. We have prepared a series of workshops and lectures in collaboration with Creative Europe Desk – MEDIA Office Croatia, Filmmakers Association of Croatia, Restart, HUB 385, Italian Institute for International Trade in Zagreb — ICE Agency and Italian Embassy in Croatia, Academy of Dramatic Art, French Institute, Goethe Institute, and Croatian Film Directors’ Guild”, Hrvoje Laurenta stated.

Deputy Mayor of Zagreb Luka Korlaet opened the 19th Zagreb Film Festival with the following statement: “Dear ZFF, I congratulate you on your longevity. Everything continuously taking place for 19 years deserves recognition, and especially a festival which seriously approaches these turbulent and unfortunate circumstances with dedication and high-quality outcome. The Zagreb Film Festival has long been an integral part of the cultural map of our city, and I believe it played an important role for generations of filmmakers, filmlovers, but also all those who visited your screenings. I was one of them. I was at all the festival’s editions and there I discovered authors such as Sofia Coppola, Steve McQueen, and Andrej Zvjagnicev. Those are not single-use films, but films which linger in our memory and which I dare say change the viewer’s DNA.”

Winners of the Albert Kapović Award, awarded by the Croatian Producers Association to individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of film art or whose activities have significantly contributed to the quality and promotion of Croatian film, were announced by Sanja Ravlić, member of the Croatian Producers Association’s Committee: “This year, the committee has unanimously decided to award two equal awards: to Ivana Ivišić and Danijel Pek. Both have contributed to the improvement of Croatian film and audiovisual activities. As the founder and long-term first head of the Department of Festivals and Promotion at the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Ivana Ivišić has laid the foundations of successful promotion and publicity of Croatian film and Croatian filmmakers at international film festivals and professional platforms. Danijel Pek on the other hand is the person behind this year’s greatest international festival successes of a Croatian film, especially the prestigious Caméra d’Or for best debut film at this year’s Cannes Festival for Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović’s film Murina.”

Before the screening of Hive which won all three main awards at the international program of the Sundance Festival, for the first time in its history, director Blerta Basholli addressed the audience via video-message, and Hive’s producers Valon Bajgora i Agon Uka also greeted ZFF’s audience in SC Cinema. “We thank you for your invitation to the Zagreb Film Festival. We are happy to screen the film we have worked so long and hard on, and we believe the audience will identify with the story”, they said.

At the end, festival director Boris T. Matić thanked all those who supported the festival this year. They are: the City Office for Culture, Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Creative Europe — Subprogram MEDIA, Zagreb Tourist Board, Croatian Film Directors’ Guild, and the European Parliament. We must not forget FED, Kerschoffset, The Westin, the official car Emil Frey-Citroen, Jutarnji List, Yammat, and all other media partners.