Online Edition of Zagreb Film Festival Opened via Live Stream

Director of Zagreb Film Festival Boris T. Matić and executive director Hrvoje Laurenta opened this year’s, in many ways special, eighteenth edition of Zagreb Film Festival via live internet stream Sunday night. The festival which has held the reputation as one of Croatia’s liveliest manifestations will, in this pandemic-marked year, be held without physical socializing and parties, but audiences from all over Croatia will be able to enjoy eight festival days filld with online screenings of over a hundred films, interesting lectures and workshops.

The best online film party in Croatia started with the screening of the film shown out of competition, the favorite of Berlin and Pula audiences, Father directed by Srdan Golubović, and will continue Monday 6 pm with screenings of Slavek Horak’s biopic Havel about the famous Czech writer and statesman, the film Echo, visually captivating postcard from Iceland directed by Rúnar Rúnarsson and others.

“We opened the last 17 editions of Zagreb Film Festival by greeting esteemed representatives of city and state institutions. There are no representatives of institutions, sponsors and foreign guests. There is no cinema tonight. I mean, there is. We are here, but you are not in front of us. There is no audience. We do not know who is watching us on their screens. So without some special protocol, we wholeheartedly greet all of you and sincerely thank you for being with us again at the beginning of this special and different festival edition”, Boris T. Matić stated.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have carefully monitored the situation on the festival scene both in Croatia and around the world in the past 8-9 months, and have worked on several options on how to hold the festival when it comes of age. We planned, so to say, a “normal” edition of the festival. Then a combination between screening films in cinemas with part of the program online. We wanted to return to the Student Centre cinema, from which the whole festival story started in 2003, where new measures dictated only 300 seats instead of 1100. We had hoped until the very last moment that we would see each other in dark cinemas, even in a smaller number. But since the number of infected people has skyrocketed, the only responsible and reasonable solution was to go completely online.”

Traditionally, the Croatian Producers Association awards the Albert Kapović Award at Zagreb Film Festival to persons who’ve distinguished themselves in the field of audio-visual work. The winner of the award, producer Sanja Ravlić, declared this year’s winner, Josip Krunić, a retired professor of Croatian language, founder and long-time leader of Studio of Creative Ideas from Gunja (SKIG).

The Main program of the 18th ZFF will feature films from Palestine and Afghanistan, but also from other parts of the world. There will also be films about the coming of age of its heroines, films about the problems of a corrupt system and separation of children and parents, and other interesting films. All of different genres. Some films were awarded at large world festivals, some are national Oscar candidates, and some are nominees for the European Film Academy Award. But all of them are exceptionally visually impressive and masterfully directed, Boris T. Matić stressed for the program highlights of this year’s festival edition.

The Together Again program features films from ZFF’s old acquaintances Xavier Dolan, Radu Jude, Pjer Žalica, Rúnar Rúnarsson and others. The Great 5 traditionally presents the cinematography of five large European countries, and our youngest audience can enjoy recent children’s films from the program KinoKino. Beside film screenings, an important segment of ZFF is Industry, which in collaboration with CED – Media Office Croatia and Media Office Serbia, Restart, Spid, HUB 385, Office of the EU Parliament, Goethe Institute, the French Institute in Zagreb, Digitelling and Edu4games, Academy of Dramatic Arts, Midpoint, Croatian Film Directors’ Guild brings a series of online workshops and lectures. Industry also features the film program Festivals in the Spotlight with a record number of films available for free.

At the end of the ceremony, Boris T. Matić and Hrvoje Laurenta have thanked all who have supported Zagreb Film Festival: the City Office for Culture, Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Creative Europe – a MEDIA sub-programme, the Croatian Film Directors’ Guild, the European Parliament and Zagreb Tourist Board, the monetary awards sponsor Addiko Bank, Zagrebačka Pivovara, Mastercard, FED, Jutarnji List, radio Yammat FM and other sponsors and media partners.