Ovations for ‘Safe Place’ at the Opening of the 20th Zagreb Film Festival

The screening of Safe Place, a poignant and intimate drama directed by Juraj Lerotić, opened the anniversary 20th edition of Zagreb Film Festival in the packed SC Cinema. The interest and audience turnout will surely mark the opening as the cultural event of the year, which gathered respected representatives of state and city institutions, numerous individuals from Zagreb’s cultural and social scene, directors, actors, writers, members of the media and others. Also present at the opening were the minister of culture and media of the Republic of Croatia Nina Obuljen Koržinek, head of the City Office for Culture, International Relations and Civil Society, Emina Višnić, the director of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Christopher Marcich, and other representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Media, the City of Zagreb, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, and others.

This is the 20th edition of Zagreb Film Festival – the largest international feature film festival in Croatia. On October 7, 2003, we started the festival at this location, and we could not dream of the adventure it would take us on and that, despite numerous challenges we face, we will happily and proudly see this anniversary. There are countless memories from the past 20 years – we have screened over 2000 films, hosted several thousand guests, including Academy Award winners, the Queen of Denmark, and most relevant filmmakers from the region, and we have attracted several hundred thousand spectators not just in Zagreb, but throughout Croatia, Boris T. Matić said.

The feature film competition of this anniversary edition will screen record-breaking four Croatian debuts, so this year’s Festival has been touted as a celebration of Croatian film and the return of the authors whom ZFF grew up with. The Festival welcomes its twentieth edition and it holds the unbreakable bond with its audience and authors for whom we introduced and devised new programs, such as the national program Checkers, The Great 5, the program for children and youth, Together Again… We introduced the Industry program which brings together several thousand professionals in its workshops and lectures – and to some we have been a crucial partner on their way to filming a movie, said executive director Hrvoje Laurenta.

For the last ten years, the Croatian Producers Association has awarded the yearly award “Albert Kapović” at Zagreb Film Festival to individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of audio-visual work during the year or whose activities have significantly contributed to the quality and promotion of Croatian film. This year, the Albert Kapović Award is posthumously awarded to the producer Darija Kulenović Gudan.

As a producer, Darija left a huge mark in our community. She pushed the boundaries and possibilities of Croatian film by showing how contemporary European producers should work. Her work included successful titles such as films Night Boats, Aleksi, My Grandpa Is An Alien, documentary series The Housing Issue, TV series In Treatment, children’s series Lab at the End of Space, and many others. Darija Kulenović Gudan’s heritage also includes her devotion for solidarity among colleagues, a number of younger filmmakers who she unselfishly supported and rejoiced in their successes, her constant reminding of the importance of care for all beings, and the message that the most important things are love and enjoying all the beauties of life, even the smallest ones, Rea Rajčić, member of the Croatian Producers Association’s Committee, said. The award was received by Darija’s daughter, Enea Kulenović Gudan.

The long-awaited Croatian premiere of Safe Place, Juraj Lerotić’s feature film debut, who won the Golden Pram at ZFF 2010 for his short film Then I See Tanja, was met with a long ovation. Before the screening, Lerotić welcomed the audience by saying: This film was inspired by events which happened to me and my family and when I started writing it, I never thought I would make the movie as it seemed too personal. In the end, I starred in it. The film will be screened one more time on Saturday, October 29, and will arrive in local cinemas November 3.