Zagreb's My First Script workshop starts delivering
by Marko Stojiljković
- The Zagreb Film Festival's screenwriting workshop can boast its first completed product, The Frog, while two more films are in production
The My First Script workshop of the Zagreb Film Festival is attracting more and more attention on the regional and European levels, enticing interesting feature-film script projects by young writers to be developed under the mentorship of two well-known professionals, Srđan Koljević and Pjer Žalica. This year's edition, the sixth, marks a special occasion, since The Frog, the first film for which the screenplay was developed through the workshop, has been completed. It premiered at the Sarajevo Film Festival and was the closing film at Zagreb.
Elmir Jukić, the director of The Frog, says that the development of the film script was a long process because he wanted to draw back from the stage play it was based on and focus on the source material written by Dubravko Mihanović. “It was useful to work with Srđan Koljević on that first draft of the script at the My First Script workshop. After that, it was all just fine-tuning with my co-writer, Pjer Žalica, my producers and my colleagues,” says Jukić. “It was important to me that I had never met Srđan before, so he provided a fresh pair of eyes and advice in terms of the writing craft, and most importantly, he saw the script as a script, as opposed to an adaptation of a stage play, because I wanted to make a film and not to simply film a piece of theatre.”
Koljević, who has been a mentor since the beginning of the project, and Žalica, who joined him the year after, have noticed that its profile has been rising as the workshop has been getting projects at different stages of production from all over Europe. “The quality of the projects this year is pretty much even, and overall, the projects are getting better year after year. I think there is a rising interest in the workshop,” Žalica says.
The projects come from Croatia, the West Balkans region and the rest of Europe, but the mentors say that there is no difference in terms of the approach to them, apart from the individual sensibilities of the authors, as film language is universal. “The younger generation of filmmakers shares the same viewpoints, follows the same trends and emerges watching the same films, no matter if they are from our region or from somewhere else. There are individual differences, but every story we have developed through the workshop could work anywhere,” Koljević adds.
In the next couple of years, the workshop will raise its profile even more, since the screenplays that have been developed are going into production. Serbia's Ognjen Glavonić is in post-production with The Load [+see also:
interview: Ognjen Glavonić
film profile], Croatian filmmaker Dana Budisavljević's Aktion DB (working title) is currently filming, and another project, Sonja Tarokić's The Staffroom, has secured funding from the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. Several other projects, from Croatia, Hungary and Macedonia, including this year’s winner, Impromptu by János Antal Horváth, have received funding for script development in their home countries.
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