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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Croatia / Qatar

Celebration bound for a Karlovy Vary premiere

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- The debut feature by Bruno Anković is an adaptation of Damir Karakaš’s novel of the same name and follows a poverty-stricken villager over the course of 20 years

Celebration bound for a Karlovy Vary premiere
Klara Fiolić and Bernard Tomić in Celebration

Celebration [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
is an adaptation of the multi-award-winning novel of the same name written by Damir Karakaš, which follows a poor villager called Mijo over the course of four chapters, each set in a different season, spanning a period of 20 years, from the protagonist’s childhood in the 1920s to the last days of World War II. The script was written by Jelena Paljan (known for her work on Dana Budisavljević’s docu-fiction The Diary of Diana B. [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dana Budisavljević
film profile
]
and The Last Socialist Artefact [+see also:
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series profile
]
TV series). For Bruno Anković, the director, this will be his debut fiction feature, after a string of shorts and commercial videos that earned him a number of awards. Celebration was shot on location in the mountainous, wooded Lika region of Croatia, and is set to premiere in the Crystal Globe Competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (see the news).

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“When I first read Karakaš’s novel Celebration, I was extremely impressed by how we get to see the history of our regions stuck in the vicious cycles of war, poverty and the tragic hope that, some day, it might all get better, all told from the viewpoint of the protagonist and his family, and largely devoid of the context of the big historical events. The film deals with the questions of how politics and ideology shape our private lives, and why it is impossible to avoid them,” Anković said about the film.

The main role is played by three actors: Bernard Tomić (briefly glimpsed in Ivona Juka’s 2015 title You Carry Me [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ivona Juka
film profile
]
) appears as the adult Mijo, newcomer Lars Štern plays him as a youngster, while Jan Doležal does so as a boy. The role of Mijo’s father is played by Krešimir Mikić (most recently seen in Jasna Nanut’s Seventh Heaven [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
and Lukas Nola’s Escort [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), and the role of Mijo’s wife, Drenka, by Klara Fiolić. The cast list also includes Izudin Bajrović, Tanja Smoje, David Tasić Daf and Nedim Nezirović, among others.

Crew-wise, Celebration was lensed by Aleksandar Pavlović and edited by Tomislav Stojanović. Julij Zornik served as the sound designer, while Alen and Nenad Sinkauz wrote the musical score. Bojan Drezgić handled the production design, while Morana Starčević oversaw the costume design and Snježana Gorup took care of the make-up.

Celebration was produced by Tina Tišljar and Rea Rajčić, of Croatian production company Eclectica, who stated that the selection of the film for the main Karlovy Vary competition came as proof of the quality of the story and the message of the source novel and film, revolving around a little man from the heart of Lika. “We are glad that the premiere comes as a confirmation to everyone in front of and behind the camera that all of the effort, time and care invested in the production of this truly challenging film has paid off,” they added.

Officially, Celebration is a co-production of Croatia and Qatar, although Slovenian company Pakt Media, represented by co-producers Diego Zanco and Ira Cecić, also provided support. The film was financially supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the Doha Film Institute, Creative Europe – MEDIA and Croatian Radio-Television. The project was developed at Studio Wajda’s Ekran+ workshop in Poland as well as the First Cut+ workshop. It was presented within the When East Meets West industry programme of Trieste and at the Qumra industry event in Qatar.

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