New female voices from Croatia grow louder
- Supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, five emerging female directors are presenting their debut features to international audiences
It has been a busy year for the Croatian film industry, especially in the last few months – and particularly for female directors, who have recently been presenting their debut films or are aiming to showcase them in the coming months. Having received support from the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC), five such helmers are now introducing their first feature films.
Let’s start by looking at two of them that had their premieres during the summer: Dana Budisavljević delivered The Diary of Diana B [+see also:
interview: Dana Budisavljević
film profile], a historical film that tells the emotional story of a forgotten World War II humanitarian, narrating the tale by blending elements of documentary and fiction. The film, which premiered at Pula this July, where it scooped four Golden Arenas, including for Best Croatian Film (see the news), was also recently crowned with the Best Debut Film Award at the 29th edition of the FilmFestival Cottbus (see the news). In addition, it can already boast almost 30,000 admissions sold from one-off and festival screenings.
The other filmmaker who introduced herself on the international level recently is Slađana Lučić, whose feature documentary Little Star Rising was first screened during the 25th Sarajevo Film Festival and tells the story of Nudžejma Softić, an athlete who started training at the age of 28 and who, in just two years, turned from a non-swimmer into the first European woman to compete in the Ironman triathlon wearing a hijab. The documentary is being produced by Tamara Babun for Wolfgang&Dolly, in co-production with Lejla Dedić and Sead Kreševljaković for Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Al Jazeera Balkans.
As for the upcoming films, three features are on the cusp of being completed. Sonja Tarokić, who was involved in the omnibus feature Transmania (A Twisted Game) [+see also:
film profile], is about to present The Staffroom, which explores the small-time corruption that is rife in various hierarchies and which is anchored in a socially based defeatist attitude. This is all seen through the eyes of Annamarija (Marina Redžepović), a primary-school counsellor who is put under pressure by the staffroom’s power groups, to which she must adapt in order to avoid being defeated. Produced by Ankica Jurić Tilić for Kinorama, the film is currently in the editing phase, with delivery scheduled for spring 2020.
Best known as an actress, Nina Violić has also directed two successful shorts – Separation and The Lamb. In her debut feature, which bears the working title Family Dust, she explores our inability to objectively perceive the world around us. The film is shot Rashomon-style and follows the final half-hour of a crumbling marriage, as told from the perspectives of the wife (portrayed by the director), her husband (Goran Bogdan) and their six-year-old child. Starting with psychological drama, and subsequently progressing using a humorous and cynical form of repetition, the film arrives at the child’s point of view, which is free of psychological analysis and where animated sequences are used to enhance the result. Produced by Vanja Sremac and Zdenka Gold for Spiritus Movens Production, the film is currently in production, with the live-action parts due to be completed in December and the puppet scenes to follow shortly afterwards. It will enter post-production after that, with an expected delivery in summer 2020.
Finally, after working in the production department on several prominent Croatian feature films, Ivana Marinić Kragić is directing her feature documentary Nun of Your Business, which tells a story about love but in the most unexpected way. The film follows two young nuns (Maruška Aras and Mia Anočić-Valentić) who meet during a Catholic gathering in Croatia and fall in love, even though they live in two separate convents. Now they will have to face the most difficult decision of their lives. Ivana Marinić Kragić also lensed the film, and she co-penned the script with Ivana Vuković. Also being produced by the director for Marinis Media, in co-production with Miloš Ivanović for Serbia’s Platforma, the documentary is currently in post-production, and the team aims to premiere it in early 2020.
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