Magazine article Screen International

A Stranger, Circles Triumph in Pula

Magazine article Screen International

A Stranger, Circles Triumph in Pula

Article excerpt

Cowboys wins audience award, Hush also wins multiple prizes.

The 60th Pula Film Festival - the country's national film festival -- comes to a close today celebrating a particularly strong year for Croatian film. Co-production Circles and Croatian national production A Stranger [pictured] each won a slew of top prizes.

Croatian filmmaking is having something of a boom time at the moment, both in terms of number of productions and their international appeal - both Circles and A Stranger played in Berlin's Forum, and Dual and The Priest's Children were buzzy titles in Karlovy Vary earlier this month.

Pula presented a record 24 titles in its competitions for national films and minority co-productions. The healthy levels of production are in part due to support from the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, but also seeing local broadcasters backing films for the first time in 9 years -- such as festival opening comedy Handymen (Majstori) by Dalibor Matanic.

Of course, Croatia enters the EU this month as a full member, and the country already benefits from MEDIA and Eurimages support.

Showing the range of Croatian work from audience pleasing comedies to more arthouse films is important to festival artistic director Zlatko Vidackovic. He also wants to show them in context. "There are three levels of films -- national films, then we added European films in 2001 then in 2010 added minority co-productions, so films are shown in this context," Vidackovic said.

In the National Competition, A Stranger won best screenplay and best director for Bobo Jelcic and best film presented to producer Zdenka Gold. The jury said: "The film A Stranger by Bobo Jelcic has a number of strong points, excellent screenplay, inspired directing, functional cinematography and an excellent cast without exceptions."

Jelcic receives $5,300 (HRK 30,000) with the Grand Golden Arena award for best film at the festival. The film also won the FEDEORA prize for the main national section and the Croatian Film Critics' Association prize (their minority co-production prize went to Circles.)

The jury gave the Golden Arena for best minority co-production to Circles directed by Srdan Golubovic and produced by Jelena Mitrovic; Golubovic also won best director and Leon Lucev won best actor for his role of Haris.

The Breza award for best debutant in the National Competition went to Tihana Lazovic for her role in Hush. …

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