Program of the 21st Zagreb Film Festival Revealed

21st Zagreb Film Festival program unveiled
(Photo credit: Samir Ceric Kovacevic)
At the press conference held on Wednesday, 18 October, at Urania – space of creation, the program of the 21st edition of the Zagreb Film Festival, the largest international feature film festival in Croatia, was presented by ZFF director Boris T. Matić, and producers Lana Matić and Selma Mehadžić.

“We are excited to present another rich and diverse program to our audience, taking place from 6 to 12 November at CineStar Branimir, SC cinema, Kinoteka, MSU, Dokukino KIC, as well as on online platforms and Due to the renovation of city cinemas, this year we will showcase the feature film competition – a selection of the best debut works from around the world – at CineStar Branimir. In Together Again and The Great 5 programs, we bring a series of films from established authors. These are films that will undoubtedly leave a mark on the upcoming film season, and our audience will have the opportunity to be among the first to see them,” stated Boris T. Matić.

Eight films are competing for the Golden Pram in the International Feature Film Competition. A feature film debut by Jasna Nanut, the comedy Seventh Heaven, will open the 21st edition of ZFF. The film was developed in ZFF’s workshop My First Script, and it follows the romantic troubles of a charming philanderer (Krešimir Mikić) through a series of tragicomic attempts to confess his affair to his wife (Iva Mihalić). In the lead role of the touching and delicate Spanish drama 20,000 Species of Bees by director Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren, we will watch 9-year-old Sofia Otero, the youngest Silver Bear recipient in the history of the Berlin Film Festival! With the Audience Award from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, ZFF brings Radical, a contagiously optimistic film by Mexican director Christopher Zalla, starring Eugenio Derbez (CODA). Also returning viewers to the school desks is Excursion, a debut film by Una Gunjak (The Chicken ― Winner of the EFA Award for Best Short Film in 2014), the Bosnian Academy Award candidate. It tells the story of Sarajevo teenager Iman (Asja Zara Lagumdžija), whose seemingly harmless lie thrusts her into the center of a school scandal. Addressing teenage issues is How to Have Sex, a film by British director Molly Manning Walker, winner of the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes, described by The Guardian as “a guide to sexual consent for partygoers”. The film Lost Country is inspired by the personal experiences of director Vladimir Perišić (Ordinary People, 2009), taking viewers to Serbia in 1996. Fifteen-year-old Stefan is faced with the toughest decision ― he must confront his beloved mother (Jasna Đuričić ― Quo Vadis, Aida?), the spokesperson for a corrupt government his friends are fighting against. The film premiered at this year’s Critics’ Week in Cannes, where actor Jovan Ginić was awarded the Louis Roederer Foundation Prize for Rising Star. The romantic drama Past Lives by Canadian-Korean author Celine Song is a subtle and nuanced exploration of the concept of fateful connections (the Korean concept of in-yun), described by critics as a blend of Before Sunrise and In the Mood for Love. The feature debut of Icelandic director Ninna Pálmadóttir (All Dogs Die ― ZFF 2020), Solitude, delves into an unexpected friendship, based on a screenplay by the author well-known to ZFF’s audience, Rúnar Rúnarsson. Two award-winning films by regional authors will be featured in the main program, out of competition. These are the historical thriller Guardians of the Formula, directed by the renowned actor, producer, and director Dragan Bjelogrlić, which received awards in Sarajevo and Locarno, and the explosive family drama Housekeeping for Beginners by Goran Stolevski, winner of the Queer Lion award in Venice. Before Housekeeping for Beginners, the short film My Flat from 1963 by Zvonimir Berković, which received a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Festival, will be screened to mark the 70th anniversary of Zagreb Film. Thanks to the collaboration with the Croatian Association of the Blind, screenings of the films Seventh Heaven and Excursion will be adapted for the blind and visually impaired. Eight films have been selected for the national short film competition Checkers by selector Vladimir Gojun. This year, those are: Short Cut Grass by David Gašo, Under the Rug by Paško Vukasović, Let Love In by Kristina Barišić, Creepy Crawlies by Filip Zadro, The Pack by Marko Jukić, Skummy by Saša Poštić, It’s Alright, It’s Nice by Luka Galešić, and I’ll be the First by Martina Marasović. The true story film The Real Truth About the Fight by Andrea Slaviček, which was included in the Critics’ Week program at Cannes, will be screened out of competition. This marks the festival’s participation in the “H15 ― 15 Years in Our Film” project, celebrating 15 years of HAVC’s activity. The competitive program for international short films features 10 works: the Norwegian film Tits by Eivind Landsvik, showcased in the short film competition at Cannes, the Swiss-Portuguese Please Make It Work by Daniel Soares (What Remains ― ZFF 2022), the Norwegian Observation by Christoffer Lossius, the Bulgarian Everything Tastes Strange Today by Kristina Spassovska, the Swedish Container Scanning by Edvin Hallberg and Anton Hellström, the Spanish-Argentinian None of That by Francisco Canton and Patricio Martinez, the German Sentimental Stories by Xandra Popescu, the Greek Scorched Earth by Markela Kontaratou, the Chinese A Tortoise’s Year of Fate by Yi Xiong, and the Polish A Dead Marriage by Michał Toczek. The members of the jury for the 21st Zagreb Film Festival have also been announced. The jury for the best feature films will consist of Macedonian actress and producer Labina Mitevska (God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya, The Happiest Man in the World), Austrian screenwriter and director Sebastian Meise (Great Freedom ― Golden Pram, ZFF 2021), and Norwegian producer Renée Hansen Mlodyszewski (The Worst Person in the World). The jury for the best short films will be comprised of Croatian director Josip Lukić (It’s Not Cold for Mosquitoes ― Golden Pram, ZFF 2022), Slovenian director Matjaž Ivanišin (That’s How the Summer Ended ― Golden Pram, ZFF 2022), and Daniel Ebner, co-founder and artistic director of the Vienna Shorts festival. More info on other programs and events are available here.

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