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Recap: 2014 in Croatian Film World

Croatian Audio Visual Agency made a year recap on domestic film industry for Twelve months that are behind us. The large numbers that marked the recent years in some areas keep growing (production, service export, number of renovated screens), and in others flail (cinema rates).

Film Production in 2014
Thirteen Croatian feature fiction films were completed and screened, eight of which benefited from the Centre’s funds. Eleven feature documentary films were completed and screened, as well as one feature experimental fiction and 72 shorts (animated, documentary, experimental and fiction).

Pursuant to the Public Call for Stimulation of Audiovisual Creative Activity in 2014, decisions on co-funding 38 entries were reached, eight of which feature narratives and nine feature documentaries. Artistic advisors proposed these decision to the Croatian Audiovisual Council, convinced that most selected projects have a potential for a successful cinema and festival life. The selected projects mainly include young filmmakers, four co-funded feature fiction films are debuts, four will be directed by women, and one is intended for younger audiences. In different creative categories (development and production), decisions were made to co-finance projects in the amount of HRK 30,064,824.00. Early in 2015, the decision-making process for the 2014 public call second deadline is taking place.

Most of the approved projects ran for production, having already completed all the development stages stimulated by HAVC. The idea to support the projects in all the steps, from the idea to distribution, has become the standard practice. The script development category this year supported 34 projects (18 documentary, 13 fiction, 3 animated), and the project development category supported 17 projects (10 documentary, 7 fiction).

The decisions were also reached on the financing of TV script and project development: the first deadline decided on a total of 20 TV scripts (18 serials and 2 individual) and 15 projects (14 serial and 1 individual), and the second deadline on a total of 15 scripts (13 serial and 2 individual) and 6 projects (for TV serials). These projects were presented at two TV markets to artistic advisor Robert Knjaz and Croatian broadcasters’ editors and producers.

This year also saw the decisions on the co-funding of 14 co-productions with a minority Croatian share, eight of which feature fictions and one feature animation.

Croatian Film Distribution
By 15 December 2014, Croatian films have sold 99,636 theatre tickets. So far the best rates were scored by the third sequel of the story of Koko, Love or Death, directed by Daniel Kušan, produced by Kinorama and distributed by 2i Film, still in distribution, with 36.738 viewers. The second place, with 23,378 viewers went to the film Handymen, directed by Dalibor Matanić, and the third is Number 55, directed by Kristijan Milić, still listed in theatres, seen by this date by 14,136 viewers.

International Festival Success
This year Croatian cinema has been more than ever before present at the most important world festivals. These Are the Rules, written and directed by Ognjen Sviličić, won the best actor award in the Horizons section of the Venice Film Festival, followed by the best director award in Warsar, and Grand Prix in Stockholm and Les Arcs. The short German-Croatian film The Chicken by Una Gunjak (a Sarajevo-born London-based filmmaker), co-produced by Siniša Juričić (Nukleus) has won this year’s EFA for best European short film (60 festivals, 22 awards). The Reaper by Zvonimir Jurić began its festival tour in Toronto’s official competition, followed by Thessaloniki. Cure – The Life of Another by Andrea Štaka and Love Island by Jasmila Žbanić premiered in Locarno. Vis-À-Vis by Nevio Marasović toured 20 international film festivals. Halima’s Path by Arsen A. Ostojić continued its successful festival circuit, and in addition to three previous awards won a total of 31 festival prizes in 2014.

Autofocus, the ironic observational documentary by Boris Poljak, won its first award in Karlovy Vary in the short film category. The feature-length Mitch – the Diary of Schizophrenic Patient won a prize at MID fest in Marseille. Tatjana Božić’s Happily Ever After, On Shaky Ground by Sonja Tarokić, and Mother Europe by Petra Seliškar were shown this year in Rotterdam. Naked Island, Tiha Gudac’s creative project, won the Golden Heart of Sarajevo (for documentary film). Velvet Terrorists, the Slovakian-Czech-Croatian documentary hit, participated in Berlinale’s FORUM section, and the Serbian-Macedonian-Croatian-German co-production Monument to Michael Jackson by Darko Lungulov was shown in Karlovy Vary, and the Slovenian-Croatian Inferno in Pusan, Korea. David Lovrić’s animated film Breakdown was shown in Annecy, and this festival organised a stop-motion focus section screening the films Market by Ana Hušman, The Room by Ivana Jurić, The Tiniest by Tomislav Šoban, and Simulacra by Ivana Bošnjak and Thomas Johnson. Clermont-Ferrand screened the animated film Father by a group of authors, and Miran Miošić’s Hidden Talent. Dane Komljen’s Tiny Bird was shown in Spectrum Shorts category in Rotterdam. The Oberhausen Film Festival screened two Croatian films: The Tiniest by Tomislav Šoban and In the Name of the People by Dalibor Martinis. Petra Zlonoga’s Hunger was screened at the Hiroshima Film Festival.

Film Incentives and Screen Tourism Potential
In 2014, eight projects that applied for the incentive scheme earned the rebate right in the amount of 20 per cent of the total expense accrued in Croatia. These are international productions from France, Sweden, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, USA and Switzerland. In 2014 their total expense amounted to nearly HRK 90 million (around € 11.5 million), which is more than the previous two years together. The expected return on the investment in these eight projects will amount to HRK 16.8 million (€ 2.2 million).
In addition to the globally popular HBO series Game of Thrones (season five), which is being filmed in Croatia for the third year now, the French high-budget TV serial The Borgias (season three) is shot in Croatia for Canal+, as well as the Swedish TV series The Lost Treasure of Aquila for SVT; BBC’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell; and NBC Universal’s DIG, an American serial due to be launched in March 2015. Besides high-profile TV serials, in 2014 Croatia served as the location for the Dutch-Croatian film Full Contact, directed by David Verbeek; the German TV film Winnetous Weiber directed by Dirk Regel, and fiction film Wait for Me, the Swiss-Macedonian-Irish-Croatian co-production directed by Macedonian Mitko Panov. (Read more…)

(Source: havc.hr)

(D.H., 05.01.2015)