Film production in Croatia had hovered around 4-6 feature film a year for most of the past decade but Pula FF was able to present a programme of 10 Croatian feature films produced this year. Most screenings as well as the awards ceremony took place in the Pula Arena, an ancient Roman arena overlooking the Mediterranean and for those lucky enough to be there it was an unforgettable experience.
While some of the films being screened were still produced under the old funding system the those films benefiting from the new funding scheme showed a courageous willingness to take on serious social problems and strike out in new directions. With just around 3.5m Euros annually for film funding in this country of 4.5m people the Croatian filmmakers have obviously done a lot with very little.
Grand Prix winner Metastases (Metastaze) directed by Branko Schmidt and produced by Telefilm (www.telefilm.hr) had already screened in this year's Moscow International FF and was also the favourite of foreign critics and film professionals attending the Croatian Film Focus which was organized for the first time this year as a special event to showcase Croatian Film. Another film that caught the eye of foreign critics was The Blacks (Crnci) directed by Zvonimir Juric and Goran Devic and produced by Kinorama, Zagreb (www.kinorama.hr)
The Pula programme also included a presentation by the HAVC of projects in progress which gave visiting professionals a chance to see clips from projects that would have their debut at the end of 2009 or in 2010. Of special interest was an unfinished project Bella Biondina directed by veteran Croatian director Daniel Marusic who passed away before the film could be completed. The film is now being completed by his colleagues.
There is also a full length animated feature film Duga / The Rainbow directed by Josko Marusic. This is the first animated film produced in Croatia in 20 years although the country was formerly famous for its animation. With less than 50 animated features produced annually worldwide there is sure to be major international interest in the film which will be in Croatian cinemas in December of this year.
Pula Film Festival Prize Winners of the Golden Arena: National Competition
Metastases (Metastaze) directed by Branko Schmidt
Producer: Telefilm, Zagreb
Breza Award for Best Debut:
Zagreb Stories (Zagrebačke priče), omnibus by a group of directors
Producer: Propeler Film, Zagreb
The Blacks (Crnci) by Zvonimir Juric and Goran Devic
Producer: Kinorama, Zagreb
Best Script: Antonio Nuic
Donkey (Kenjac) by Antonio Nuic
Best Cinematography: Mirku Pivčeviću
Best Actress: Dijani Vidušin
Love Life of Sluggard (Ljubavni život domobrana), by Pavo Marinkovic
Producer: Alka Film, Zagreb
Best Supporting Actress: Leni Politeo
The Land of Wonders (U zemlji cudesa) by Dejan Sorak
Producer: Interfilm, Zagreb
Best Actor: Reneu Bitorajcu
Metastases (Metastaze) by Branko Schmidt
Best Supporting Actor: Nikši Butijeru
Best Sound: Dubravki Premar
Best Makeup: Jasni Rosini
Best Costumes: Doris Kristić
Best Art Direction: Velimiru Domitroviću
Best Score: Srđanu Guliću Gulu
Best Editing: Dubravku Slunjskom
Audience Award for Best Film
I Believe in Angels (Vjerujem u andjele) by Niksa Svilicic