Karlovy Vary East of the West: No One's Son

    Arsen Anton Ostojic's No One's Son swept the Croatian awards last year: 6 Gold Arenas at the Pula Film Festival, Critics' Award for best film, state award for achievement in film in 2008, and Croatian candidate for the 2009 Academy Awards.

    But despite invitations to numerous international festivals (Pusan, Warsaw, Cottbus, Palm Springs, Sofia, Cleveland, Spirit of Fire, Vilnius and FEST Belgrade) the film has yet to attract an international distributor.

    The birth of this film was not easy: filming was interrupted for a week due to a strike. No One's Son shot for 32 days in spring 2007 on location and at Zagreb studios. It was produced on a budget of 1 million Euros by Jozo Patljak and his production company Alka Film, which also produced Ostojic's first film A Wonderful Night in Split, a candidate for the European Film Academy Discovery Award in 2004.

    Alka Film (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), the leading independent producer in Croatia and the only one equipped with post-production facilities, has produced several films with a minor state subsidies. However, for No One's Son, Alka received half of the film budget (almost 500,000 Euros) from the Ministry of Culture. The film was co-producers by Croatian Radio-Television (www.hrt.hr) and TV Slovenia (www.rtvslo.si), and is locally distributed by art-house distributor Discovery Film (www.discoveryfilm.hr). Box office was expectedly modest, with 3000 spectators.

    A political thriller, it's main characte is Ivan, a 36-year old ex-rock singer and a disillusioned war veteran who lost both legs in the Croatian Homeland War. (Viewers frequently asked whether the actor was an actual paraplegic). His father Izidor, a well-known political prisoner in the former Yugoslavia, is now standing as an independent candidate for the Croatian Parliament. Then a face from the past re-appears: an impoverished Serbian refugee called Simo, who has recently returned to the town. As an ex-communist official, Simo imprisoned Izidor decades ago. He knows certain facts about Izidor that could destroy his reputation and wreck his political campaign. Simo demands money, in return for his silence and he also has a secret rendezvous with Ivan's mother, Ana. Soon a long-buried secret surfaces once more - with huge repercussions for Ivan. He starts to provoke hard-line Croatians by singing Serbian nationalistic songs, daring them to kill him.

    When the film premiered at the 55th Pula Film Festival in July, 2008, it received ovations by the public and mostly positive reviews. Mate Curic in "Glas Istre" wrote: "Top notch performance that keeps you hanging at the edge of your seat... World class political thriller." Tomislav Kurelec from "Vjesnik" praised "Excellent directing and effective camera work", while Vesna Pazin from "Slobodna Dalmacija" wrote that "Conceived and executed like a Greek tragedy, the film gets right in your face from its opening scenes.... it overwhelms with its complex directing and excellent acting".

    Online reviews were even more positive: Robert Jukic from www.film-mag.net wrote "This demanding drama has been impressively transferred to the screen visually, as well as in the aspects of directing and acting." Zoran Zmiric from www.popcorn.hr wrote that "No One's Son is a movie that takes the best possible course in depicting post-war reality in the Balkans. The tragic heroes of this story do an excellent job of portraying the absurd of warfare and human blindness in times of vulnerability, when those in power skillfully manipulate human feelings and transforming people from self-aware individuals to emotional, mental and physical cripples."

    Director's web page: http://www.arsenantonostojic.com

    Film web page: http://www.arsenantonostojic.com/aao/noonesson.html

    For international film festival invitations, contact Arsen Anton Ostojic, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Production company: Alka film d.o.o.

    Jozo Patljak, gen.manager

    Dedici 21, 10000 Zagreb, Phone/fax: (01) 4674187,
    E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Croatian radio-television, www.hrt.hr

    TV Slovenia, www.rtvslo.si

    Local distributor:
    Discovery film, www.discoveryfilm.hr

    Last modified on 30-10-2009