16-07-2020

FESTIVALS: Last Minute Cancellation of Pula Film Festival's July Kick Off

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Pula Award - Golden Arena Pula Award - Golden Arena photo: Pula FF

PULA: The Pula Film Festival, which would have been one of the first major film events to take place since the start of the COVID pandemic, has announced that the event has been called off a few days before it was due to start on 18 July.

The festival has announced plans to move the 2020 edition to early September.

On 10 July Croatian authorities ordered both the Pula Film Festival and the Motovun Film Festival to call off their summer events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to that time the organisers of the Pula Film Festival were planning to go ahead with their usual July dates, which would have been a beacon of hope for a return to normal for the whole of the European film industry.

“In this extraordinary social moment, the health of the audiences, guests, filmmakers, and media representatives is our joint and only priority; and the Festival needs to adjust the programmes in order to take all necessary measures and follow the instructions for the wellbeing of all,” organisers of the Pula Film Festival stated on the day of the ban.

The announcement came at the moment when Pula’s venues were ready to welcome Croatian filmmakers, festival materials had been prepared and all necessary anti-pandemic precautionary measures were already in place.

“I can only tell you the festival is postponed until further notice”, artistic director Zlatko Vidačković has repeated during the past few days, as the organisers vigorously negotiated with the local authorities and the Ministry of Culture, in hopes of being able to present a selection of recent Croatian production to the audience.

On 15 July 2020, a new plan to postpone the Pula Film Festival to early September was greenlighted by the Civil Protection Department, and preparations to restart the festival are ongoing. Meanwhile, Motovun has announced a travelling edition of the festival.

“All stakeholders want the continuity of the Pula Film Festival to be maintained and that the films selected for this year’s edition of the Festival are screened in a quality manner. We hope that the epidemiological conditions will allow for the Festival to take place and that the audience in Pula will be able to enjoy the Festival and the films after all,” the organisers of the festival announced.

The Croatian Programme of the 67th Pula Film Festival will see 16 films competing for Golden Arenas. Five films will compete in the Croatian Film Programme and 11 films in the Minority Co-Productions Programme.