FNE at KVIFF East of the West Competition: Marija’s Own

By Iulia Blaga

    The Croatian director Zeljka Sukova's debut film, Marija's Own, is an unconventional documentary that screens in Karlovy Vary's East of the West competition.

    {mosimage}Marija Violić, the grandmother of Željka Sukova, always used to say that when she would die no one would remember her. This film proves how wrong she was, and it does so in a surreal, nostalgic, yet humorous way. For Marija's Own/Marijine (www.ukus.tv), the granddaughter/director and the two other granddaughters gathered in Marija Violić's appartment for a special rememberance. Their grandmother, who died in 2004, was someone for whom the regular rituals never applied.

    Sukova's film is not only a love story, or a funny and tender love story about a dead loved one (one of the taglines is "Film About Grandma for A Festivals"), but is also a film about those who remain. "What dies and what lives on? If something goes, where does it go? To us, who stay, or? Perhaps we should look at death with a smile, for we don't know its meaning. Should we be at all afraid, should we mourn after the unknown?" the director said in a statement.

    Signs and coincidences happen in Marija'a apartment of Rijeka, Croatia, where the director lives with her husband and their young daughter, Julia.

    {mosimage}"My relationship with death is a nice one. We shot and edited the film and we are actually living the flat of my grandmother, and she is often here, making different signs and manifestations of her presence. This is also remarked on by our visitors and babysitter. We are waiting for support from the departed ones and hopefully some nice surprises!" Sukova told FNE.

    Talking about the shape of the film and the mixture between a documentary and a fiction film, she said, "Well, we didn´t really care about the form and the length, we just wanted to record the moments and make some shape the best we could. The documentary part is the essence, the core of the film; it is based on the real character of our grandmother, and on the fact that there is a missing name on her tombstone. But the heart of the film is the mosaic of the characters of our neighbours and their ideas."

    Born in 1977, Sukova studied graphic art in Zagreb and new media at Prague's Academy of Fine Arts. Before making Marija's Own/Marijine, she worked in production.

    Marija's Own/Marijine had its world premiere at the documentary film festival Hot Docs in Toronto this year, but the selection at Karlovy Vary IFF is special for the film since the DOP, the editor and (last but not least) Sukova's husband Aleš Suk is Czech. The Czech band Midi lidi appears in the film, and will also present a concert during KVIFF this year.

    This "home-made film," as the director puts it, was made with less than €10,000 "because we had all the equipment and all the enthusiasm, and we were willing to sacrifice ourselves." The film is produced by Udruga UKUS (www.ukus.tv), an independent association founded by Sukova and her husband, Aleš Suk.

    "It means this is an extension of our marriage - an officialy accepted cultural association. We were also given €1,300 from the Cultural department of the City of Rijeka (www.rijeka.hr)," Aleš Suk told FNE.

    Sukova said that they would prefer to have a "funny, pleasant profile on FNE." She also announced that the Croatian premiere of the film will take place at the Zagreb Film Festival, 16-23 October 2011, "Of course, with a bus full of neighbours."

    The Croatian Audiovisual Centre (www.havc.hr) has providing supporting of €9,000 thus far for the film's participation at festivals, Ivana Ivisic, Head of Promotion and International Co-operation at HAVC, told FNE. Marija's Own/Marijine will be theatrically released in Canada in January 2012, distributed by Vagrant Films. There is no sales agent attached to the film.

    Production Information

    Udruga UKUS

    Šetalište Joakima Rakovca 31

    51000 Rijeka


    Phone: +38-5.998.111.811


    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    Director: Željka Suková

    Screenplay: Željka Suková

    DOP: Aleš Suk

    Music: Midi Lidi

    Editor: Aleš Suk

    Cast: Nina Violić

    Željka Suková

    Mila Čuljak

    Danira Violić