Focus: Croatia

Croatian filmmakers have always made a strong contribution to what used to be called Yugoslav cinema. Among the most successful were directors like Branko Bauer, Vatroslav Mimica, Ante Babaja, Krešo Golik, Krsto Papić, Rajko Grlić or Lordan Zafranović. In the 1970s, so called Zagreb School of Animated Film rose to international fame, especially after Dušan Vukotić won the Academy Award for his animated short, Surogat, in 1963. Since the early 1990s when Croatia became an independent country, it went through a cascade of political changes that have affected society, culture and, inevitably, filmmaking. The list of most distinguished and internationally recognised figures of the new generation of Croatian filmmakers include Vinko Brešan, Zrinko Ogresta, Branko Schmidt, Ognjen Sviličić, Dalibor Matanić, and Arsen A. Ostojić. Over the past decade, Croatian cinema has experienced a significant growth, largely thanks to the excellent performance of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC). Solid long-term programming and financial policies have allowed HAVC to encourage, in a new and creative way, the production of films that have scored success at home and abroad. Several Croatian films have made it big internationally in the last three years: A Stranger by Bobo Jelčić premiered at Berlinale 2013; The High Sun by Dalibor Matanić won in Cannes 2015; Zrinko Ogresta’s On the Other Side made it to Berlin’s Panorama this year; The Constitution, a new film by veteran filmmaker Rajko Grlić won Grand Prix at this year’s Montreal IFF; and young director Hana Jušić won the FEDEORA award at Venice 2016 for Quit Staring at My Plate (Ne gledaj mi u pijat). To reflect the recent surge in the qualitative and quantitative output of Croatian cinema, the Bratislava International Film Festival not only decided to dedicate an entire section to this small but cinematically prolific country but also to bestow the Award for Excellence in World Cinema to internationally acclaimed Croatian actor Rade Šerbedžija.

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