The 26th Youth Film Festival and the 14th Four River Film Festival will be held from 7th to 11th September 2021 in Karlovac, co-organized by the Croatian Film Association and the Cinema Club Karlovac, and this year as many as 1,415 films have been submitted to the Festivals.
The audience was addressed by Suzana Šnajder representing the Technical Culture Community of Karlovac County and the City of Karlovac, as well as Marina Burić, the director of the Karlovac Tourist Board, Draženka Sila – Ljubenko, Head of the Administrative Department for Social Activities of the City of Karlovac, Marija Šćulac, Head of the Administrative Department of Education, and the festivals’ organizers Sanja Zanki Pejić, the Head of educational and festival programs of the Croatian Film Association and Ksenija Sanković, the Head of media programs at Cinema Club Karlovac.
The work of Cinema Club Karlovac and all its members, especially when it comes to the YFF and FRFF, has been commended by Suzana Šnajder, the representative of the Technical Culture Community of Karlovac County (one of this year’s sponsors) and the Technical Culture Community of the City of Karlovac: The 26th Youth Film Festival and the 14th Four River Film Festival’s numbers prove the longevity of Cinema Club Karlovac’s ideas, and they show their value which is internationally recognized. Every year, the growing number of submissions, the quality of the films and the participants are just some of the indicators of good work. Ksenija Sanković is only a small wheel on this merry carousel of Cinema Club’s activity and she makes sure all goes as planned, that no one falls off and everyone has a good time. In addition to her, there are 138 other members and over 100 volunteers who maintain the entire amusement park and keep it alive. The Technical Culture Communities of Karlovac County and the City of Karlovac encourage the work of this association financially or with equipment so they could carry out their planned activities. We are sure that the youth will continue to strive for something better and newer, and we’re also sure that investing in Cinema Club Karlovac will pay off.
Marina Burić, the director of the Tourist Board, also commented on the Festivals’ importance: The general importance of such events and festivals for one place is unquestionable, but this one is special for us because it is named after one of the symbols of Karlovac, our four rivers. Due to the exceptional efforts of all involved, Karlovac will be the focus of young filmmakers from all over the world for 5 days, which we hope will one day become our guests. The Tourist Board of the city gratefully accepts this collaboration and is at the disposal of all event organizers in our city.
Draženka Sila – Ljubenko, the Head of the Administrative Department for Social Activities of the City of Karlovac greeted those present on behalf of Damir Mandić, the Mayor of the City of Karlovac and said: Every year we look forward to this day and to your events. In these last years when you have been doing all this in exceptional circumstances, these events had an even more special charm and a more special significance. The film lemonade you have prepared this year is definitely something challenging and the best one so far. It is a special honor for me to greet you today on behalf of our Mayor Damir Mandić and congratulate you on everything you are doing. You know that the City of Karlovac supports you in accordance with our financial possibilities, and you can count on our support, as you have already seen, no matter its nature, because we are always there for you and we are really proud of you. We look forward to this film lemonade, we wish you good luck in the days to come and we most of all wish you good health.
Marija Šćulac, the Head of the Administrative Department of Education of Karlovac County, pointed out: The only thing left is to say congratulations in advance and express our satisfaction that we are part of this wonderful team. I would just like to add one thing that hasn’t been said yet, and that is that this event has surpassed the city of Karlovac and its dimensions long ago. What makes us especially happy is that these events have been going on for several years not only in the City of Karlovac but the whole Karlovac County, on all four rivers, so all the residents of Karlovac County have the opportunity to get involved, help out and enjoy the activities related to the film festivals. Of course, I also convey the congratulations and greetings of our Prefect Martina Furdek – Hajdin who is very sorry that she could not be with us today, and we express our desire for our County to be involved with the festivals in the future – not only by co-financing and assisting you, but helping with the organization and other things. Contact us because you are always more than welcome.
Sanja Zanki Pejić, the Head of educational and festival programs at the Croatian Film Association, said the following about the circumstances and the way the festivals will be held: This is our fifteenth year in Karlovac, the second in such unusual conditions, but we are glad that despite the situation we managed to organize in-person screenings for high school students from Karlovac at the Zorin Dom Theatre a few days before the festivals have started, in accordance with all the epidemiological measures, of course. This year, we received 1,415 applications and our selection committee did not have an easy job because 84 films were accepted into the competition program. This confirms that the Youth Film Festival and the Four River Film Festival are an excellent platform that has been recognized by high school authors themselves as a place where they want to show their films. The opening and closing ceremonies will be available via live stream on our website, as well as all the films from the competition program.
Ksenija Sanković, the Head of media programs at Cinema Club Karlovac, invited the audience to all outdoor events: “Epidemiological measures allow for outdoor screenings, so we will continue this tradition. We start on Tuesday with a grand opening that will be at Foginovo beach at 8 p.m. The program includes the film Murina by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović. What is special about that evening is that Laura Pribanić, our longtime member and current vice president, worked on the film’s production team, and she has been volunteering at our festival since her elementary school days. We invite you to join us at all the other outdoor screenings. ”
The festival will open on Tuesday, September 7th, at 8 pm at Foginovo beach with a screening of the film “Murina“, the feature debut of director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, who swam to the Korana River from Cannes where it was awarded the Camera d’Or as the best debut film in the festival competition. Murina follows the tense relationship between the restless teenager Julija and her oppressive father Ante, which starts breaking when an old family friend arrives at their Croatian island home. As Ante attempts to broker a life-changing deal with him, their tranquil yet isolated existence leaves Julija wanting more from this influential visitor, who provides a taste of liberation over a weekend laid bare to desire and violence. The film will be presented by Laura Pribanić, who made her first film steps at the Four River Film Festival, and Vladimir Gojun, the film’s editor. We are also introducing the young producer Laura as part of our “Yellow Spotlight” festival program, in which we try to follow the further professional development of high school filmmakers. Some end up with careers in film, while others take a different, equally successful path.
On Wednesday, September 8th, at 8:30 pm on the Korana River at Foginovo beach, we are watching this year’s most sought-after Croatian documentary “Love Around the World” by Anđela and Davor Rostuhar, which shows 33 different stories about love and marriage, challenges and struggles, highs and lows, creating one big love story that reminds us how love can never be simple, but at the same time how few things on Earth are as simple as love. The Rostuhars made the documentary on their one-year trip, during which they visited 33 countries on six continents and interviewed more than 200 people about love. Before this documentary, in “the Yellow Spotlight” program, we introduce the film A School that (Doesn’t) Exist, directed by Karlo Gagulić. The film is a story about the unusual workings of a private school in Zagreb.
On Thursday, September 9th, we will move to the city beach in Ozalj, where the film “Loan Shark” directed by Nemanja Ćeranić will be shown at 8:30 p.m. Nemanja Ćerenić is a young director who will present the film about a loan shark in a small Serbian town, along with the film’s producer, Aljoša Ćeranić. The loan shark, a former old school boxer, realizes the times have changed and that the money lending business is not what it used to be. Before the screening of the film, we will watch the film “Bambiland” directed by Danilo Stanimirović in “the Yellow Spotlight” program. Danilo toured numerous festivals with Bambiland and won the hearts of many audiences, and the film speaks of the remains of the amusement park of Slobodan Milošević’s son.
The last screening is on Friday, September 10th at 8:30 pm on the Mrežnica River, in the Living Room on Mrežnica, and the film “Trust” will be shown, a feature film directed by Matija Benić, which premiered at the Pula Film Festival. The film shows Varaždin in 2025 during the great strike of Čistoća. We follow the main character, Krsto, who works at the mysterious Agency, an organization where you can hire people to listen to you. At one of these listening sessions, Krsto learns that a man is holding a girl trapped in his basement, and he decides to save her. In “the Yellow Spotlight” program, we are watching Matija’s film “Anticorruption Atom”. How many students copied their homework from someone? How many of them helped a colleague during an exam? How many are willing to try to cheat on their final exams? Answers to these and various other interesting questions can be found in “Anticorruption Atom”.
Our goals are what makes us happy and keeps us motivated to do better. Be they short-term or long-term, it’s important to “score” goals – and 84 young filmmakers just did, out of the grand total of 1415 applicants to this year’s Four River Film Festival and the Youth Film Festival who tried to do just that.
The selection committee, made up of Ana Đordić, PhD, professional cinematographer Dinka Radonić, and Boško Picula, PhD, has done a great job and selected 84 titles which will be shown this year, out of a total of 1415 applications. The daily schedule is filled with the screenings of the competition program and workshops, and all details can be found here: https://frff.com.hr/screening-schedule/
The films will be judged by a professional jury made of Matea Milić, the producer of the World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb, film editor Hrvoje Mršić and film director Nemanja Ćeranić.
Year after year, the Youth Film Festival and the FRFF have been developing an education program to supplement the competition one. In Karlovac, films are seen, analyzed and discussed, while the participants are taught how to improve their work! Workshops and lectures are hosted in the afternoons of the third and fourth day of the festival. Participation is not mandatory, but it is recommended. This year we will learn where to find inspiration for your films, how to critically observe films made by your peers but also those of older authors, how to use film in teaching, how to prepare your project for the pitch, where to find funding for your first films. Everyone will be able to choose a lecture they prefer!
Close-up is a continuation of our “High schoolers to high schoolers” program, through which we present to you our partner organizations, festivals and workshops both in Croatia and around the world. This year it serves as a kind of introduction to the competition program screenings, meaning one of the programs from the Close-up section will be presented to our high school audience and their mentors before each screening. This year we present to you four festivals and organizations: European Film Factory, The Croatian Youth Network, Her International Film Festival (HERIFF) and The Women’s Group Karlovac “Korak”.
The tradition of the program called “Previous Laureates of the Youth Film Festival and FRFF – Where Are They Now?” continues this year as well, but under a new name – The Yellow Spotlight. With this program, we try to track the further professional development of high school filmmakers. Some end up with careers in film, while others take a different, equally successful path. This year we present to you four young filmmakers who were all a part of the Four River Film Festival and the Youth Film Festival during their high school years.
We are especially fond of the cooperation we have achieved this year with the City Library “Ivan Goran Kovačić” Karlovac, where we are organizing a photography exhibition called “Love Around the World”, and a book of the same name will be presented as part of the exhibition. “Love Around the World” is a project by Davor and Anđela Rostuhar who traveled around the world for a year and interviewed 120 couples in 30 countries on all continents. The project resulted in a documentary film and a book that achieved great success immediately after their release. The book “Love Around the World” is the best-selling book in Croatia this year.
We continue to grow as a global festival with a multitude of interesting and quality submissions. The films came to the four rivers from all continents and from over 50 countries around the world.
The number of submissions (1,415 films in total), which grows from year to year despite the unfavorable events and crises in the world, testifies to the great interest of young filmmakers for these film events, both in our region and internationally. Understanding them as important platforms for the work, encouragement and further motivation of young filmmakers is becoming more important than ever.
The presentation of this year’s Festival programs was held at Foginovo beach on September 3rd, 2021 at 10 a.m.