Karlovac, September 7th – The 27th Youth Film Festival and the 15th Four River Film Festival were officially opened last night at Foginovo beach on the river Korana in Karlovac! During the next four days, Karlovac will become a temporary center of high school film.
The opening ceremony, as well as the screening of Dario Lonjak’s film Savages, was attended by numerous guests and visitors. At the beginning of the ceremony everyone was greeted by the Mayor of the City of Karlovac, Damir Mandić, who thanked the Croatian Film Association and Cinema Club Karlovac. “These two festivals show that success is easy to achieve, but only through persistence. It’s easy to start, but hard to stay on top. The team that organizes these festivals showed knowledge, motivation and will, and they managed to last all these years. What I hope for the most is that next year we will hold the opening of the festival in a real cinema, Cinema Edison.”
“We are extremely glad that you have long since shown that this festival has grown beyond the borders of not only Karlovac and Karlovac County, but the whole of Croatia, and we are very proud of you. Karlovac County faithfully follows all your achievements because you have shown us how successful you are throughout these past years,’ said Marija Šćulac, head of the Administrative Department for Education of Karlovac County.
Then the director of the Croatian Audiovisual Center, Christopher Peter Marcich, addressed the audience: “Every year I look forward to these festivals and I enjoy coming here. You can feel the special energy of the superhero organizers, but also of the participants, and this is an event that I have to visit every year.” He also expressed his hope and desire for the opening of the aforementioned Cinema Edison and mentioned his colleagues who came to support the opening of the festivals on behalf of the Croatian Audiovisual Center – Maja Vukić, Assistant Director, and Ingrid Pađen, who runs the film education and literacy program. “The Croatian Audiovisual Center will soon, in cooperation with the community dealing with education and literacy, create a strategy and action plan that we will implement with professionals. I promise that we will have and comment on this strategy next year”, he added.
At the end of the opening ceremony, the guests were greeted by Sanja Zanki Pejić, head of educational and festival programs of the Croatian Film Association, and Ksenija Sanković, head of media programs at Cinema Club Karlovac.
“We are very impatient to finally get a roof over our heads. I welcome everyone present and I am very happy that there are so many of you. We sincerely hope that in the coming years we will no longer depend on the weather forecast but will be able to stay indoors, in Cinema Edison”, said Sanja Zanka Pejić and declared the festivals open.
The festivals were opened with the Yellow Spotlight program, which focuses on professionals who started their film careers in Karlovac – last night, Dario Lonjak‘s film Savages was screened. It is the author’s feature debut. Dario was active in the Karlovac Gymnasium’s Video Club as early as elementary school, and he was one of the founders of Cinema Club Karlovac. Bojan Petković, the composer of the music for the film, and Velimir Grgić, the screenwriter of the film, joined Dario Lonjak in presenting the film Savages.
The evening program of the Youth Film Festival and the Four River Film Festival continues on Wednesday, September 7th at 8:30 p.m. on river Korana, when the series The Outsiders directed by Jelena Gavrilović will be shown. It is an original series, for which JoomBoos hired Bruno Mustić as the creator and Serbian actress Jelena Gavrilović as the director. The series deals with the typical problems of every young generation – finding one’s place in society, and in family, friendly and romantic relationships, as well as discovering one’s own identity.
On the third day, the evening program moves to the banks of river Mrežnica – on Thursday, September 8th at 8:30 p.m., the successful debut film of Croatian actress Nina Violić, Kick and Scream, will be shown. The aforementioned film has been awarded at numerous festivals in the past months, including the Mediterranean Film Festival in Split, the Pula Film Festival, and festivals in Rab and Vukovar. The film tells the story about the last moments of joy, tenderness and absurdity before the parting of a family.
The evening program on Friday, September 9th at 8:30 p.m. moves to river Kupa, bringing with it the award-winning film The Staffroom, another debut, this time by director Sonja Tarokić. The mentioned film has won an enviable number of awards in the past year – let’s just mention the special recognition of the main jury of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the Big Golden Arena for Best Film and four Golden Arenas from Pula Film Festival, as well as the Octavian award for the best feature film of 2022. At the center of the film is a new and enthusiastic elementary school pedagogue Anamarija, who, faced with the restrictions of the school system and surrounded by discouraged teachers, enters her own struggle with a problematic history professor, unaware that she is slowly becoming more and more similar to her colleagues in the staffroom.
As many as 1,364 films were submitted to this year’s Youth Film Festival and Four River Film Festival, of which the selection committee – Ana Đordić, professor of Croatian language and philosophy and PhD in filmology, film critic Boško Picula and director of photography and director Dinka Radonić – selected 63 of the best titles distributed in the following categories: fiction, animation, documentary and freestyle film.
This year the best films will be decided on by a jury composed of Norwegian filmmaker Martha Otte, long-time director of the Tromsø International Film Festival (TIFF), renowned Croatian actor Frano Mašković and film director Dario Lonjak, who started his film career at festivals like these and whose film Savages opened this year’s editions of the festivals. There is also a youth jury made up of film lovers from Karlovac, Italy and Austria.You can find all the information about the festivals and their programs at www.frff.com.hr.