The 28th Youth Film Festival and the 16th Four River Film Festival were opened last night in the Edison Cinema! For the next four days, Karlovac and its surroundings will become the center of high school film with the epicentre in the new Edison Cinema.
The opening ceremony of the Festivals, as well as the screening of the film Pelican by Filip Heraković, took place in front of a packed auditorium in the newly renovated Edison Cinema, which reopened its doors to film lovers after more than a decade.
The gathered audience and guests of the Festivals were greeted by Ivan Gojmerac, director of the Edison Cinema, a multimedia center for cultural and tourist content. A few days ago we held the Open Days of the Edison Cinema, and what impressed me the most is the number of stories and memories that the older generations have of this building. Younger generations haven’t yet had the opportunity to connect with the cinema, but these Festivals are important factors in creating new connections between young people and the Edison Cinema. The Festivals finally got a roof over their heads, and not just any roof, but the Edison Cinema!
After the director of the Cinema, everyone was greeted by the Mayor of the City of Karlovac Damir Mandić. The team gathered around the former Karlovac Gymansium video group, Cinema Club Karlovac and then these Festivals, always had a special energy around them they transferred to others. This energy is what guarantees the future of these Festivals, as well as the future of our city and everyone in it, especially young people.
On behalf of Karlovac County, Vesna Hajsan Dolinar greeted those gathered. We in Karlovac County are exceptionally proud of this international Festival that has been taking place in Karlovac since 2007. I’d like to know what inspires you all, to see what the guiding light of the creativity of these young authors is, and how these 63 films in the competition program that the audience will watch in the following days came to be.
Then the audience was addressed by the envoy of the Minister of Culture and Media, Nina Obuljen Koržinek, PhD – the Director of the Croatian Audiovisual Center, Christopher Peter Marcich. Cultural diversity is the foundation for what we do at the Croatian Audiovisual Center, but also for the work of other centers throughout Europe. I am convinced that this cinema will become one of the leading promoters of cultural diversity in Europe by showing Croatian films, but also by showing independent European films. We are looking forward to those films and we will work together to make Karlovac become one of the leading carriers of the cinema network and promotors of Croatian films.
At the very end, the audience was greeted by Tatjana Aćimović, Secretary of the Croatian Film Association, which organizes the Youth Film Festival and the Four River Film Festival, together with Cinema Club Karlovac. I especially want to greet all the young filmmakers and to thank you for choosing culture, art and film to talk about topics that interest you and to make the world we live in a more pleasant, fair and righteous place to live. I also want to greet these young authors’ mentors, I know that it is not easy for you and that you do not always have the support of the people around you, and that without your cooperation and support, these 63 films in the selection, i.e. the 1447 films submitted to the Festivals, would not have been created. The Croatian Film Association is a proud co-organizer of these Festivals, and Cinema Club Karlovac is our member, an important member and link that makes a valuable contribution to the development of film literacy, not only with these Festivals, but with a large number of activities that they regularly organize. Thank you to the entire organization of the Festivals.
The Festivals opened with a screening of the debut feature film Pelican, directed by Filip Heraković. The film is a drama with elements of humor in which the main character is a professional goalkeeper named Josip, played by Edi Ćelić. We meet Josip in a spa, where he ended up recuperating after a knee injury he sustained while skiing. During his interactions with a physiotherapist focused on his own promotion, visits from his girlfriend with whom he has a less than ideal relationship and his best friend whom he now sees with new eyes, we follow a man who is not entirely sure of who he is and what he wants from life. In the spa, he accidentally stumbles upon a business conference where he is mistakenly identified as one of the sales representatives for robotic vacuum cleaners. Josip accepts this game and begins to explore life from a new perspective.
Along with the screening of Pelican, this year’s first Yellow Spotlight was held, which is a program that focuses on film professionals who started their film careers in Karlovac. The guest of the first Yellow Spotlight was Pavle Kocanjer, a young filmmaker from Karlovac, who worked as a camera assistant on the film Pelican. Pavle has a degree in Cinematography from the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb, and he has been involved in photography, film and music since he was 15 years old. Besides films, he also makes music videos. He has held several solo photography exhibitions and published more than 10 photography fanzines. He plays drums in two bands which he traveled all over Europe with, and under the Yellow Spotlight he described his experience working on the Pelican set to the Festivals’ audience and guests.
The evening program of the Youth Film Festival and the Four River Film Festival continues on Wednesday, September 13th at 8:30 p.m. on the Dobra River, when the film Carbide, the feature debut of director and screenwriter Josip Žuvan, will be screened. Twelve-year-olds Nikola and Antonio are best friends who live in neighboring houses. They amuse themselves by lighting carbide, and they record their escapades and post them on YouTube, hoping for millions of views. Their families have been at odds for years and oppose their friendship. When the holiday season comes, the quarrel between the families will escalate and reflect onto the relationship between the two friends.
On the third day, the evening program will be held in the Cinema – on Thursday, September 14th at 8:30 p.m., Safe Place will be shown. This poignant film directed by Juraj Lerotić deals with a traumatic event – a sudden suicide attempt that opens a gap in the everyday life of a family of three. Their lives change fundamentally, as if they are drawn into a war invisible to everyone else. The plot is limited to the most acute, a short period of time and a situation that boils down to the most important thing – to save a loved one. The film was based on the personal experience of the director, who also plays the leading role.
The evening program on Friday, September 15th at 8:30 p.m. brings the multi-award-winning debut of the author duo Andrija Mardešić and David Kapac to the Edison Cinema – The Uncle. It’s a thriller of a dark atmosphere with elements of absurd humor and grotesque in which Predrag Miki Manojlović plays the title role, paired with actors Ivana Roščić, Goran Bogdan and Roko Sikavica. The plot of The Uncle takes place at Christmas time in Yugoslavia, at the end of the 1980s. A family – mother, father and son – happily welcome their beloved uncle who is returning home for the holidays from Germany. The uncle distributes gifts, followed by a traditional Croatian Christmas lunch – turkey with mlinci and Olivier salad. The family bliss is interrupted by the ringing of the latest smartphone. It soon becomes clear that it is not really the 1980s, that it’s not December 25th, and that at a crowded holiday table, it’s not only the turkey you can cut with a knife – you can cut the tension, too.
photos: Demjan Rožman
The Festivals are sponsored by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the Croatian Association of Technical Culture, the Ministry of Science and Education, the “Kultura Nova” Foundation, City of Karlovac, Karlovac County, the Tourist Board of the City of Karlovac, the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Technical Culture Community of the Karlovac County and City and Turbing d.o.o.