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20 years of the Croatian Film Directors’ Guild

A commemorative assembly was held on Wednesday (December 2) in Zagreb’s Kino Europa celebrating 20 years of the Croatian Film Directors’ Guild. The professional association, which includes film directors and screenwriters, awarded honorary memberships to masters of Croatian film Vatroslav Mimica (director), Nedjeljko Dragić (animator) and Ivo Štivičič (screenwriter).

At the start of the assembly, Danilo Šerbedžija, President of the CFDG, presented a short reflection on the Guilds’ development over the last twenty years. Established in 1995, the Guild’s focus was on solving the problems of developing copyright laws and a cinematographic system based on those of older European countries. After becoming a member of FERA (Federation of European Film Directors) as well as Eurimages, the Guild, in cooperation with the Croatian Producers Association, lobbied for a new Law on Audiovisual Activities, as well as the institutional founding of an independent body for the audiovisual sector, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. ‘We are closing a twenty-year circle with a new and old beginning. We did not forget past copyright issues, and in honor of our respected member Krsto Papić, we will continue to fight for the rights of our authors and their works,’ said Šerbedžija.

The CFDG’s first President, Branko Ivanda, reminded that at the heart of the Directors’ Guild foundation was a conflict, which became a permanent characteristic of the association and paradoxically enabled a series of results – laws, acts, and conditions for individual freedoms and creativity of the Guild’s members. ‘The old believe everything, the middle-aged are suspicious of everything, and the young know it all. Let’s be open to this viewpoint and keep this combination, because the best kind of soup is boiling in this pot,’ Ivanda noted to his colleagues.

I think film directors are geared toward the future, because all the dough we’ve earned, we earned answering these questions: ‘What are we doing now?’ and ‘When we film it, what will we film next?’ We are a species that lives in a habitat of the impossible and then, like every other species, we adapt. To be together is a beautiful instinct which belongs within the technique of self-sufficiency, and twenty years ago, when we first gathered, it was not a time to ask questions about wages, work conditions, or the quality of our contracts, because in that dessert it was ridiculous to even ask such questions. In that dessert, in order to make fertile our plot, we expanded into a much wider landscape, found a source of water, and headed along the river. As crafters of the future, I think we may have even achieved something of that future. I think our footprints are rich, they light up and are full of life,’ said former CFDG President, and Director of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Hrvoje Hribar

The Guild inaugurated three honorary members at the commemorative assembly: animator Nedjeljko Dragić, screenwriter Ivo Štivičić, and master of Croatian film, director Vatroslav Mimica. ‘The most wonderful thing is when a viewer feels the invisible direction. A director has to be invisible. The point of a film is not cuts, but the metaphoric space between cuts, that is the view of the world that the director brings to the film, to all his colleagues, which is then transferred to the viewer. It is that wonderful magic that attracts both us and the viewer,’ said 92 year-old Mimica.

The 20th anniversary celebration continued with free projections of classic short films from the 60s and 70s as selected by film critic Dijana Nenadić, followed by the award-winning short film Picnic, by Jure Pavlović, and the feature film The High Sun, directed by Dalibor Matanić. The directors also served their guest with their own culinary specialties in the lobby of Kino Europa. 

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