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Berlinale 2023: world premiere of documentary Between Revolutions; animated Eeva screens too

On Saturday, 18th February, hybrid documentary Between Revolutions directed by Vlad Petri and co-produced by Oliver Sertić (Restart) had its world premiere in the programme Forum, while on Monday, 20th February, Croatian-Estonian animated short Eeva, created by Lucija Mrzljak and Morten Tšinakov, had its first Berlinale screening. In addition, Brandon Cronenberg's Infinity Pool, a Croatian minority co-production (co-produced by Anita Juka, 4Film) had its european premiere on Wednesday, 22nd Feburary, while Italian director Giacomo Abbruzzese’s Disco Boy, whose cast includes actor Leon Lučev, had its world premiere at this prestigious festival.

“The film premiered in front of a full auditorium and we are very pleased. It was greeted with a wealth of questions from the audience, so it seems they were captivated by the film’s topic. I am very glad that our production company, Restart, could be a part of this co-production and that we could participate in the making of this wonderful film”, said the film’s co-producer Oliver Sertić after Between Revolutions world premiere.    

The hybrid documentary feature, Between Revolutions, by Romanian director Vlad Petri, created in co-production with Croatian company Restart, had its world premiere on Saturday, 18th February, in the programme Forum. Between Revolutions was created using archival footage depicting the lives and fates of two women, former university colleagues and friends both living in patriarchal societies – Maria is from Romania and Zahra from Iran. With the correspondence of the two women at the heart of the story, the hybrid feature blends archival recordings and documents with fictional elements.

The film is a Romanian company Activ Docs production, done in co-production with houses from Croatia (Restart) and Iran (undisclosed), also having been supported by the Romanian National Film Centre and the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, along with the Doha Film Institute.

In addition, animation short Eeva created by Lucija Mrzljak and Morten Tšinakov had its Berlinale premiere screening on Monday, 20th February, as part of the competition Berlinale Shorts. 

“The impressions are amazing after the screening in Berlin. It is a great honour to have one’s film shown on the big screen, at a place where visitors gather from all over the world. The audience’s response has been wonderful, with many of them coming up to us after the screening and sharing their impressions – it is an honour to represent Croatia and Estonia, and we feel very fortunate to be screening our film at Berlinale”, said Lucija Mrzljak after the premiere.   

The film’s producer Draško Ivezić (Adriatic Animation) was also pleased by the feedback from the audience, commenting on the entire event that also included a Q&A session after the screening:

“After the screening we had a very nice talk with the programme selector in which we discussed Lucija’s collaboration with Morten who is in Estonia, about the film’s co-production, and the fact that the Croatian Audiovisual Centre rejected us in the first round, which actually turned out to be a good thing because it forced us to go back and hone the script to perfection. Ultimately, I think that’s one of the reasons why it caught the eye of Berlinale selectors. The rest of the programme is exceptional, the selection is of the highest quality, so it is hard to predict where we stand in all of that. This is a festival with the strongest competition I have been invited to and I think this is very beneficial for Croatian film and animated film in general. I hope that we have managed to get our foot in the door and that we will see more short films, especially animation ones, from Croatia in the upcoming years at Berlinale”, said Ivezić.

Eeva, which had its world premiere at the prestigious Black Nights festival in Tallinn, is a Croatian-Estonian co-production, with Estonian co-producer Kelav Tamm from studio Eesti Joonisfilm.

Also, director Giacomo Abbruzzese’s feature debut Disco Boy, the cast of which includes Croatian actor Leon Lučev, had its world premiere in the main competition at Berlinale on 19th February.

In addition, on 17th February, fiction feature Sea Sparkle by Belgian director Domien Huyghe inaugurated the programme Generation Kplus. One of the supporting roles in the film is played by young Croatian actress Nika Petrović, while the film is a Belgian-Dutch co-production, with Siniša Juričić (Nukleus Film) as associate producer.

On Wednesday, 22nd February, the festival also screened Croatian minority co-production Infinity Pool directed by Brandon Cronenberg (Croatian co-producer is Anita Juka, 4Film). The film had its European premiere, in the section Berlinale Special. Infinity Pool, which was partly shot in Šibenik, received support of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre through the Croatian minority co-production scheme and the Filming in Croatia scheme.

The 73rd edition of the Berlin International Film Festival was inaugurated with the screening of She Came to Me directed by Rebecca Miller, starring Anne Hathaway, Peter Dinklage and Marisa Tomei. This year the president of the main competition jury is actress Kristen Stewart while the festival will feature over 300 film titles. The closing ceremony will be held on 25th February, while the following day is reserved for the screenings of the best-rated films in the festival. 

Cover photographs: collage (left to right): Eeva film crew; Oliver Sertić (Between Revolutions); Leon Lučev alongside rest of Disco Boy film crew

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