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Collaboration between HAVC and Danish Film Institute Opens Croatia the Door to Scandinavia and Europe

Queen Margarete II of Denmark’s visit to Zagreb Film Festival confirms the importance of cultural collaboration between these two countries. The Danish Film Institute and HAVC have been successfully collaborating for many years, and the foundations to it were laid almost 20 years ago.

Danish royal couple’s state visit to Croatia and Zagreb Film festival includes two events important for the Croatian audiovisual sector: Danish queen’s arrival to the Croatian premiere of Itsi Bitsi, made in Danish-Croatian co-production and on locations in Croatia, and the panel discussion Danes Go South about the Croatian-Danish cinematic relations and the Danish role in the development of local audiovisual industry.

When we began organising this state visit, HAVC and ZFF seemed like the obvious partners, since there has been a connection between Danish and Croatian filmmakers, formally established in 2011. We bring a large number of filmmakers to Zagreb and we find it important to explain to the industry, as well as the public, why it is important for Croatia and Denmark to work together, what can come out of this and how this can contribute to building better relations. In Denmark we say that culture is as important as business – all the factors, not only the royal couple, support the idea that the cultural sector should play an important role in state visits', said Søren Krogh, head of the Department for International Affairs at the Danish Culture Agency.

Hrvoje Hribar, head of HAVC, pointed out that the diverse and rich Croatian-Danish film collaboration lately intensified on several platforms, through joint film production, festival collaboration and strategic collaboration on the matters of European audiovisual policies. ‘It is important to stress that Danish trust and faith in collaboration with the Croatian audiovisual industry  opened Croatian the doors to entire Scandinavia and made possible other projects coming later from Sweden and Finland,’ said Hribar, announcing the Danes Go South panel discussions, which will focus on Danish-Croatian co-productions, work process and advantages and challenges such collaboration presents to film professionals, as well as film funds and the way they work in Denmark and Croatia.

Director Vinko Brešan said that Danes played an important role in the establishment of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. ‘HAVC started becoming way back in 1996 at the Management Board of the Croatian Film Directors Guild, which then included four debut directors and a senior colleague who helped us. These were Hrvoje Hribar, Lukas Nola, Snježana Tribuson, Bogdan Žižić and myself. Unsatisfied with the system, we thought it to be a system problem that needed to change and we found our role model in the way Danish cinema was structured. The fight took a long time, but finally HAVC was established as an institution inspired by the Danish Film Institute. The circle closed in a way, because today Croatian and Danish film community achieve – in my opinion – outstanding results, and I believe the others will think of it like that too’, said Brešan.

The Croatian premiere of Itsi Bitsi takes place on Wednesday, 22 October at 5pm, Europa cinema, and the Danes Go South panel is scheduled for Thursday, 23 October at the Zagreb Dance Centre. The first panel, beginning at 10am, will focus on the films Itsi Bitsi, Room 304 and other reasons for co-productions, and the second panel, scheduled for 2pm, will focus on film funds and decentralisation of a country’s film industry.

Photographs from the media conference can be downloaded on this link. Photos by: Tomislav Brdjanović.

Title photos: Søren Krogh, Hrvoje Hribar and Vinko Brešan

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