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Croatian films and one project at 64th Thessaloniki International Film Festival

A handful of Croatian films will appear in various sections of this year’s 64th Thessaloniki International Film Festival. In addition, one Croatian fiction feature project will be presented in the Works in Progress section at the Agora Film Market – the festival’s industry section. The festival in Thessaloniki takes place 2nd – 12th November.

The competition Meet the Neighbors will feature director Una Gunjak’s debut feature Excursion, which was realised in co-production with Croatian company Nukleus Film, with co-producer Siniša Juričić. The film had its world premiere this past August at the Locarno IFF, where it scooped up the Special Mention in the Concorso Cineasti del presente programme. Currently, the film is also screening at the Black Nights FF in Tallinn. Excursion is Bosnia’s Oscar nomination contender, and was also shortlisted for a European Film Award nomination.

The new programme titled Survey Expanded: Reflections of Topos, dedicated to the topics previously traditionally presented in the section Balkan Survey, will feature the award-winning animated short Eeva created by duo Lucija Mrzljak and Morten Tšinakov, produced by Adriatic Animation and Estonian studio Eesti Joonisfilm. The film had its world premiere last year in Tallinn (PÖFF Shorts), won the Alexeïeff – Parker Award at Annecy, and recently took home Best Animated Short Award from the Nashville Film Festival, which put it in the running for an Academy Award nomination.

The same section at Thessaloniki showcases director and screenwriter Goran Stolevski’s feature Housekeeping For Beginners (co-producer Ankica Jurić Tilić, Kinorama), as well as Italian director Giacomo Abbruzzese’s debut feature Disco Boy, with Croatian actor Leon Lučev appearing in one of the roles.

Housekeeping For Beginners was presented to the audience for the first time at the Venice Mostra, where it won the Queer Lion award, and it is also Macedonia’s Oscar nomination contender. Currently, the film is also being presented at the Black Nights festival in Tallinn, and together with Excursion, it was also shortlisted for a European Film Award nomination.

Presented as part of the Special Screenings programme is Romanian director Radu Jude’s latest feature Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, realised in co-production with Croatian Kinorama (co-producer Ankica Jurić Tilić). It had its world premiere at the festival in Locarno IFF, and among others, also screened at the famous Toronto festival, currently also appearing at Black Nights in Tallinn.

In addition, Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World was also in the running for a European Film Award nomination and has been selected as Romania’s candidate for an Academy Award nomination.

Neven Hitrec’s Diary of Paulina P. will be presented to the audience as part of the NextGen programme, dedicated to films for young people, same as Belgian director Domien Huyghe’s feature Sea Sparkle, with Siniša Juričić (Nukleus film) as associate producer, and young Croatian actress Nika Petrović appearing in one of the roles. Diary of Paulina P. is currently also featured in the Children’s Competition at PÖFF, as well as being nominated for an ECFA Award (of the European Film Festivals for Children and Youth). The producer of Diary of Paulina P. is Jure Bušić (Jaka production).

In addition, Croatian filmmaking is represented by one project in the industry section at Thessaloniki as well.

Director and screenwriter Filip Peruzović’s feature film project of the working title Happy People, with Nikolina Bogdanović as screenwriter and Tena Gojić as producer, will be presented in the Works in Progress section at the Agora Film Market.

Happy People follows Nikola and his sister from abroad, Saša, who spend the weekend cleaning the house where they grew up, after their mother’s funeral, bogged down by sweltering heat, critters, and harsh words.

The main roles are played by Nina Violić and Filip Šovagović, director of photography is Tomislav Sutlar, with art director Dino Topolnjak, costume designer Nikolina Bogdanović, make-up artist Iva Kurobasa, film editor Iva Ivan, sound editor Ivan Zelić, and executive producer Ivan Glebov.

The project was created with the support of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre and Croatian Radiotelevision. It was filmed around Zagreb County in July of this year and is currently in the post-production phase.

The Agora Film Market provides an opportunity for creative teams from Southeast Europe, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions to present their features to potential financiers, sales agents, distributors and festival programmers.

The Thessaloniki International Film Festival is one of Europe’s oldest film festivals. It was founded in 1959 and is one of the most important festivals promoting regional filmmaking. This year’s 64th edition takes place 2nd – 12th November at several festival venues, while part of the programme will also be available online. The festival offers to the audience a selection of 270 feature and short films.

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