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Croatian films at 68th ISFF Oberhausen

Four Croatian films screening in competition programmes as 68th edition of the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany, held 30th April – 9th May.

This year’s 68th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen is held in hybrid form, splitting its competition programmes into those available online and the ones screening live at cinemas.

Dalibor Martinis’ experimental short 3rd Cinematic Nail Factory will appear as part of the International Competition screening on-site. This is one of the versions of the ‘original’ film, entitled N-th Cinematic Nail Factory.  

It comprises video footage, shot in 1999 at the horseshoe factory in Karlovac (closed in 2005), consisting of 99 shots. A special software arranges the shots in a different random sequence each time it runs. Each generated configuration is a unique film by the author, The N-th Cinematic Nail Factory, whereby N stands for the ordinal number of each film edited in this way.

Earlier this year, the film screened at the Montreal Independent Film Festival, where it won a jury Honourable Mention.

In addition, the Oberhausen cinema audience will be able to enjoy the world premiere of Sunčica Fradelić’s While We Were Here. The film records the brief fragments in the characters’ lives and the losses they face during one summer and winter, a cinematic meditation on the inevitability of change.

While We Were Here was shot in Split and Sarajevo over a period of two years, while it was developed at the film.factory training programme in Sarajevo and the workshop with Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul.  

Director Sunčica Fradelić co-wrote the script with Damir Juričić. Pilar Palomero and Boris Poljak did the cinematography, Tonči Bakotin created the sound design, while Ruzina Frankulin composed the music. Image processing was done by Fran Sokolić at studio Teleking. The film is a Split Cinema Club production. 

The film received media coverage even before its world premiere at Oberhausen, being included in film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum’s list of top 10 films of 2021 for magazine Sight and Sound.  

The International Online Competition at Oberhausen will, on the other hand, feature Marko Meštrović’s animated film The Raft. To date, the film has appeared at various domestic and international festivals, including the International Animation and Comics Festival Supertoon in Šibenik, winning the First Award in the Grandtoon category. In addition, the Croatian Society of Film Critics awarded it the 2021 Oktavijan Award for Best Animated Film.

The International Online Competition will also present Croatian author Nina Bačun’s Bonding Humanity (Perhaps Manifesto). The film essay was created as part of the author’s doctoral research about cinematic representation of space, with a subtopic on the ‘ideal’ neighbourhood, that is, the interaction between collective spaces and their usages. The film is created by reorganising fragments of films belonging to the New Yugoslav Cinema (the Yugoslav Black Wave), while personal, social and political contexts intertwine creating a dialogic, narrative form that engenders new interpretations.  

In addition to the the author Nina Bačun, Sara Salamon (editing), Branimir Norac (sound), Ivana Đula (dramaturgy of the written text) and Sonja Šulc (voice-over) also participated in the making of the film.

Bonding Humanity was supported by the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media, Future Architecture Platform (Slovenia) and Oslo Architecture Triennale (Norway). 

After graduating in Design from the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb, Nina Bačun earned her Master’s degree in Experience Design at KONSTFACK – the University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm in 2011. Her current research is focused on interrelations between design, architecture, urban landscape and moving images, as part of her Architecture and Urbanism doctoral studies in Zagreb. Some of her works have been included, published and awarded at domestic and international exhibitions of design and art. Her solo and collective work (as part of the OAZA collective) strives to contribute to the production and presentation of and discourse on design in a holistic manner, re-examining the boundaries of speculative/conceptual design, representative/scenic design and visual communications/film.

A list of all titles in competition programmes is available here

The Online Competition programmes will be available for viewing 30th April – 3rd May, while starting 4th May, the audience will have a chance to see titles in five competition programmes, on-site at festival venues.

This year’s International Short Film Festival Oberhausen will feature a total of 164 films from 67 countries, of which 79 will be world premieres. The festival closing and awards ceremony, for both the online and live competition programmes, will take place on 9th May.   

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