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Croatian Invasion of Karlovy Vary

As many as six Croatian films will be presented in the official selection of the 48th edition of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The competition programmes include Croatian box-office hits and crowd-pleasers (The Priest’s Children, Gangster of Love) and three intriguing minority co-productions (Adria Blues, Dual and Velvet Terrorists). The non-competition selection will show a documentary film about one of the most controversial Croatian films of all times (Occupation, 27th Picture).

Croatian cinema has been a regular participant at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. With as many as five titles in the competition and one in the non-competition selection, this year Croatian films truly invaded the festival categories. The Official Selection – Competition of Features will host the international premiere of The Priest’s Children (produced by Interfilm), Vinko Brešan’s black comedy whose score of 160,000 viewers made it the most watched Croatian film in the 21st century. It is a story about a priest who, wishing to improve the birth rate on a small Dalmatian island, with the help of faithful parishioners starts piercing condoms in the local corner shop and replacing birth control pills with vitamins. Director Vinko Brešan’s filmography includes several exceptionally popular film hits (How the War Started on My Island, 1996; Marshal, 1999), while the screenplay was written by one of the finest Croatian playwrights, Mate Matišić. The film stars some of the most renowned Croatian actors – Krešimir Mikić, Nikša Butijer, Marija Škaričić, Goran Bogdan and many others.

The Documentary Films in Competition section will screen Gangster of Love (produced by Restart and Fade In), the feature-length documentary film by Nebojša Slijepčević about a matchmaker from rural Croatia, who boasts quite a number of successful matches. The film follows his attempt at finding a life partner for a single mother, a German man of Croatian origin, and a middle-aged man who believes no woman would want him for a husband. The film premiered at ZagrebDox 2013 festival, where it sparked huge media interest and won the HT Audience Award.

The East of the West – Films in Competition section presents premieres of three diverse and intriguing Croatian minority co-productions. Adria Blues, directed by Miroslav Mandić, is a film about a retired rock star whose wife and fan are preparing him a comeback concert without his knowledge. The film is a Slovenian and Croatian co-production and its Croatian producer in Propeler Film. Nejc Gazvoda's Dual is a Slovenian, Danish and Croatian co-production about two women, a Dane and a Slovene, who meet by chance in Ljubljana and develop a very intimate relationship. The Croatian co-producer is Studio dim. The third film in this selection is Velvet Terrorists, a new title by Slovakian documentarian Peter Kerekeš, which re-enacts three stories about terrorist plots in former Czechoslovakia, depicts how history treats facts as relative – what is once a terrorist attack will be later celebrated as a heroic act. The Croatian co-producer of this Slovakian-Czech-Croatian co-production is Nukleus film, whose Sofia’s Last Ambulance won the last year’s Grand Prix in the Documentary Films in Competition category.

Sergej Stanojkovski, festival director of Avvantura Festival - FilmForum Zadar, is one of the Jury members in the East of the West programme.

In addition to five Croatian films in three competition categories of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, one of the non-competition segments of the official line-up, Out of the Past, will screen Occupation, the 27th Picture, the feature-length documentary film by Croatian director Pavo Marinković. This Croatian-Czech production is a political documentary about Occupation in 26 Pictures, the controversial 1978 title by Lordan Zafranović. After its opening it provoked a series of conflicting reactions and also had its international premiere in the official competition selection of the Cannes Film Festival.

The screening schedule of Croatian films in the 48th edition of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is available on this link. The contacts of Croatian Audiovisual Centre's representatives at Karlovy Vary can be found here.

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Cover photos: The Priest's Children; Gangster of Love; Adria Blues; Dual; Velvet Terrorists; Occupation, the 27th Picture

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