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Croatian titles at 19th DokuFest  

Three Croatian films to screen in the Balkan Doc competition programme of the 19th DokuFest – International Documentary and Short Film Festival, held online 7th-25th Aug.  

The screening in the Balkan Doc competition programme marks the premiere for Ivan Ramljak’s Once Upon a Youth, a Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Art production. The film was edited by Ivor Šonje, Marko Čaklović created the cinematography, Borna Buljević created the sound design, while Matej Merlić is the film’s producer. The film is the director’s attempt to reconstruct the relationship with his once best friend, 13 years after his sudden passing, using only the photographs and video materials shot by his late friend back in the day. It is a story about a lost generation of late 1990s young Croatians and their struggle to find their identity in the aftermath of the devastating war.

The same programme will also feature Serbian director Marija Stojnić’s feature documentary Speak So I Can See You, created as a Serbian-Croatian-Qatari co-production (with Vanja Jambrović and Tibor Keser of Restart acting as Croatian producers). The film received support from Film Center Serbia, Eurimages (the 2017 Eurimages Lab Project Award), Doha Film Institute in 2018, and Finnish media house YLE, as well as being developed at the 2017 ZagrebDox Pro, where it was hailed as one of the best projects of the programme. Speak So I Can See You explores the soundscapes of Radio Belgrade, one of Europe’s oldest radio stations and the cultural beacon of the city thanks to its drama, experimental, music and scientific programming. The film had its world premiere at last year’s 32nd International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. 

Feature documentary Tales From a Prison Cell, directed by Hungarian director and screenwriter Ábel Visky, a Hungarian-British-Croatian co-production (with Morana Ikić Komljenović of Fade In as Croatian producer) will also appear in the Balkan Doc competition. The film traces the relationship between three imprisoned fathers and their children at home. The ties that bind them are the fathers’ fairy tales, which they write attempting to establish a closer relationship with their children through imagination. Portraying unique life’s circumstances, the film effectively examines freedom, unity and family ties. The screening in competition at FIPADOC – International Documentary Festival, held earlier this year in the French town of Biarritz, was its world premiere, while the film was created with support from the National Film Institute Hungary, the MEDIA Sub-programme of Creative Europe and the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.    

DokuFest – International Documentary and Short Film Festival, normally held in Prizren, Kosovo, has transferred its 19th edition online. Its eight competition programmes will screen 90 titles from 51 countries, with all the films available for online streaming via a special festival platform.

DokuFest is the biggest film festival in Kosovo and in the last several years it has come to the fore as one of the most important documentary film festivals in the region.

For more information about DokuFest, visit the official festival website

Cover photograph: scenes from Once Upon a Youth; Speak So I Can See You; Tales From a Prison Cell

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