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God Exists, Her Name is Petrunija competing at 69th Berlinale

The feature film God Exists, Her Name is Petrunija by Teona Strugar Mitevska, is a Macedonian-Belgian-Slovenian-Croatian-French co-production selected to compete at one of the biggest and most important film festivals in the world – the Berlinale. The festival’s 69th edition will take place from February 7th to 17th, 2019 in Germany’s capital. The Croatian co-producer is Zagreb’s Spiritus Movens. Furthermore, it was recently announced that Vanja Kaluđerčić, originally from Pula and now living in London, will be a member of the short film jury in Berlin.

The film, which will have its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, takes place in the town of Štip in eastern Macedonia where each January a local priest throws a wooden cross into the river, where then hundreds of men dive in to fish it out. The one who gets the cross is blessed with success and good fortune. This time though, a woman named Petrunija gets to the cross first. Her opponents are furious.

As this film was a five-country co-production, with support from Eurimages, it was both interesting and intense working on this film because it was really important to coordinate the requests of all the film funds, while incorporating the best creative and technical elements from each country. And it seems we’ve succeeded!’ said Zdenka Gold of Spiritus Movens.

On set we had two actors, Ljiljana Bogojević and Mario Knezović, while the creative-technical part of the crew included tone engineer Hrvoje Petek, boomer Vilim Novosel, key grip Josip Mataušić, set employee Branko Cavrić, electrician Dario Laljek, art director Željka Burić, and casting director Marina Redžepović. We also offered technical support with lighting equipment from Lav Rasvjeta. Shooting went smoothly even though the conditions were quite challenging considering the extremely low temperatures. I hope that the film will have its Croatian premiere at the Pula Film Festival, after which we would screen it at other local festivals and in cinemas at the end of the year,’ Gold, the Croatian co-producer, added.

Angela Schanelec’s film I Was at Home, but will also have its world premiere in the main competition in Berlin. The film, a German-Serbian co-production (Nachmittagfilm and Dart Film & Video), was partially shot in Istria, in the town of Slum, and at Učka National Park. The Croatian team includes: executive producer Tibor Keser, tone recorder Hrvoje Radnić, and production assistant Jan Herenčić, while production services were provided by Paradoks (Zagreb). The film was supported by the Istrian Film Commission and Municipality of Lanišće. The film is about a 13 year-old boy who disappears for a week. After returning, the boy doesn’t know, or doesn’t want to say, where he was and what he was looking for. His mother and teachers assume that his flight was prompted by his father’s death, but the boy’s behaviour doesn’t exactly support that theory…

The Berlin International Film Festival attracts nearly half a million visitors each year. Films selected into the main competition reflect current and future trends in filmmaking, while offering viewers a wealth of productions from around the globe. The selector of the main competition is the festival’s director Deiter Kosslick, and festival winners receive Golden and Silver Bears.

It was also recently announced that Pula’s Vanja Kaluđerčić, currently living in London, will be a short film competition jury member. Kaluđerčić is a film manager and selector at numerous festivals, and is currently the acquisitions director at the film streaming service and distributor MUBI. Other members of the jury will include American curator at Vimeo Jeffrey Bowers, and Koyo Kouoh, artistic director and founder of RAW Material Company in Senegal. The president of this year’s international jury is renowned French actress and Oscar winner Juliette Binoche.

The full Berlinale programme will be announced on January 29th, in the afternoon hours.

For more information please visit the festival’s official website.

Cover photos: scenes from God Exists, Her Name is Petrunija

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