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Juraj Lerotić’s Safe Place is Croatia’s Oscar submission

Among nine titles, the Filmmakers Association of Croatia (HDFD) has chosen Juraj Lerotić’s Safe Place as Croatia’s submission for the 95th Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards in the category of Best International Feature.

On Monday, 12th September, after a secret ballot in the first round, the fifteen-member Committee of the Filmmakers Association of Croatia, decided by a simple majority that Safe Place directed by Juraj Lerotić and produced by Miljenka Čogelja (Pipser) will represent Croatian filmmaking at the 95th Oscars.    

“We would like to thank the Filmmakers Association of Croatia. Although it is a film that confronts us with difficult issues such as suicide, mental illness and the helplessness of the patients, their families and the system in the face of illness, this is not what the film focuses on – what stands out in the film is the support of the family and the immense love between two brothers”, said producer Miljenka Čogelja. “We are happy that the exciting start the film has had at festivals in Locarno and Sarajevo continues in the form of Croatia’s entry for the Academy Awards. I would also like to mention that the successful international company Cercamon has recently taken on the task of the film’s international placement and promotion, so we are looking forward to collaborating with them as far as this campaign is concerned as well”, she added.

“I would like to congratulate the film’s crew and everyone who participated in its making. Everyone who has seen the film has had nothing but words of praise, which is a rare occurrence in this day and age. This year we had a number of very accomplished titles so the competition was of the highest quality”, said the CEO of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Chris Marcich.

Juraj Lerotić’s debut narrative feature had its world premiere at the prestigious Locarno Film Festival, where it scooped up three awards: Best Emerging Director Award of the City and Region of Locarno, Best Actor (Goran Marković), and the Swatch First Feature Award. This makes it the first Croatian film since its independence to win three awards at an A-list festival.

In addition, Safe Place also won big at the Sarajevo Film Festival, taking home the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Feature Film, while the director Juraj Lerotić also won the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Actor for his role in the film. It also earned the CICAE Award for Best Film in the Feature Film competition presented by the International Confederation of Art Cinemas, as well as the Cineuropa prize awarded by the eponymous web portal devoted to European cinema.

The film centres on a sudden suicide attempt, which opens a fissure in the daily life of a family of three. Their lives are upturned, as if they have been pulled into a war invisible to anyone else. The storyline is condensed to a short frame of time and distilled to the most acute – saving a loved one. The film is based on director Juraj Lerotić’s personal experience.

Safe Place is written and directed by Juraj Lerotić who also stars in the film, alongside Goran Marković and Snježana Sinovčić Šiškov. The director of photography on the project is Marko Brdar, with Marko Ferković as editor, Jana Plećaš as production designer, and Katarina Pilić as costume designer. The film is a Pipser production, with Miljenka Čogelja as the producer, while the Croatian co-production partner is the company Zelena zraka (Saša Ban and Nevenka Sablić).

It was created in collaboration with Slovenian production company December and received financial support of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Croatian Radiotelevision and Slovenian Film Centre. In addition, it won the Eurimages Development Award at the CineLink Co-production Market of the Sarajevo Film Festival.  

The Filmmakers Association of Croatia has selected Safe Place among nine titles that include: fiction features Kick and Scream by Nina Violić, Savages by Dario Lonjak, Illyricvm by Simon Bogojević Narath, Even Pigs Go to Heaven by Goran Dukić, The Uncle by Andrija Mardešić and David Kapac, Sixth Bus by Eduard Galić, as well as documentaries Bigger Than Trauma by Vedrana Pribačić and Mirta Puhlovski, and Factory to the Workers by Srđan Kovačević.     

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