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Recognitions to Sonja Tarokić The Staffroom at Karlovy Vary

The Staffroom, written and directed by Sonja Tarokić and produced by Ankica Jurić Tilić (Kinorama), was awarded the main jury Special Mention at the 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival gala closing ceremony. The film also won the Ecumenical Jury Commendation. The festival in Karlovy Vary was held 20th – 28th August, while the screening of The Staffroom in the main programme marked its world premiere. 

“First-time feature director Sonja Tarokić shows an extraordinary palette of cinematic craftsmanship through choral and focal plays, and most importantly a genuine benevolent writing of characters. An energetic, universal and encouraging tribute to all schooling staffs around the world,” said the statement of the Ecumenical Jury, which awarded it the Ecumenical Jury Commendation, alongside the main jury Special Mention.

Director Sonja Tarokić collected the awards in person at the Karlovy Vary IFF gala closing held on Saturday, 28th August.   

“The fact that the film was selected for the main programme made us happy enough, but returning home with these recognitions makes the whole experience all the nicer. Alongside a wonderful response from the audience, we could not have hoped for a better premiere, and we are all the happier that the jury recognized our film’s value as well,” commented The Staffroom director.   

Responding to the recognition, producer Ankica Jurić Tilić stressed that she was very pleased the film has been received so well, both by the audience and critics, as well as the jury at Karlovy Vary and concludes, “A Special Mention in the main competition is definitely a big compliment, and we are also happy about the Ecumenical Jury Commendation. This is truly a great start for ‘The Staffroom’ and we cannot wait to show it to Croatian audiences.”

After the world premiere at Karlovy Vary last Sunday, 22nd Aug, The Staffroom received excellent reviews in some of the most prominent publications such as Cineuropa and Variety, while the director also gave numerous interviews, including the one for Screen Daily.

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is the oldest and most prestigious film festival in Southeast Europe and one of only 15 A-list festivals in the world, while, prior to this, Croatian cinema had not had a national film screening in its main programme for quite some time where 12 films compete for the main festival award.

This year’s Crystal Globe winner is Stefan Arsenijević’s As Far As I Can Walk, a co-production between Serbia, France, Bulgaria and Luxembourg.

Apart from The Staffroom, the Karlovy Vary IFF also featured screenings of several other Croatian titles, including Dalibor Matanić’s The Dawn (in Horizons), minority Croatian co-production After the Winter directed by Ivan Bakrač (in East of the West), and Icelandic-Croatian co-production All Dogs Die directed by Ninna Pálmadóttir (in EFP programme – Future Frames).

The Staffroom is a drama about an individual’s struggle against the system. The newly hired enthusiastic primary school counsellor Anamarija (Marina Redžepović) is forced to choose between abiding by her own principles or fitting in with the staff room.

Alongside Marina Redžepović, appearing in the film are Stojan Matavulj, Nives Ivanković, Maja Posavec, Sandra Lončarić, Daria Lorenci Flatz and many others. The director of photography is Danko Vučinović, Borna Buljević edited the film and created the sound design, production design was done by Tajana Čanić Stanković and costume design by Katarina Pilić. The film is a Kinorama production, with KinoElektron from France as associate producer, while the film received support from the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the MEDIA sub-programme of the Creative Europe, RE-ACT fund, Croatian Radiotelevision and Torino Film Lab, where the project was supported in development stage. 

Cover photographs: Sonja Tarokić at Karlovy Vary IFF gala awards ceremony (*photographs taken from Karlovy Vary IAFF official website)

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