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Srđan Kovačević’s Factory to the Workers wins Grand Prix at DokuFest; special mention to minority co-production The New Greatness Case

Srđan Kovačević’s multi-award-winning feature documentary Factory to the Workers has won the Grand Prix at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival – DokuFest, just concluded in Prizren, Kosovo. A jury special mention went to Croatian minority co-production The New Greatness Case, directed and written by Anna Shishova. The film’s Croatian co-producer is Siniša Juričić (Nukleus Film).

The jury statement of the Balkan Dox Award stated that, “the jury unanimously chose a documentary that reveals the complex and universal dynamics of a microcosm where human solidarity is challenged by brutal societal forces, using a sensitive approach and precise observational camerawork.”

Factory to the Workers had its world premiere in June last year in the international competition at the Sheffied DocFest and has since won the FIPRESCI Award at the Motovun Film Festival, followed by the award for best film at the Liburnia film Festival and best documentary at the Trieste Film Festival. It also took home the award for best documentary at the CROSSING EUROPE Film Festival in Linz, as well as the Oktavijan Award of the Croatian Film Critics’ Society for Best Documentary Feature 2022.

The film traces the workers ten years after they took over the management of the ITAS factory in Ivanec, as it struggles to survive in a capitalist economy. It is a portrait of a community that joins forces to protect its labour and is ready to make sacrifices in order to achieve its goal. Observing the situation from within, director Srđan Kovačević enters the whirlwind of the resistance, foregrounding the central dilemma of today’s workers, whether the idea of a ‘factory to the workers’ can survive or it is simply another utopian dream.

The film is a Fade In production, produced by Sabina Krešić and Luka Venturin. Damir Čučić edited the film, alongside Iva Kraljević and Srđan Kovačević. Sound design and editing was done by Ranko Rauković, while colour correction was done by Magdalena Ptiček and Darko Kušlan. The film was created with support from the Croatian Audiovisual Centre and the City of Zagreb.

A jury Special Mention in the Human Rights Dox competition went to minority Croatian co-production The New Greatness Case, the feature documentary directed and written by Anna Shishova. The film follows Anya (17), an ordinary teenager who dreamed of making life in Russia better. In March 2018, she was arrested and imprisoned on trumped-up charges of extremism. Three years later, her mother continues her desperate struggle to prove her daughter’s innocence.

“The director brilliantly analyses and depicts the crackdown on the freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly in Russia. She also shows the different explicit and implicit forms of violence in a country where systematic human rights violations are the norm and echoes of Stalinist repressions are felt in everyday life”, cited the jury statement. The Croatian co-producer of the film is Siniša Juričić for Nukleus Film. The full list of awarded films and jury statements is available on this link.

Cover photographs: DokuFest award ceremony; scene from The New Greatness Case

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