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The Happiest Man in the World selected to 47th Toronto IFF

The Toronto International Film Festival, running 8th – 18th September, has announced the list of films selected to its Contemporary World Cinema section, which presents ‘convincing stories and global perspectives’. The latest fiction feature directed by Teona Strugar Mitevska, The Happiest Man in the World, is among the selected few to screen in the programme. It is a co-production with Croatian company Terminal 3, with Vanja Sremac as the co-producer. In addition, another Croatian co-production has been included in the TIFF DOCS programme – Ciné-Guerrillas: Scenes from the Labudović Reels, directed by Mila Turajlić and co-produced by Vanja Jambrović and Tibor Keser (Restart). 

The Happiest Man in the World is a story about Asja, a forty-year-old single woman living in Sarajevo. In order to meet someone new, one Saturday she ends up at a speed dating event and is matched with 43-year-old banker Zoran. However, it is not love Zoran is after, but forgiveness.

The film’s director Teona Strugar Mitevska penned the script together with Elma Tataragić. The director of photography is Virginie Saint Martin, while the film’s editor is Per K. Kirkegaard. Staring in one of the leading roles is Croatian actress Ksenija Marinković, with Jelena Kordić Kuret, Adnan Omerović, Labina Mitevska, Ana Kostovska and Izudin Bajrović making up the rest of the cast.

The screening in the Contemporary World Cinema programme at Toronto will mark the film’s North American premiere, having its official world premiere in the Horizons competition of the 79th Venice International Film Festival, running 31st August – 10th September.

This is a story about life’s uncertainties and about chance encounters that bring together the victim and the aggressor, stirring up painful past; it is a story about impossible relationships, about love and absurdity. The film starts out as a humorous outing that turns into a vastness of experiences. The natural rhythm is primordial, closely corresponding to human actions in the process of searching for the truth after an act of violence. I see it as a symphony of choreographed movements that reveal layers of emotion, gradually drawing the viewers into a state of vertigo”, states the film’s director Teona Strugar Mitevska.

The film’s lead producer is Labina Mitevska, joined by co-producers Sébastien Delloye, Danijel Hočevar, Vanja Sremac, Maria Møller Christoffersen, Amra Bakšić Čamo and Adis Đapo.

It is produced by Sisters and Brother Mitevski Production (North Macedonia), in co-production with Entre chien et loup (Belgium), Vertigo (Slovenia), Frau Film (Denmark), Terminal 3 (Croatia) and SCCA/ (Bosna & Hercegovina).

The Happiest Man in the World was financially supported by the North Macedonia Film Agency, Danish Film Institute, Slovenian Film Centre, Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Sarajevo Film Fund, Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Canton of Sarajevo, and the European fund Eurimages, with additional support from Belga Productions, Tax Shelter via Belga Films Fund and FS Viba Film. The film’s international sales agent is French company Pyramide International.

In addition, another Croatian co-production has been included in TIFF DOCS, the documentary competition at Toronto IFF. Ciné-Guerrillas: Scenes from the Labudović Reels is the new documentary feature directed by Mila Turajlić (Serbia). Using unique archives and the personal diary of president Tito’s favourite cameraman, Stevan Labudović, Cine-Guerrillas takes the viewers into the never before told chapter about the Algerian War for Independence and the story of how cinema joined in the struggle against colonialism.

Turajlić directed the film, wrote the script and did the cinematography. Croatian co-producers are Vanja Jambrović and Tibor Keser. The film is a Poppy Pictures (Serbia) and Survivance (France) production, with co-production partners Kino (Montenegro) and Restart (Croatia).

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the most important film events in North America and globally. Each year, it attracts a vast number of visitors, while the presence of numerous media representatives and accredited professionals makes it an important platform for showcasing potential favourites of the upcoming awards season, especially those entering the running for the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscars).

All other information is available at the Toronto International Film Festival official website

Cover photographs: scenes from The Happiest Man in the World (first four) and Ciné-Guerrillas: Scenes from the Labudović Reels (last photo)

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