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The Happiest Man in the World world premiere at Venice IFF: moved audience gives standing ovation 

Macedonian director Teona Strugar Mitevska’s latest film, The Happiest Man in the World, created in co-production with Croatian company Terminal 3, with Vanja Sremac as co-producer, premiered on 2nd September at the Sala Darsena, in the Horizons (Orizzonti) section of the 79th Venice International Film Festival. Moved by the film, the audience gave it a several-minute-long standing ovation.  

“Watching the film at the Venice Mostra and seeing its demanding festival audience focusing so intently during the screening, followed by their response at the end of the film, was an incredible experience. Their enthusiastic feedback reaffirms the fact that the story about the possibility of opening a dialogue and reconciliation definitely exceeds local and regional boundaries. It is a wonderful feeling being the Croatian co-producer of such an important European film,” said Croatian co-producer of The Happiest Man in the World, Vanja Sremac (of Terminal 3).

The film’s director Teona Strugar Mitevska also commented on the emotional premiere night:

“The standing ovation was impressive, people were truly touched. What more could you wish for? When you make a film, you have to affect people and create something emotional, and today, in that auditorium, we felt we had done precisely that."

“It was beautiful, it was a magnificent experience filled with tears and emotions. This film could not have had its world debut in a better place”, added the film’s main producer, Labina Mitevska, who also stars in the film.

The world premiere took place at the Sala Darsena, with a guest appearance from the film’s crew led by director Teona Strugar Mitevska, producer and actress Labina Mitevska, scriptwriter Elma Tataragić and lead cast members Jelena Kordić Kuret and Adnan Omerović. At the Venice Mostra the film screened in the Horizons (Orizzonti) competition, devoted to authors whose films represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinema.

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 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), and has been 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. 

More details about the film, including photographs and an interview with the director, are available on THIS link

After the Venice Biennale, The Happiest Man in the World will travel to Canada for its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.  

Also screening at the Venice IFF is the debut fiction feature directed by duo Dušan Zorić and Matija Gluščević, Have You Seen This Woman?, created in co-production with Croatian company Dinaridi Film, with Tena Gojić as the co-producer. The film will premiere on 8th September in a parallel section, the Venice International Film Critics’ Week (Settimana Internazionale della Critica).

Appearing in acting roles in both films is Croatian actress Ksenija Marinković.

The Mostra in Venice runs 31st August – 10th September, while more information about the festival is available on the Venice International Film Festival official website

Cover photograph: The Happiest Man in the World film crew during world premiere at the 79th Venice International film Festival; scenes from The Happiest Man in the World (first photograph taken from the North Macedonia Film Agency Facebook page)

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