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Una Gunjak’s The Chicken Selected for 53rd Critics’ Week in Cannes

The German-Croatian co-production The Chicken, written and directed by Una Gunjak, has been selected for the short film competition at the International Critics’ Week, whose 53rd edition takes place 15-23 May during the Cannes Film Festival. The Croatian co-producer of The Chicken is Siniša Juričić from Nukleus film.

Short film The Chicken takes place in Sarajevo during the war and focuses on the six-year-old girl Selma who gets a chicken as a birthday present from her father. Selma thinks the chicken is a pet, but her mother has other plans. “On several levels, The Chicken is a very personal film,” explains Una Gunjak, “starting from the fact that I was born and raised in Sarajevo during the war and that my father’s friend actually brought a real life chicken to our door because I wanted chicken and fries for my birthday. However, on a much more important level, for me this is an exodus of sorts – the story of my generation, of the children who grew up too soon and learned some lessons in life too quickly, sometimes in a frightening way.”

The film stars Mirela Lambić, Esma Alić, Iman Alibalić and Mario Knezović. The director Una Gunjak also wrote the script, the director of photography is Matthias Pilz, editor Anja Siemens, and composer Bernd Schurer. The producer is Jelena Goldbach from the German production company Zak Film Productions, and the Croatian co-producer is Siniša Juričić from Nukleus film. The film was entirely made in Zagreb.

The Chicken is the second project by Nukleus film that premiered at the Critics’ Week: Juričić also co-produced the multiple award-winning film Sofia’s Last Ambulance, which won the France 4 Visionary Award in 2012. “Another appearance at the Critics’ Week means that someone is acknowledging what we do, because one time is chance, and three times is luck,” said Siniša Juričić.

“I am by nature a distance runner and I often compare everything else with long tracks. Let’s say that The Chicken in the Critics’ Week selection is like running 10 kilometres at the Olympics and winning a gold medal. A marvellous award and a big thank you to everyone who worked on the film and who supported it,” said Gunjak.

Scene from the film The Chicken

Una Gunjak (Sarajevo, 1986) graduated in film studies from the University of Turin in 2008 and in 2010 she obtained an MA in editing from the prestigious National Film and Television School in London, where she currently resides and works as an editor and directs fiction and documentary films and commercials. The Chicken is her first professional creative project. During 2012 the film was developed at the European Short Pitch screenplay programme organised by NISI MASA European youth film network, won the co-production award of the famous Robert Bosch Foundation in the Germany-Easter Europe category, and was co-funded by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.

The 53rd edition of the International Critics’ Week takes place 15-23 May during the 67th Cannes Film Festival. More information about the Critics’ Week programme can be found on the official website, and high resolution images from The Chicken can be downloaded here.

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