Pula Film Festival is the oldest and largest national film festival in Croatia, held every year in the monumental Roman Amphitheatre in Pula. Since 1954 it is the most visited cultural event in Croatia, with more than 70 thousand visitors each year.
This year’s awards
In the Croatian Program, the jury awarded the movie The Dawn directed by Dalibor Matanić, with the Golden Arena for Best Sound Design, Best Music, Best Editing and Best Cinematography.
Murina directed by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović and actress Danica Ćurčić won the Best Supporting Actress and Breza Award for the Best Debutant. The movie also won the Golden Gate audience award.
The movie Once We Were Good for You, directed by Branko Schmidt won Golden Arena for Best Screenplay and the actor Rene Bitorajac, won the Golden Arena Best Actor award.
A Blue Flower, directed by Zrinko Ogresta, won the Grand Golden Arena for the best festival film, Golden Arena for Best Director and the actress Vanja Ćirić won the Golden Arena for Best Actress.
Held at 15 locations around the city, the Festival had more than 90 screenings of national and international programs, from 17 – 24 July.
The festival was screening movies from seven categories: Croatian, International, Student, the children’s category: Pulica, Dizalica for young adults, Classics, and projects in post-production.
Additionally, the Festival organised programs around the city: Industry meetings, workshops, case studies and round tables for promotion of young producers and regional films, and sidebar programmes such as exhibitions dedicated to the film industry, concerts and book presentations.
The oldest film festival in Croatia
Quickly it became the most important national festival in the ex-state as it changed its name to Festival of Yugoslav Feature Film in Pula. The popularity was followed by the rapid development of the local film industry that at the time created around 20 movies per year. The concept of the Festival was based on the Academy Awards with awards in various categories for which these movies competed. It was and still is, used to premiere films, marking the beginning of the new cinema season.
Following Yugoslavia’s breakup in 1991, the Festival was cancelled in protest of the war that was happening on the Croatian territory. The following year it was re-established under the name Pula Film Festival. It was the first festival completely dedicated to the Croatian film industry.
Later, in 1995, the name was changed once again. To emphasize and promote Croatian film production, it was renamed the Croatian Film Festival. The low number of produced films resulted in a decrease in popularity with the audience. In 2001 the new name was introduced – Croatian and European Film Festival, and since 2003, as the public institution was founded, the festival took on its current name, Pula Film Festival.
Today, the Pula Film Festival is the largest national film festival in Croatia and is part of the prestigious list of European festivals with its long tradition, unique location and carefully selected competition programme.
The official programme
This year, the Festival was held at 15 locations around the city of Pula. Four sites were used for film programmes and a total of 90 screenings were shown. A total of 6 Croatian and 10 international films were competing for the main award.
Croatian movie Murina premiered within the Croatian category, and open the festival on the 14th of July. It is a film about youth and intergenerational relationships directed by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović.
The city of Pula is proud of the title City of Film. The event this year is expected to be recognised once again by local and international visitors. Due to COVID, total capacity is reduced with all approved safety measures applied.
The movie Murina at Festival del Cannes
At the same time and same week, as we write this review, Murina won the prestigious award Caméra d’or for the debut film. If you are curious you can check Q&A with Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović and Gracija Filipović the lead actress, here!