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Press Conference

Zagreb Film Festival 2021

ZFF is the largest international film festival in Croatia, held every year in November in Zagreb, it presents the best independent international and domestic film production. The 19th edition of ZFF starts on the 14th and runs until the 21st of November.

Some of the most iconic cinemas in Zagreb, Tuškanac, Student Centre (SC), Urania, Teatar &TD, including HUB365 and online platforms and, will host one of the richest programs of the festival so far, with 134 movies presented in various categories. 

Last year, ZFF was held entirely online due to the pandemic. This year, the festival makes a big comeback to cinemas in Zagreb by showcasing the biggest debut films awarded at world-famous film festivals.

Awarded films in the main competition program

The competition program is split into the following 5 categories.

  • The Main Program: Feature Films
  • The Main Program: International Short Films 
  • Checkers
  • Together Again
  • Network of Festivals in the Adriatic Region. 

The Main Program: Feature Films

The program highlights are films in the main feature film category. Three out of the 12 are winners of famous film festivals in Venice, Cannes and Sundance. 

The winner of the Venice Film Festival is a film called Happening directed by Audrey Diwan. It is an adaptation of a novel by French writer Annie Ernaux, talking about abortion in France in the 1960s. 

The film Hive, directed by Blerta Basholli from Kosovo, was awarded at Sundance for the best movie, best director, and received an audience’s award. It is a film about the Kosovar patriarchate and based on a true story about widow Fahrija who starts her production of ajvar, a type of relish. 

French film Titan, directed by Julia Ducournau, won the Golden Palm in Cannes (Palme d’Or), making Julia the second woman in history to receive this prestigious award. The film is a fantasy exploring the limits of horror. 

In addition to the Finnish film, Compartment n. 6 and German film Great Freedom, all three movies are nominated for the Oscar award for the best foreign film. 

Croatian film Zbornica will premiere at ZFF. Sonja Tarokić directs the movie, and it’s her debut feature film. Sonja is the most famous author of ZFFs Kockica, a short films program, and now is returning to ZFF with her film presenting a dynamic atmosphere and conflicts within the closed space of a teacher’s lounge.  

Short film competition programs

The international competition category of short films will include 10 titles. The main highlight of the program is an interesting short film titled All the Crows, whose director Tang Yi from Hong Kong won Palme d’Or in Cannes for the best short film. 

The film Displaced by Samir Karahoda from Kosovo was premiered in Cannes and received a special recognition award at Sarajevo Film Festival. 

Additionally, ten films are part of the Checkers (Croatian: Kockice) category. It is the main competition program for the national short film. Visitors will enjoy some of the best local short films, such as All that comes (Croatian: Sve što dolazi) by Mate Ugrin, awarded the best short film at the Sarajevo Film Festival.

The competition program Together again (Ponovno s nama) features films from authors that previously presented their work at ZFF. The film Hero by Oscar award winner Asghar Farhadi is a drama that shows an individual’s destiny in a society that creates idols. 

This year’s Berlin Film Festival winner Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn directed by Romanian director Radu Jude, and the new film The Worst Person in the World by Norwegian director Joachim Trier, featuring the best actress from Cannes Renate Reinsve, will also be presented in the category.

Additional programs and awards

The leading award of the ZFF, Zlatna kolica (English: Golden pram), will award the best feature film, the best international short film, and the best Croatian short film from the Kockice program. 

The best feature film will be selected by a jury, the actress Katia Pascariu, Ivan Ikić, director and winner of last year’s ZFF and Vanja Černjul, director of photography. 

The jury for the best international and Croatian short films will include director Sara Grgurić, Slovenian director Rok Biček and director and selector of Film Festival Herceg Novi, Ivan Bakrač.

The Side Program

The Side Program is divided into six sub-sections, whilst Icebreakers, Plus and Lux will be featured online. 

  • The Great 5 
  • Icebreakers features five films from Eastern-European authors, 
  • Plus are movies aimed at teenagers,
  • Lux Film Days will show three European Parliament award winners and Festival Under Spotlight with over 50 titles from regional festivals.  
  • Festivals in the Spotlight 
  • Special Screening

The new competition program ‘Network of festivals in the Adriatic region’ (Mreža festivala Jadranske regije) brings four festivals from four countries – the Sarajevo Film Festival from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Auteur Film Festival from Belgrade, Serbia, Film Festival Herceg Novi from Montenegro and ZFF will cooperate this autumn and will present films nominated for European Film Awards, Brother’s Keeper from Turkey and Hungarian Natural Light. 

The audience will select the winner from all four countries, and the best film will receive the Adriatic Audience Award, to be presented in Belgrade. 

Out of the competition program, The Great 5 (Velikih 5) is a cooperation of cultural institutes of the European Union in Croatia (EUNIC) and will present recent titles of the five biggest cinematographers in Europe: United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. 

The youngest will enjoy their edition of the international film festival for children – KinoKino. The most influential children’s films will be presented in the competition program, with additional programs to introduce the movie. 

The professional and children’s jury will select winners for the best films of the KinoKino festival. 

A professional jury consists of actress Iva Babić, director Saša Ban and children’s literature expert Dubravka Zima. The children’s jury consists of Jan Nikola Baš, Sara Čolaković, Marta Mikac, Ursula Pavić and Rita Vumirović, kids from local primary schools.

Parallel with the screenings in Zagreb, ZFF will take parts of the program to 20 locations around Croatia. Selected films will be shown in cinemas in Split, Pula, Rijeka, Šibenik, Bjelovar and many more all over the country. 

ZFF going green

ZFF, as partners of the European Initiative We Choose Reuse, and in partnership with Green action (Croatian: Zelena akcija), Humana Nova and Environmental Festival will raise awareness of environment protection. Under the slogan ‘We recycle everything except films’ there will be limited use of paper and plastic. 

The official festival catalogue will be in digital form only. The festival’s programs are printed on recycled paper, while plastic accreditations are now digital or fabric. 

The official merchandise is made of recycled and eco-friendly materials. Visitors will exchange books and clothes via a ‘Closet of trade’ located in the Student Centre (SC).

Additionally, recycling boxes will be available at all festival locations as well as those for recycling electronics. Workshops and quizzes to raise awareness of environmental protection will be held throughout the duration of the festival. 

Tickets are available online starting from the 4th of November, while ticket offices at locations will open on the first day of the festival, the 14th of November. All visitors must have a valid COVID-pass or a valid negative Covid test.

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