Fedeora’s First Awards
History was made at the 57th Pula Film Festival on July 24th 2010, when Fedeora presented their first ever awards at the closing ceremony. The Fedeora jury – made up of Eva Zaoralová, famed Artistic Director of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival; Dubravka Lakic, the celebrated Serbian film critic and myself – handed over the brand new certificates to the various winners on stage in the magnificent Roman Amphitheatre where films are shown every night on a gigantic screen to an enthusiastic and voluble audience of thousands.
Our task was to judge winners from three categories in the National Programme: the Main Section consisting of seven new Croatian productions; three Minority Coproductions and 12 short fiction films. Although it was very gratifying to see a young director, 27-year-old Nevio Marasovic, attempting an extremely ambitious critique of the mass media and a post-apocalyptic nightmare in The Show Must Go On, which he managed to achieve with very little money, we felt that the most accomplished film was Just Between Us (Neka ostane medu nama) by the 63-year-old Rajko Grlic. (There is no doubt that Marasovic will have his day.)
Grlic’s film is a cleverly constructed tragi-comedy on the erotic and emotional relationships between various inter-related bourgeois couples, with a wonderful cast headed by Croatia’s Walter Matthau, Miki Manojlovic. When I handed Grlic the certificate on stage, I told him that he was the first recipient of the new federation of critics, and he seemed genuinely delighted.
Also delighted was Adis Bakrac, the 36-year-old director of the Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian-French co-production The Abandoned (Ostavljeni), a story of a young boy from an orphanage seeking his parents. The film succeeds in being both a touching personal story but also a trenchant comment on the Bosnian war.
In the same co-production category, we gave a Special Mention to the five women directors of the five episodes that made up Some Other Stories (Neke druge price), conceived by the Serbian critic Nenad Dukic. The film brings together tales from five ex-Yugoslavian countries by directors from those countries. The award to the directors – Ivona Juka (Croatia), Ana Maria Rossi (Serbia), Ines Tanovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Maria Dzidzeva (Macedonia) and Hanna Slak (Slovenia) – must be the first in film history to be given to more than two directors at the same time, albeit that it was only a Special Mention.
Fedeora’s short film award was given to Irena Skoric’s March 9th (9. Ozujak), an original and poetic approach to the filming of a sex sequence, during which only parts of the bodies are seen, while we hear voices off of the man and women, whose faces are only revealed at the end. In fact, the level of short films was high enough to be encouraging for the future of Croatian cinema.
Although the name of Fedeora was new to most people, its primary existence at the well-established Pula film festival, began to get it talked about, and it will no doubt grow from word of mouth, and its reputation will spread as more and more awards will be given and appreciated. Thanks to the enterprising and far-seeing efforts of Pula’s Artistic Director Zlatko Vidackovic, Fedeora has been given an excellent kick start.