We are opening the 9th edition of the Festival with the first Croatian film made on the subject of the Holocaust after more than 40 years, ‘Wiener Blut’ by Zlatko Bourek and Pavao Štalter, and the film ‘Walesa: A Man of Hope’, directed by Andrzej Wajda, the winner of the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement.
In addition to the topic of the Holocaust addressed in various films of this year’s program, like the film ‘Colette’ or ‘In Silence’, there are also films that talk of other problems of modern society, such as the lack of human communication presented in the film ‘The Phone Call’ (this year’s Oscar winner for Best Short), then ignorance and lack of inclusion of children with special needs in society in the film ‘Same, but Different’ (Emmy Award winner), or the human need for destruction represented by another Academy-Award nominated film, ‘The Salt of the Earth’, directed by Wim Wenders and Juliano Salgado.
We are also proud of the first retrospective at our Festival, of the famous Hungarian Academy Award winner István Szabo, presenting three of his films: ‘The Door’, ‘Mephisto’ and ‘Taking Sides’ and we have the great honour of hosting the director himself, who will support the Festival by joining us as our guest. We have been spreading the idea of tolerance to a larger and younger audience through our traditional ‘Educational mornings’, an educational program intended to convey the truth about the Holocaust to younger generations, in the hope that something like that never happens again, and to expose contemporary examples of anti- Semitism and discrimination, through lectures by Branko Lustig, this year’s guest Oleg Mandić and Mirko Ilić.
Four photo exhibitions will confront visitors with the recent past of the region, the unacceptance of diversity, but also more positive examples of integration of ‘different’ into society and the welfare of cooperation between different cultures and people. Our music evenings are an important part of the Festival that attracts a younger audience with a variety of musical genres, from the increasingly popular klezmer to electronic party music. We have yet again prepared a diverse program, from concerts of Roma music, Jewish trash and dance, electronic music, to a multimedia performance, and judging by numerous newspaper headlines, we have earned the title of a festival with top quality music program.
At last year’s edition of the festival, we introduced a new program – Festival Market, a unique platform for communication and exchange of experiences among professionals from the industry, which includes discussions and presentations by representatives of film festivals and screenings of selected films that best show their idea and intention. Festival Market has proved to be extremely successful and this year we are presenting as many as six festivals. The need of the audience to discuss screened films and comment the topics addressed in them has led to another innovation in the program – discussions, thematically related to specific films, which include relevant experts, giving the audience an opportunity to participate in the program. In addition to discussions, in collaboration with EUNIC we have organised a roundtable discussion on interreligious and intercultural cooperation, with the participation of leading cultural and religious, national and international experts.