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Important subjects to be addressed and refuge from grim reality to be provided between 26 and 30 July • More than a hundred films, great concerts and many side events

We could certainly use a break from the grim reality in these trying times, and this is what Motovun Film Festival has to offer once again. On 26 July, we begin our road tour through more than a hundred films in the car of the chaotic family in Hit the Road by Panah Panahi, the son of the celebrated Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi. Awarded at numerous festivals, this cheerful debut will ring many a bell if we mention the beloved Little Miss Sunshine. And it is just an introduction to one of the festival’s most attractive editions, as it was announced at the press conference in KIC, attended also by the authors of Croatian films in the program. 

“We really can’t remember when was the last time we had so many awarded films in the program. We definitely need big screens because our everyday screens are getting smaller and smaller. We also have to be able to discuss what we have seen because films are made to be watched in company. We need fun till dawn and easygoing summers with a plethora of films. Consult your physician or pharmacist – in a year like this, they will surely prescribe a dose of Motovun,” said festival director Igor Mirković.

As usually, the festival programmers did their best to come up with the most relevant and interesting works in the past year. The lineup thus includes films awarded at Karlovy Vary, Locarno, Berlin, Sundance and Cannes. They come from different parts of the globe – from Ukraine to Iran and from Egypt to Iceland. Two latest Croatian films will also be shown – Even Pigs Go To Heaven, a rural retro-musical by Goran Dukić and The Head of a Big Fish, a sociopolitical urban drama by Arsen Oremović. 

“The program includes gangster films like the Ukrainian Rhino, political thrillers like Boy from Heaven, the winner of Best Script in Cannes, and an unusual number of comedies. We hope that Wild Men, Incredible But True and Girl Picture (the last one won Audience Award at Sundance) will bring a pinch of joy in this geopolitical darkness. Still, in making the program, we remained true to the festival’s long-time credo: showing films told in a vivid and interesting way reflecting society and the problems and complexity of the modern world. The films that, despite their low budgets, manage to be politically intriguing and socially relevant, while being different at the same time,” said the festival’s main programmer Jurica Pavičić.
The German film by Dietrich Brüggemann, the winner of Best Director in Karlovy Vary, offers thirteen black-humor scenes from a marriage of millennials. Andreas Dresen, one of Germany’s most acclaimed modern filmmakers, tells us a true story about a mother who rescued her son from the Guantanamo prison. His film Rabiye Kurnaz vs. George W. Bush is coming to us with Best Lead Role and Best Script from Berlinale under its belt. Robe of Gems, a feature debut by the Mexican-Bolivian filmmaker Natalia López Gallardo about three women taking on a drug cartel, won a Silver Bear for Best Director at the same festival. 

Beautiful Beings, a disturbing Icelandic coming-of-age drama and A Piece of Sky, a moving story about the hard life in Swiss Alps, also won awards in Berlin. The Sacred Spirit, a Spanish tragicomic thriller about a sect of believers in the paranormal, Arthur Rambo, a French cinematic guide to the cancellation culture on Internet and Rodeo, a story about an outsider who enjoys crazy motorcycle stunts (awarded at Un Certain Regard in Cannes) are also sure to attract your attention. 

A smorgasbord of film classics from Sweden – our Partner Country this year – will also be served. In cooperation with our friends from the Swedish Embassy, Swedish Film Institute and our partner festival Uppsala ISFF, 25 films will be shown, including the works by masters like Ingmar Bergman, Lukas Moodysson and Roy Andersson as well as the last year’s winner of Motovun, Ninja Thyberg.

“The best of Swedish cinema will be shown in four sections: Groundbreaking from Sweden, dedicated to the pioneering works of Swedish cinema relevant beyond the borders of their country and their time; Young and Restless, films about rebellious youth; Pick ‘n’ Mix – a selection of the best shorts; and, finally, Sweden à la carte. We particularly recommend Benjamin Christensen’s silent-era masterpiece Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Age, which celebrates its centennial this year. As a special treat, the performance of our acclaimed musicians Alen and Nenad Sinkauz will accompany the screening,” said the Swedish Program selector Inja Korać.  

After twenty years, the iconic filmmaker Goran Marković will be returning to Motovun, this time as our guest of honor and a Motovun Maverick laureate. This year’s laureate of our 50 Years Award is Ranko Mitić, a record-breaking camera assistant of Croatian cinema who is still not fed up with shooting movies after a 55-year-long career. 

The popular Motovun Shorts program, selected from as many as 728 submissions, offers intriguing, dynamic, funny and important films. “They are important because they use fresh and innovative ways to present the perspectives, stories and people who are too often invisible. Some of these films screened at the world’s most relevant festivals like Cannes, Berlinale, Locarno, Venice and Clermont-Ferrand. Others will have their world premieres here in Motovun,” said the short-film programmer Inja Korać

The winner – the best European film – will be nominated for European Film Awards. Four films will be competing for Corto Montonese, the award for Best Croatian Short Film in the program: Snow White by Lana Barić, Collector by Danijel Žeželj, While We Were Here by Sunčica Fradelić and Boy by Hrvoje Mabić.
Motovun Film Festival will once again have an overture of a sort, this time in Buje. Buje@teen, a varied program of children and youth films from all over Europe will present the excitement and variety of European film stories and cultures while addressing problems and subjects of interest to the youngest members of society.

As usually, heaps of side events and great concerts will be taking place, too. The Greek ethno-ska-punk attraction Koza Mostra will perform for us on the first night and a number of interesting bands and DJs will have their concerts during the rest of the festival. Both types of film lovers can count on enjoying the five days between 26 and 30 July – those who want to focus on important subjects and those who want to stay away from them.


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