Many things may have changed in Motovun Film Festival program during all these years, but one good tradition has remained: every year we celebrate those who have dedicated half a century – their entire working life – to the motion picture art. This time, the festival decided to give the 50 Years Award to our dear friend and a great filmmaker Nenad Puhovski.
His great journey started in 1965, when a high-school student named Nenad Puhovski made his first amateur films. One of them, And There Was Evening, And There Was Morning, The Seventh Day (made together with Darko Tralić), won him numerous awards at the youth festivals of the time.
Nenad's professional work began in 1973. Ever since, he has directed more than 250 film and TV productions. He was also active in theater (the most important being his work in Zagreb's Teatar &TD in the 1980s). At the same time he started teaching at the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Art (ADU); he is the founder of its Graduate Documentary Program of the Film and TV Directing Department.
Although he has had a very extensive and diverse career, the present-day film lovers primarily associate Nenad Puhovski with documentary films. The 1997 launching of his production company FACTUM marked the beginning of his immeasurable contribution to the awakening of the then dormant independent documentary film scene. Along this line, Nenad Puhovski launched in 2005 yet another project that would turn out to be a turning point in the Croatia's documentary filmmaking: ZagrebDox, the biggest documentary film festival in the region.
In addition to all the above, Nenad Puhovski is the author of numerous documentary films, prominent among which are those tackling the open wounds of the society – the films that required both artistic and human courage. Lora – Testimonies, Pavilion 22 and Together are the films that expanded the limits in the documentary coverage of our neuralgic reality. It was with a great pleasure to learn that Nenad – in the year of his "golden jubilee" – was coming back with a new film, Generation 68.
His films have met different fates: while some (particularly the ones about visual art) won the highest awards in the former Yugoslavia, others made him one of the "most controversial" filmmakers. His stage productions – Orwell's 1984 and Stoppard's Travesties, for example – provoked reactions of Croatian communist party officials and the Soviet embassy. His TV documentary Dead Harbor was put in the vault for 15 years; Storm Over Krajina, produced by him in 2001, triggered a heated debate in the Croatian Parliament. Two of the films he directed, Lora – Testimonies and Pavilion 22, provoked strong protests of Croatian veterans, escalating to their demand that the author should leave the country.
As a winner of this award, Nenad has joined the club of "Motovun quinquagenarians" – all the Croatian directors, actors, screenwriters, composers, stuntmen, animators, directors of photography, editors and others who have lived their entire lives contributing to the miracle of film. As there were years with more than one winner of this award, 25 people who have invested their knowledge and gift in the creation of Croatian cinema have so far entered this "Hall of Fame" (or Hall of Endurance, for that matter) on our Film Hill.
Celebrating Nenad Puhovski's jubilee, Motovun Film Festival is revisiting its roots: it was in the Imaginary Academy in the neighboring Grožnjan that the idea about launching a festival in Motovun was born in the 1990s. Nenad taught at the Academy as one of its founders. As the films from the Grožnjan production had their special separate program at the first edition of Motovun, Nenad participated in it as a five-time producer. He is more than a festival friend. It will be a real pleasure and honor to celebrate his jubilee this summer.
Motovun Film Festival will be taking place from 26-30 July and the 50 Years Award will be given on 28 July.