New Edition of MFF Opens Before Jubilant Audience

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Panah Panahi’s Hit The Road opens the festival before packed audience in Motovun’s main square.

Motovun Film Festival was officially opened last night, with joyful vibes and colorful soap bubbles that blew all the troubles away – if only for a short while.

Against the backdrop of brilliant illustrations made on the screen live by the painter and festival chronicler (and also the author of this festival edition’s visual identity) Danilo Dučak, festival director Igor Mirković and festival programmer Milena Zajović paid a moving tribute to some of the finest and bravest filmmakers of today.

“This year we celebrate two exceptional film careers,” said Igor Mirković introducing the laureates of Motovun’s honorary awards. Our 50 Years Award goes to Ranko Mitić Mito, assistant camera on hundreds of films. Motovun Maverick Award goes to Goran Marković, “an author whose films have thrilled generations of viewers.”

Motovun Mayor Tomislav Pahović and Deputy Prefect of Istrian County Jessica Acquavita welcomed the audience with words of optimism, pointing out the healing power of watching movies together.

The acclaimed Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov addressed the audience in a video. this long-time friend of the festival and a former prisoner of Russian regime sent his message directly from the trenches on the Donbas front line. He expressed his hope that he would soon have an opportunity to visit Croatia. He also thanked his European filmmaking family for their support and appealed to all to defend peace in Europe. Sentsov’s latest film Rhino will be shown in the main competition program of the festival. The film premiered in Venice, proving the strength and importance of art, something we desperately need in the hard times.

At the opening night the organizers remembered another director – former member of the festival’s “exiled jury” – recently arrested Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi. The opening film of the festival was Hit The Road by Panahi’s son Panah Panahi, who could not get in touch due to the situation with his father. “All these messages that have reached us, as well as those that never came reflect the unprecedented times we live in,” said Igor Mirković.

Inviting the audience on a temporary getaway from the bitter reality, Milena Zajović reminded of the importance of imagination and films. She said: “With a difficult year behind us and, even more importantly, with the times of uncertainty ahead of us, it is more important than ever that we turn our Motovun Film Hill into a ‘Cinema Paradiso’ once again.” Igor Mirković’s words best summarized this year’s message of love, unity and fight for positive goals: “Motovun is 277 meters above sea level and we are 277 meters above reality. Let’s join efforts to make each other’s lives beautiful again.”

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