16th Motovun International Film Festival

Croatia, July 27 - July 31 2013

The jury

Ingrid Beerbaum (Germany), Davor Pavlovic (Bosnia), Gaetano D'Èlia (Italy)

Awarded films

Motovun — The Film Mountain or just the place to be. This year the mountain of films presents itself in top form. Blue skies, green forest and an enthusiastic crowd willing to watch films all day at a temperature of 35 degrees. The Motovun Film Festival celebrates 16 years of existence this year and seems to be grown up already.

Founded in 1999 by some devoted film enthusiasts, this festival appears to be the most popular in Croatia, especially among young film buffs. This could not have been foreseen in the beginning. After the civil war in the region, it was not only the film industry that was in bad condition. Cinemas, in general, were only showing Hollywood films or international productions. But 1999 was also the year when Croatian dictator Franjo Tudman lost influence and later faced prosecution under the law. Planned as a festival that shows only independent or non-mainstream productions, Motovun became a symbol of independent thinking and opposition to the regime, and so from its inaugural year it already attracted larger audiences than expected. Going to Motovun was a way to show dissent. Luckily these times are over.

Among the many attractive features of Motovun are its lack of red carpets, big press conferences and megastars — nobody at the festival misses them. Some of the festival’s distinctive features may have a practical motivation, because Motovun is an old medieval village, 227 metres above sea level. Steep and narrow streets, covered with cobblestones might not be the best ground to walk on in high heels. But, of course, the founders never intended to create a little Cannes on that hill in Istria. It was only planned as a familiar festival where you could meet people you know, or get to know new people.

Since the year 2000 the Propeller of Motovun is given as the main prize in an international competition program showing independent and debut features and documentaries from all over the world. One year later, FIPRESCI awarded its first prize at the festival, and since then has been present every year. And, most important to the region, since 2003 the Bauer prize has been given to one production from the Balkans. In addition, young film makers can participate in the Motovun Film Schoolandenjoy the great atmosphere of the Ecocamp below the hill.

And although thousands of viewers climb up the hill every year to see movies in the big open-air cinema on the main square or at one of the other five venues, the festival still has a familiar atmosphere with no boundaries between viewers and film makers, who immediately become friends and fans of the festival, willing to return at any time. (Ingrid Beerbaum)

Motovun International Film Festival: www.motovunfilmfestival.com