17th Motovun International Film Festival
Croatia, July 26 - July 30 2014
On top of the 277-meter hill on which Motovun (the name itself refers to “mountain”) is situated, the village held its film festival for the 17th year in a row. From its beginnings as an event dedicated to small, independent, creative works with original ideas (it sparked a craze for similar festivals), Motovun is now the second-oldest festival in Croatia – after Pula Film Festival, which is more like a showcase for the year’s national productions. The end of July is always reserved for a five-day marathon in which films are shown from 10am to 4am, with evening outdoor screenings, concerts, and various side programs.
This year there was also a series of panel discussions curated by the main programmer, and I was very glad to assist him in this: every afternoon we gathered ten to fifteen participants, mostly without formal experience in film criticism, and discussed with them the movies they had seen. This is a practice which should occur at every film festival.
One of Motovun’s best features is its Maverick award, which goes to artists who fight limitations and expand the medium of cinema, constantly searching for new ways and styles. Previous recipients include Ken Russell, Terry Jones and Ulrich Seidl, and this year the award went to one of the most renowned auteurs of our time, Andrey Zvyagintsev, who like the directors mentioned above, came to pick up his award. The festival screened all his films except for Leviathan, which they were unfortunately unable to show.
From the competition program, we had the chance to see Pawel Pawlikowski ‘s Ida, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, Diao Yinan’s Black Coal, Thin Ice, Yannis Economides’ Stratos, Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure (to which we gave the FIPRESCI Prize), and many more. It is evident that the quality of films here remains the highest. Situated in Istria with its magnificent climate, food, and marvelous wines, Motovun Film Festival really is the stuff of dreams. (Dean Kotiga, edited by Lesley Chow)
Motovun International Film Festival: www.motovunfilmfestival.com/