18th Motovun Film Festival
Croatia, July 25 - July 29 2015
The 18th edition of Motovun Film Festival (or, to be more accurate, the 17th one, as the festival was founded in 1999, but the organizers skipped the edition bearing the “unlucky” number 13) featured an international competition comprising 13 fiction features films from all over the world. The members of this year’s jury were Slovak director Mira Fornay, Croatian actress Tihana Lazovic and Czech-Canadian documentary filmmaker Petr Lom. They decided to award the Propeller of Motovun, the festival trophy, to the French-Belgian co-production The Wakhan Front (Ni le ciel ni la terre), the first feature written and directed by Clément Cogitore. The jury also awarded a special mention to the Icelandic actor Gunnar Jónsson for his role in Dagur Kári’s Virgin Mountain (Fúsi). The FIPRESCI Prize went to Carlos Vermut’s second feature film, the Spanish-French co-production Magical Girl. In the Motovun Shorts competition, whose winner is traditionally decided by the previous year’s winning filmmaker, the award was given to the Estonian-Croatian-Danish animation short Life with Herman H. Rott (Elu Herman H. Rottiga) by Chintis Lundgren.
In 2008, the Motovun Maverick honorary award was introduced for major film directors with unique voices. This edition’s Maverick was the filmmaker, painter and writer, of Polish origins, Jerzy Skolimowski, who introduced some of his short and feature films and discussed them with the festival’s audience. Previous recipients of the award were Ken Russell, Terry Jones, Ulrich Seidl, Terence Davies, Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Andrey Zvyagintsev. Another honorary award, 50 Years, rewards, ever since the first edition of the festival, film professionals from all fields who have worked for half a century in the former Yugoslavian and, since 1991, Croatian film industries. This edition’s 50 Years award was offered to the reputed director, screenwriter and producer Rajko Grlic, one of the founders of the Motovun Film Festival, who actually invented the award and presented it to other filmmakers several times. Another guest of honour of the festival this year was the Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman.
The 18th Motovun Film Festival also included several interesting special programs. The Brutal French, organized in cooperation with the Rendez-vous French Film Festival in Croatia, presented films by Leos Carax, Claire Denis, Bruno Dumont, Lucile Hadžihalilovic and François Ozon, as well as a photo exhibition by Kate Barry, featuring several generations of French actresses. 20 Years of Dogme 95 paid homage to the influential Danish film movement, presenting major Dogme films, such as Thomas Vinterberg’s The Celebration (Festen) and Lars von Trier’s The Idiots (Idioterne). The program God, Help Us! with its six documentary features produced between 2002 and 2015, was meant to denounce all forms of religious extremism. Motovun Cult included successful films from the previous editions, while Best of Fest, a section established in 2014, offered spectators in Motovun the chance to watch important films that had their local premieres in other Croatian festivals. Buzz@Teen, another program launched last year, addressed the young audience of the festival. Last but not least, the program TV 2.0 (The Time of Great Series) shined the spotlight on recent popular European TV series. Workshops and concerts were also highlights in a very attractive and diverse festival program. (Mihai Fulger, edited by Steven Yates)
Motovun Film Festival: www.motovunfilmfestival.com