Even though Motovun Film Festival happens at a small medieval hill city in Istria, the festival is highly popular in Zagreb, especially with university students. When it started 18 year ago it was a small festival but highly important for film in Croatia. Before Motovun came to the scene, the only A-list international film festival was in Pula, but it was a hostage of its own size and state inflated importance dating back to Tito’s era. It had the funding and all kinds of dignitaries and politicians siting in the first row, but that alienated young people craving for films that did not come from Hollywood.
This was a post-war, pre-broadband internet era when independent and art films from other countries were hard to find and watch on an individual level, and people felt like they were missing out. Then came Motovun, a complete opposite of Pula as it was then. It was an easy going festival with great films, attracting young people with parties and camping and a promise that the experience of watching films can be a lively one. It was an anti-establishment film festival, a spring break for film geeks, students, young intellectuals, punks, musicians and just about anybody that felt left out by the grandiose national cultural symbol that was Pula. In a sense it was not just a festival but films to the people kind of movement that later sprung all kinds of other film festivals in Croatia (the country with the largest number of film festivals per capita).
That is why, 18 years later, Motovun holds a special place in Zagreb’s cultural and student circles. The festival itself is now a part of the film establishment right next to Pula (that festival has also followed suit and is now a more opened and lively one), but it still tries to holds on to its fun evoking, easy going roots. One part of those roots are event cinema parties it holds in Zagreb before the festival itself the first one taking place on June 29th at Kaptol Centar cinema terrace, Nova Ves street 17.
A free screening of one of the most popular Spanish films Marshland (shown last year at the festival, winner of ten Goya awards) will be held at 9pm, followed by a party on the terrace and presentation of the film and musical program, with some snacks of course.
Motovun film festival will take place between July 26th -30th.