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Monday, 24 June 2013

"Fantastic Zagreb" Film Festival Taking Place June 28th - July 6th

Official Film Festival website:

I'm not going to add too much here, the information below I took right off the film festival's website. I was originally going to touch upon the Kino Croatia Film Festival taking place in Los Angeles, but I found this film festival related news more interesting and my type of thing, something about the ambiance and surroundings mixed with the films. (If that's considered Eurotrash, then count me in, I totally fall into that fashionable laid back Euro thing as opposed to the ghetto look and ambiance, which explains why I really don't go downtown here unless I absolutely have to, the iconic downtown bingo hall closing down says a lot, I don't know where all the downtown crackheads are going to go for washroom facilities now. Trust me, I lived downtown 4 years and know what I'm talking about). So anyway, basically this is only the 3rd edition of this "Fantastic Zagreb" film festival and actually takes place at 3 different venues in the city of Zagreb. it seems like a pretty cool event to check out. (If you've been reading some of my other film related posts then you'll know I'm a big fan of the newer and classic science-fiction/horror type flicks. If you are too, then you may want to check out my post about the upcoming first ever homegrown Croatian Sci-Fi television series).

You can pick and choose among many films and genres to go and see at this one, Drama, Science Fiction, Horror, Suspense, Action, Animated and Independent Experimental name it, quite a few of them are award winners from other international film festivals. There's also lots of other festival related happenings going on as well as you can see, workshops, lectures, musical acts, plays, parties and other boring stuff. Croatia has to right up near the top of the list for the amount of film festivals held in cities and towns, even Zagreb alone has quite a number of them throughout the year. (I touched upon just a few of the film festivals and put the post links at the very bottom. All this is going on even as the INmusic festival is just starting up on the other side of town, and Zagreb is hosting the more serious European Parliament sponsored LUX Film Days as well).

I'm willing to wager though....oh, I don't know...all my soccer jerseys, that a lot of people going to this film festival probably used to go to the old "Klub Purgeraj" without a doubt. Below are a bunch of pics from last year's edition to give you a sense of what it's all about. (In case you were wondering, the guy in the trench coat and bandaged face is sort of like the omnipresent and omniscient 'Invisible Man' mascot of the film festival, overseeing the festivities and pulling the strings, he also goes around telling people which venues it will be at, that there's buttered popcorn and that admission is free). This festival was already over the last time I was in Zagreb, but it's definitely worth checking out if in the area, it's free admission afterall. More info on the films being shown, related festival events and images at the film festival's website, or you can check out the related links below for more.........


'Fantastic Zagreb' Film Festival Will Have Genres For Every Movie Buff



Fantastic Zagreb Film Festival, the only fantasy film festival in the region, brings special cinematic treats from 28th June to 6th July to all film buffs and fantasy fans. In nine days of the Festival, fans of fantasy and related genres – science fiction, horror, thriller, mystery, experimental etc. will get to watch a number of intriguing and interesting films from both new and acknowledged authors.

The “zero edition” of Fantastic Zagreb Film Festival was held from 2nd to 9th July, 2011 as an announcement of the bigger first edition in 2012. Screenings took place at 2 outdoor locations: the plateau beside St Catherine Church (at Gradec), the plateau above Tuškanac garage and in Cinema Europa. Films were presented within 6 programs, and offered a wide range of film titles from Japan and Korea to France, United Kingdom, Spain and former Ex-Yugoslav countries.

The guy in the trench coat and bandaged face is sort of like the omnipresent and omniscient 'Invisible Man' mascot of the film festival, overseeing the festivities and pulling the strings, he also goes around telling people which venues it will be at, that there's buttered popcorn and that admission is free.

Last year we’ve managed to open the long forgotten Tuškanac summer stage which was closed for over 40 years In the middle of the woods and only walking distance from the town’s center with mystic atmosphere ideal for our films, Tuškanac summer stage was full every night. Also, we’ve continued the tradition of festival program in Europa cinema while our third location was Cineplexx Centar Kaptol.

The third edition of Fantastic Zagreb brings you plenty of recent film gems, but it is also being reminiscent of the unforgettable classics. Fantastic Zagreb 2013 will be held on three locations, one of them being the Tuškanac Summer Stage.

One of the interesting viewing venues during the film festival is the medieval Medvedgrad fortess town built in the 1240s (in Croatian meaning "bear-town/city of bears", because during the Middle Ages the local forests and mountains were known for their large bear population, hence the name), which also gives a cool panoramic view of the city of Zagreb below.

Beside our already known sections (Panorama, Orient Express and Midnight Madness) last year we’ve introduced two new categories: American Nightmares and Visions. American Nightmares is dedicated to the new wave of young American authors and vibrant American indie scene, as well as known veterans like Francis Ford Coppola and William Friedkin. In contrast, Visions is dedicated to more avant-garde, experimental, loony and bizarre films that are usually struggling to reach wide audiences but are usually festival favorites. This year we introduce even more categories: Nordic Nights, Special Screenings, Cult Classics and Short Programme.

In addition to the abundant film selection, Fantastic Zagreb Film Festival offers plenty of fun. Visit our Fantastic Lounge, a place for evening parties and daytime chill-out: the festival’s meeting point for film buffs, filmmakers, journalists, guests, audience, and all the fans of Fantastic Zagreb and fantasy films. Check out the special benefits in Fantastic Zone, where numerous discounts await the visitors.

Our desire was to give the city of Zagreb not only a great genre film festival, but also the first open-air film festival. With a number of screenings and events, the city should embrace the festival, and vice versa. Thus we have enriched Zagreb’s offer cultural and summer tourist offer, with an emphasis on the Upper Town and old Zagreb legends, such as the Witch of Grič, the Bloody Bridge etc.


As a festival of the fantastic, and as lovers of all things different and interesting, we are bringing you a wide range of the past year’s best films.

We bring you the finest selection of thrillers, mysteries, fantasies, horrors, science-fiction, weird dramas, offbeat comedies and Asian cinema. A diverse festival programme includes “Panorama”, “Orient Express,” “Midnight Madness”, “Nordic Nights”, “Special Screenings”, “Visions”, “American nightmares”, “Cult classics”, “Marathon”, and the newly included regional and international "Short Film Section."

As part of the “Panorama” section, we present you Chan-wook Park’s STOKER, an intriguing blend of thriller, suspense, family drama and horror. In his first Hollywood project, the famous South Korean director (“Oldboy”) honours Western film genres, its literary tradition and their distinctive characters. Park has envisioned the character of young India Stoker as a modern Electra or Hamlet’s female counterpart who is mourning the death of her father. Nicole Kidman plays the role of an unstable mother that comforts herself with “uncle” Charlie, an intriguing stranger who obviously has a hidden agenda, and who irresistibly reminds us of Norman Bates. “Panorama” also brings a kaleidoscopic thriller-drama directed by Nicolas Winding Refn ONLY GOD FORGIVES.

The film was nominated this year for Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival, and due to its artistic freedom caused many controversies among the critics. After their cooperation on the critically acclaimed “Drive,” Refn entrusted Ryan Gosling once again to play the main role. His character Julian is a boxing club owner in Bangkok, which is actually a front for his family’s drug business. His brother Billy, who is a sexual offender, has been murdered. Their ruthless mother Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas) returns to the city in order to convince Julian to avenge his death. ROOM 237 is a documentary that explores probably the greatest mystery among filmmakers, Stanley Kubrick. Director Rodney Ascher analyses the details that we have certainly overlooked while watching horror classic “The Shining”. By using stylized film approaches, he offers five semiotic interpretations of Kubrick’s signs, which the filmmaker may have introduced deliberately or unconsciously, while bringing almost unbelievable conclusions.

The section dedicated to Asian films “Orient Express” presents an unusual Indian thriller-drama PUNE 52 about the life of a detective during a significant economic upheaval that took place in India in the 1990s. DEAD SUSHI is a Japanese camp directed by Noboru Iguchi who is also the author of one short flick in horror omnibus ABC’S OF DEATH, which will be screened within “Midnight Madness”. The Asian section also brings the award-winning South Korean action thriller THE THIEVES, and coming from the same country, a fantastic comedy DOOMSDAY BOOK.

Within “Midnight Madness”, we are going to screen the aforementioned ABC’S OF DEATH, an anthology of 26 chapters about the wondrous and brutal death, directed by distinguished genre authors: Xavier Gens, Nacho Vigalondo, Jason Eisener etc. Also, the Irish horror CITADEL directed by Ciaran Foy and crazy French comedy by Quentin Dupieux, the creator of the cult “Rubber”, which we screened at the first edition of FZ. The main protagonist of his new film WRONG wakes up one morning and realizes that he has lost the love of his life, his dog Paul. While searching for him, he tries to bring his life back to normal, but instead significantly changes the lives of others and risks losing his own mind.

The exciting “Nordic Nights” will present the most interesting and internationally awarded film achievements by Nordic filmmakers: the Norwegian fantasy horror THALE about a supernatural creature from Scandinavian mythology. The section brings the much awaited sequel of the last year’s hit at Fantastic Zagreb – Swedish thriller EASY MONEY 2, the Finnish crime drama 8-BALL and the Icelandic sci-fi suspense FROST.

“Special Screenings” are going to introduce a spectacular Kazakh fairytale THE BOOK OF LEGENDS, intended primarily for our young audience, but also for all fans of the fantasy genre. It is the first Kazakh fantasy film ever, directed by a young and talented filmmaker Akhat Ibrayev. It tells a story of two lost boys who travel through an enchanted forest searching for their mother.

“Visions” offers films that could easily be defined as art-fantasy. BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO is a horror-thriller drama by Peter Strickland in which the life of his main protagonist becomes an imitation of horror films. BLANCANIEVES directed by Pablo Berger is an oneiric version of Snow White who lives in Seville in the 1920s surrounded by bullfighting dwarfs. It is a wonderful homage to German Expressionism, a silent film shot in black and white. VANISHING WAVES is a surreal love story and sci-fi thriller directed by Kristine Buozyte about a girl submitted to a strange neurological experiment while lying in a coma.

As the title itself suggests, section “American Nightmares” presents American independent horror films. But like the classics they are inspired by, the motion pictures that we screen are somewhere at the intersection of genres. One of them is the fascinating RESOLUTION by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead, an absolute hit at the Tribeca Film Festival. It tells the story of Peter who decides to visit his best friend, a meth addict that abides in a cottage in the middle of nowhere. Since he refuses to go to rehab, Peter decides to threaten him with a fake gun and handcuffs him to a pipe, determined to stay with him until he recovers. Strange people begin to appear in the neighbourhood, while the protagonists stumble upon bizarre records, books, magazines and a film that erases the thin line between reality and beyond.


THE BATTERY is a horror-drama about two former baseball players who after a period of sickness that has gripped New England wander into an area, which is swarming with the living dead. THE HUMAN RACE is a sci-fi horror film about Veronica who finds herself in a surreal and horrifying marathon race. The rules of the sport are simple: if somebody gets ahead of you, you will die. If you get pushed out from the track, you’ll die. Many will be at the start, but only one can reach the goal alive.

An example of the less well known films being shown from last year. (definitely seems like one you would get an extra large popcorn for. Why I have not heard of this film before doing this post is beyond me instead of all the local obssessive celeb-selfies updates and tweets hoopla entertainment news, someone should lose their job because of it). More clips from the 2012 Fantastic Zagreb movie list at

Within the “Cult Classics” section we are celebrating the fortieth anniversary of sci-fi thriller-mystery SOYLENT GREEN by Oscar winner Richard Fleischer. The year is 2022 and the Earth is overpopulated and completely polluted. Natural resources have been exhausted for quite awhile. However, company Soylent Industries supplies the population with food that is produced from ocean plankton. When an alleged intruder kills a member of their Board, the case will be assigned to a New York detective Thorn, played by Charlton Heston. He will soon discover classified government information and thus put his life in jeopardy. We are also honouring the fifteenth anniversary of the Coen brothers’ cult comedy THE BIG LEBOWSKY and the forty fifth of Roman Polanski’s masterpiece, ROSEMARY’S BABY!

Within the “Marathon” section, for the first time in Croatia, we shall screen the outrageous television series KINGDOM/RIGET by the radical and provocative Lars Von Trier.

This year we have included the “Short Film Section” that promotes international and regional short films. One of them is WRECKED, a film by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead, who will also present their feature debut RESOLUTION at this year’s FZFF. KHOON LTD by Rahul Desai is an Indian vampire movie, and ENVY THE DEAD directed by Isa Swain is the first Arab zombie film and a great festival hit among short films.

We shall soon announce the details of the best short films coming from the region…

Related previous posts: 3rd-annual-mediterranean-film-festival






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