‘Position Among the Stars’ and ‘Trials, Tribulations & Sustainable Growth of a Cock’ Win Big Stamps at This Year’s ZagrebDox


The 7th ZagrebDox was closed last evening with the official award ceremony at the Movieplex cinema. There is a number of ways to rate a festival, but the most important thing of all is how the audience will receive a film.

Hence, we were very pleasantly surprised to find out about the audience response – the average rate of our films is 4. This fills us with pride and I therefore thank you,’ said Nenad Puhovski, the festival director.

The decision about the Movies That Matter award, presented to the film that best promotes human rights, was brought by the jury consisting of Mario Mažić, coordinator of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Ida Prester, journalist and singer, and Drago Hedl, investigative journalist. The said jury awarded special mentions to the films ‘Vlast (Power)’ by Cathryn Collins and ‘Pit No 8 by Marianna Kaat, while the main award was presented to the film ‘Run for Life by Mladen Matičević. ‘One of the important subjects this film analyses is the question of identity: what is innate, what we choose, what we can choose. The film thus stimulates the audience, while in societies where political culture is mainly based on identity manipulation – such as those from our region – it is even slightly provocative. Still, the film is focused on choice in the search of happiness, focusing on pure reality. It depicts running away from poverty and omnipresent dangers in societies fraught with discrimination. This film does not tell tales or offer magical solutions, pointing hence to the fact that equal opportunities and equality in society are still ideals, and that our societies and communities as a whole still have a long journey in front of them,’ said Mario Mažić in their jury’s explanation. Filmmaker Mladen Matičević thanked them for this recognition.

The Small Stamp, awarded to the best film by a filmmaker under 30 years of age, went to the Polish film ‘Charcoal Burners by Piotr Zlotorowicz, while the special mention was awarded to the young filmmaker Darko Stanković and ‘The One Who’s Gone’, as decided by the youth jury, consisting of Đuro Gavran, Iva Mrkić and Igor Bezinović. ‘We present this award to ‘Charcoal Burners’, whose visual impressiveness drew us into an unusual everyday summer life. We were impressed by the directing minimalism in depicting a tranquil atmosphere,’ said Iva Mrkić on behalf of the youth jury. ‘This film is very special for me, because it was the first time I truly related to my protagonists, which was why I decided to show it to the audience outside my film school. Therefore, in many ways this is my debut film,’ said Piotr Zlotorowicz in a video message and thanked for the prize.

The regional jury consisting of director Milica Đenić, director Wolfram Huke and film and TV critic Dragan Jurak, decided to award the special mentions to the Croatian film ‘Am I Happy or What by Vanja Sviličić Juranić and the Bulgarian film ‘Hotel Paradise by Sophia Tzavella. The main award, the Big Stamp in regional competition, was presented to the Montenegrin film ‘Trials, Tribulations and Sustainable Growth of a Cock by Vladimir Perović. ‘A film about macho culture from the point of view of a cock, also a symbol of machismo. Simple, but very impressive and brutal in its concept, clear in expression, without dialogues and comments, without explanations about the feast, almost completely devoid of a religious or social context, but still with a strong cultural touch’, said Dragan Jurak in the jury’s explanation. ‘I am very pleased that this happened in Zagreb, a city I feel a special connection with. On the other hand, this is a very serious festival in the region; I am very honoured by this award. I have received many awards, but this one will surely take its place in the front row. Big thank you to the jury for insisting on image, not words, and thanks to the audience who saw my film,’ said Vladimir Perović while receiving the award.

Eduard Galić, the acclaimed Croatian filmmaker, chaired the international jury that also comprised Iranian director Hamid Rahmanian and Croatian director Hana Jušić. He presented the winners of the International Competition: the special mention went to the Swedish film Steam of Life by Joonas Berghall and Mika Hotakainen, and ‘17 Augustby Alexander Gutman, while the Big Stamp went to ‘Position Among the Stars, by Dutch filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich. ‘We decided to present the main award to this film because of its successful intertwining of the family relationship microlevel with a reflection on social issues, such as religious tolerance and poverty. We believe that it demonstrates exceptional directing skill in the tradition of direct film – this warm, but not at all banal story is built around the omnipresent, but unobtrusive camera that remains close to the protagonists in both happy and devastating moments’, said Hamid Rahmanian on behalf of the jury. ‘I am very pleased about this award because it points how different cultures want wand try to understand one another. Documentary films are the perfect means to make that possible. Once again thank you. Hopefully there will be opportunities to join you at ZagrebDox,’ said Leonard Retel Helmrich in a video message.

After the award ceremony, the film ‘Our Persian Rug’ by Massoud Bakhshi was screened. On Sunday, 6 March, we will screen the special Best of Fest programme, including the screening of all the award-winning films. The audience choice prize will be awarded at 8pm, theatre 1. The award is sponsored by Croatian Telecom.