FADE IN or gradual appearing of image on a totally dark screen


ZagrebDox's FADE-IN retrospective presents a selection of films made by a production company that has spent twelve years casting intense light on the Croatian society, with all of its colors and differences

In film terminology, the English expression ‘fade in’ means ‘gradual appearing of an image on a totally dark screen’. Opposite to ‘fade out’, which completes some space-time episode or marks the end of a film, ‘fade in’ marks the beginning of a new scene or sequence.

As an editing link or a punctuation mark, this expression is an inevitable component of a cinematographic and editors’ vocabulary. Its ‘move’ from ‘dark’ to ‘light’ that defines it also invokes a wider – symbolical – use. In other words, the nomen can become an omen, or, better still, a program. This is exactly what a group of young filmmakers and activists managed to do when they established a ‘nonprofit organization functioning as a production studio’ in 2000, choosing FADE IN as their nomen.

The context of the appearance of a new producer with a name that invokes ‘coming out from darkness’ is very important: in many ways it was a turning point for both Croatia and Croatian cinematography. After the 2000 elections, the country started coming out of hard-line nationalism and the course of late President Tuđman who had been using an aggressive rhetoric and general hegemonization to prevent the development of a pluralistic civil society.

At the same time, short films of independent spirit were finally re-embraced by the system of public financing. They included documentary films, too. Until that time, documentaries had been left at the mercy of the state television and its censors who had been trying for ten years to prevent documentaries from becoming a medium or tool of the democratic processes civil society organizations had been advocating.

Public space was yearning for such fade-in, for casting the light on the society and all of its colors and differences. As a result, the citizens’ activism was given a louder voice. It started reverberating from the ranks of the filmmakers who had gathered under the umbrella of the FADE IN production founded by Tatjana Božić, Hrvoje Mabić and Marko Zdravković (Kunac). In less than twelve years of its existence, FADE IN has produced around thirty auteur films (documentaries, animated fi lms, experimental films), a few documentary series (‘Direkt’, ‘Bottoms Up’, ‘The Third Sector’ etc), dozens of corporate and educational films and more than 800 reports.

Such a massive production was largely helped by the cooperation with civil society and (non-) governmental organizations, as well as an agreement with Croatian Radiotelevision for which FADE IN was making reports and documentary programs – the best-known among them being the ones from ‘Direkt’ series.

A whole set of now acclaimed, active and/or distinguished film directors of younger generation took part in that production, including those who, because of their activism or similar reasons, wanted to be that in a certain moment. When we add producers, cinematographers, reporters, investigative journalists, editors and other collaborators, the list of names becomes as long as the list of films made.

Let us just mention here, in alphabetical order, the names of the authors: Saša Ban, Diana Bolanča Paulić, Tatjana Božić, Biljana Čakić Veselič, Goran Dević, Tomislav Fiket, Martina Globočnik, Nikola Ivanda, Morana Komljenović, Iva Kraljević, Željka Kovačević, Daniel Kušan, Ljubo Lasić, Hrvoje Mabić, Zoran Minić, Robert Orhel, Magdalena Petrović, Sandra Ražnatović (Grubić), Velimir Rodić, Davor Konjikušić, Oliver Sertić, Miroslav Sikavica, Nebojša Slijepčević, Renata Srečić, Branko Vilus, Vlatka Vorkapić and others. Depending on the occasion, alternative authors from stage (Mario Kovač) or visual and multimedia scene (animators Marijan Crtalić, Davor Međurečan, Marko Meštrović...) would join the production.

The fresh approach and wide perspective introduced to the production by young authors could be felt immediately. As a result, FADE IN was twice pronounced the production house of the year (in 2003 and 2007).
Other awards and recognitions from Croatia and abroad also followed.

Diana Nenadić,
FADE IN Retrospective Selector

Accompanying the FADE IN Retrospective, "Fade In – a Discussion on Activist Dox" and presentation of the book about the TV documentary series 'Direkt' will take place on Tuesday, 28 February at 5pm, as one of the side events of the festival.