The Festival of Tolerance is not just another film festival. Rather, it is a socially engaged platform that promotes intercultural dialogue, encourages civil society to become actively involved and participate in the development of the local community and follows social, political and economic developments. ”This year, we will put an emphasis in the importance of accepting and respecting diversity and fundamental principles of equality and fairness”, Nataša Popović, director of the Festival of Tolerance pointed out while presenting this year’s programme at Sheraton Hotel in Zagreb. On the occasion, she expressed special gratitude to two-time-Oscar winner Branko Lustig, who is a kind of trademark of the Festival of Tolerance.
This year’s attractive film programme has been selected according to a very simple criterion, i.e. the quality.
”Our objective was to find excellent films that tackle the topics close to us in various different ways, and which topics all fall under the category of human rights. To put is simply: we are bringing outstanding films on some of the key topics”, Hrvoje Pukšec, producer of the Festival of Tolerance, said.
A few films whose focus is set on the current struggle for women’s rights dominate the programme of the Festival. The film titled Eternal Winter is a true story about a woman who lives an unexpected romance in a Soviet work camp after the Soviet occupation of Hungary. Attila Szász was awarded the prize for the best director on the Montreal World Film Festival. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, awarded by the jury on the Sundance Festival, is a film about a girl who is caught having sex with another girl after which she is sent to a gay conversion therapy centre for teenagers. #Female Pleasure is an exceptional documentary tackling the problem of female sexuality by showing a struggle of five women for a balanced relationship between genders, which is, among other things, currently in the focus due to the case of raped nuns.
Slovenian film about a powerful woman – Erased – follows the case from the 1990s when citizens’ rights were denied to those without a Slovenian descent. Judita Franković, who is forced to fight for her child, plays the leading role. She was awarded the prize for the best actress on the Slovene Festival. ”I was shocked to learn about the case of the Erased. I did not know about them before and the shooting of the film was sometimes very emotional because some of the members of the film crew belonged to the Erased and had to live through that experience. This is why it is so important to talk about it today", Judita Franković explained.
This year’s Festival will also present another international film in which a Croatian actor plays the leading role. In the Danish film titled Cutterhead Krešimir Mikić plays a Croat who is together with two other people locked up in a claustrophobic airlock.
From the last Cannes International Film Festival, we are bringing The Dead and the Others, awarded the prize Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize and on the topic of the invidious position of the indigenous peoples in modern Brazil. Another attractive film from the Cannes Festival is Diamantino putting in the focus the story about a famous soccer player and clearly alluding to Cristiano Ronaldo. A true story about a former slave from Africa who became a black mascot of the Viennese aristocracy is presented in the film titled Angelo directed by Marcus Schleinzer who is also the guest of this year’s Festival.
In the framework of a very comprehensive ancillary programme focusing on documentary films we will screen Midnight Traveler, a story about the Afghan filmmaker who has to run from the Taliban together with his family while documenting everything using his smartphone. The documentary It Must Schwing! is a fascinating story about the beginnings of the jazz publishing house Blue Note established by young Jewish immigrants treating discriminated African Americans as their equal partners. The documentary programme named Reality Bites will present Earth, the latest film by the renowned Austrian director Nikolaus Geyrhalter.
This year’s novelty is the programme named Small Steps intended for children in the framework of which the Berlinale screened the attractive Norwegian film Psychobitch about a 15-year-old outsider. Another awarded film from this year’s edition of Berlinale that will be screened is the film titled Un Colonie.
The Festival of Tolerance will also present its new programme named Tolerance Master Class in the framework of which a number of Croatian filmmaker will talk about the creation of their films in front of the live audience and cameras. This year, our guests will be Nebojša Slijepčević with his film Srbenka and Bobo Jelčić with his film titled A Stranger. Bobo Jelčić pointed out that we are all responsible for advocating tolerance and that film can be a very good tool for doing that.
The public will be intrigued with two exhibitions produced by the Festival of Tolerance. On 1 April, the photo exhibition titled Oni/They will be showcased on Zagreb’s urban squares under the auspices of UNHCR Croatia and in collaboration with the Jesuit Refugee Service. The exhibition comprises pop up installations holding portraits of four refugees currently living in Croatia photographed by Ana Opalić, Mare Milin, Stanko Herceg and Ivan Posavec.
The exhibition of reproductions of the murals found in Poland titled They Fill No Space: Reviving the Memories of Polish Jews showcases the history of Polish Jews. It will be showcased from April 6th until April 17th in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb in collaboration with POLIN - Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
One of the main objectives of the Festival is to educate young people and the concept named Digital Cinema School emerges from interplay and innovative education methods such as VR film screening. Educational Mornings will introduce lectures given by the expert from the State Museum Majdanek who will talk about the holocaust atrocities, and by Holocaust survivor Vesna Domany Hardy, who will share her testimony with pupils and students.
On the occasion of the publication of the book titled Jasenovac, a round table will be organised in collaboration with Fraktura publishing house. The round table discussion will tackle the topic of our relation with the Ustasha concentration camp with the participation of Ivo Goldstein, Goran Hutinec, Nataša Mataušić and Lordan Zafranović.
All Festival events will be accompanied with an interesting music programme. Brilliant HI5 – Minimal Jazz Chamber Music and EtnoRom Band, the international gypsy world music sensation from Hungary will undoubtedly thrill all those who appreciate good music.
The entrance to all Festival programmes is free.
Photos: (Samir Cerić Kovačević / Izvan Fokusa)