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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Croatia

Split Festival of Mediterranean Film kicks off live

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- The 13th edition of the audience-orientated event will go live today with a physical edition, having put distancing and safety measures in place

Split Festival of Mediterranean Film kicks off live
The Bačvice open-air cinema

After a special edition of the Festival of Tolerance that took place at a Zagreb park at the end of June, the Split Festival of Mediterranean Film (FMFS) is the first film festival in Croatia to go live since the COVID-19 outbreak, and it will do so at its Bačvice open-air cinema. Traditionally taking place in June, it has now been moved to 2-11 July.

The festival's biggest asset and main target has always been the audience, and in the last few years, it has been filling the Bačvice cinema almost every night with up to 1,000 viewers. Now with distancing measures in place, meaning that there is 1.5 metres between the seats, they can host some 300 viewers. Additional measures, such as disinfectant dispensers in the cinema, at the bar and in the toilets, and markings on the floor to signal distancing, will also be employed. Viewers are urged to buy tickets online, and almost all of them are already sold out. The doors will open one hour before the screening to avoid crowds.

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In addition, the international short-film programme and Croatian mid-length films will have afternoon screenings in the downtown MKC Multimedia Centre, where the team is expecting to host some 80 viewers per screening.

This year, the festival is focusing especially on Croatian short films, which it traditionally shows before the main feature at Bačvice, and has established new financial awards which are now the highest in Croatia for the short format: €1,720 (HRK 13,000) for Best Short, and €660 (HRK 5,000) each for the winners of the Audience Award and Best Script.

The festival will open with the Croatian premiere of Jure Pavlović's Tallinn title Mater [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jure Pavlović
film profile
]
, and the main competition includes Mehdi M Barsaoui's A Son [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mehdi M Barsaoui and Sami B…
film profile
]
(Tunisia/France), Carlo Sironi's Sole [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carlo Sironi
film profile
]
(Italy/Poland), Massoud Bakhshi's Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Massoud Bakhshi
film profile
]
(France/Germany), João Nuno Pinto's Mosquito [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Portugal), Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzo's Bad Tales [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Fabio and Damiano D’Innocenzo
film profile
]
(Italy/Switzerland), Fernanda Valadez's Identifying Features [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
(Mexico/Spain) and Jayro Bustamante's La Llorona [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jayro Bustamante
film profile
]
(Guatemala/France), while Ariel Winograd's The Heist of the Century (Argentina) will close the festival.

FMFS has also set up its own, independent theatrical distribution and exhibition operation under the moniker Cinema Mediterranean (read our 2016 news story), and was among the first to reopen its cinemas on 28 May, in Split and in four smaller cities in the Dalmatian region, while multiplexes in Croatia are still closed. After the festival, it will open another four cinemas and go on a tour around the islands with a new mobile DCP projector granted by the Ministry of Culture.

"Cinema Mediterranean is a project that takes place in 30 cities and towns, and last year, we had 858 screenings with 60,070 admissions," says FMFS director Alen Munitić. "Of course, the numbers will go down this year, but we are proud to have been among the first to reopen cinemas and that the audiences are slowly coming back. Of course, a lack of new titles is a problem, and open-air cinemas are doing much better than the regular ones. In the last month, we have seen that audiences are observing all of the safety measures, and we are sure that it will be the same with the festival."

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