Slovenian Films at the 74th Edition of the Cannes Film Festival

July 2, 2021

After last year’s online edition, this year’s festival will once again take place live from 6 to 17 July. As we have already reported, two Slovenian minority co-productions have been selected for two different competition sections: Small Body, the Italian director Laura Samani’s debut film, will take part in the Critics' Week programme, while, Murina, Croatian director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović’s debut, has been included in the Directors’ Fortnight (Quinzaine des réalisateurs) selection. The first film is an Italian-Slovenian-French co-production, with Mitja Ličen as the Slovenian director of photography. The Slovenian co-producer of the film is Danijel Hočevar from the Vertigo production company, with Zala Opara as his assistant and Matija Kozamernik as the line producer. The second film is a Croatian-Brazilian-Slovenian co-production. The Slovenian co-producers are Jožko Rutar from Spok Films and Miha Černec from Staragara. In addition to their assistant Anja Vrdlovec and the post-production coordinator Nina Robnik, the assistant director Luka Rus also played an important role in the filming. The Slovenian part of the creative and technical team includes, among others, the sound designer Julij Zornik, the second unit director of photography Mitja Ličen, and the colourist Emil Svetlik, with Zoran Predin and Lovro Zafred also appearing in supporting roles.

This year's 74th Cannes film market will take place from 6 to 15 July. There, the Slovenian Film Centre will present two Slovenian features. The screenings are mainly intended for the festival selectors, who can ensure that the films have the best possible international festival premieres.

The screening of Tijana Zinajić’s debut film Bitch, a Derogatory Term for a Woman for the selectors will take place on Friday, 9 July at 12:00, in Hall G in the main festival palace. The script for the alternative comedy in street language was written by Iza Strehar.

Eva, a young painter, smokes, drinks, occasionally does drugs, parties, and has trouble finding the inspiration to paint. She finds herself in a strange relationship with her mentor, her best friend moves to Berlin, she does not get paid for her work in the bookshop, and on top of that, her period is three months late. She realises she needs to change her lifestyle and turns to a web browser for help. This is a film about a period in life when you just get stuck and do not know how to go on.

Starring: Liza Marijina (Eva), Tosja Flaker Berce (Blaž), Anuša Kodelja (Nina), and Jure Henigman (Jakob). The film also features: Lea Cok, Jožica Avbelj, Špela Rozin, Jernej Kogovšek, Nika Rozman, Miranda Trnjanin, Lovro Zafred, Sebastijan Horvat, Ana Urbanc, Nina Valič, Vesna Pernarčič Žunić, Davor Janjić, Matej Puc, and others. The director of photography is Miloš Srdić, editor Anže Verdel, set designer Neža Zinajić, costume designer Matic Hrovat, mask designer Lija Ivančič, and sound designer Julij Zornik. The film is produced by Lija Pogačnik and Vlado Bulajić from the production company December and co-produced by RTV Slovenija in cooperation with the Viba Film studio.

The second film – the full-length documentary Skiing in Scarves by Haidy Kancler – will be screened on Sunday 11 July at 11:30 in Hall H of the Festival Palace. The screenplay was written by Haidy Kancler, Iza Strehar and Boštjan Virc. The latter is also the producer of the film from the Studio Virc production company. In the Afghan city of Bamyan, Zakia (25), Fatima (21), and Fariba (16) dream of becoming professional skiers and competing in the Olympic Games. When their Slovenian ski coach Ana (30) tells them, they can go to Europe for intensive training as ski instructors, it seems they are one step closer to achieving their dream. The girls spend two years preparing intensively for the trip. When they finally arrive in Europe, they are immediately confronted with insurmountable cultural differences and the strict standards of European professional sport.

The film also features director of photography Heini Mäntylä, editors Matthias Gugler and Haidy Kancler, music by Victor Gangl, sound design by Julij Zornik and Samo Jurca, and graphic design by Nataša Vugrinec.

In addition to Boštjan Virc, the film is produced by Sabine Gruber and Peter Drossler from the Austrian company FlairFilm and Ari Matikainen from Kinocompany in Finland.

The executive producers are: Tilen Ravnikar, Peter Drössler, Nastja Kotnik Minik, Tuukka Vartiainen, Sini Hormio, and Nataša Vugrinec. The film also has a sales agent, Cat & Docs from France, a company that has already collaborated with them on the film Houston, We Have a Problem! (2016), directed by Žiga Virc.

The debut feature documentary Cent’anni by Maja Doroteja Prelog has been selected for “Circle Women Doc Accelerator - Cannes Docs Showcase”, a training programme for female documentary filmmakers that is also a part of the Film Market and focuses on Southern and Eastern Europe. Only four documentaries have been selected for the programme. Cent’anni is a road movie about an extraordinary cycling venture and also a painfully intimate confession of two young people experiencing a peculiar transformation in the aftermath of a disease. The screenplay was written by Maja Doroteja Prelog and Blaž Murn, who also appear in the film alongside Franco Roppo Valente. The director and Lev Predan Kowarski are the directors of photography, Olga Michalik and Maja Doroteja Prelog are the editors, and Julij Zornik is the sound designer. The film is produced by Rok Biček of Cvinger Film and co-produced by Alessandro Leone (Aggressive Gang, Poland) and Massimo Casula (Zena Film, Italy). It was also made with the financial support of the Polish Film Institute.

The programme’s director Biljana Tutorov and project manager Antigoni Papantoni said of the four selected films that “they explore the state of femininity today”.

Kein Wort, a film project in development by Hanna Slak, has been selected for the programme L’Atelier 2021. The star orchestra conductor Nina (43) works on Mahler’s 5th Symphony. Rehearsals are interrupted: her son Lars (14) had an accident. They take refuge on a deserted island for five days, where a drama of mistrust unfolds between them in a winter storm. Nina needs to reconnect with Lars, nature, and music. This film project explores the interdependence of professional and family life. It also discusses the tectonic shifts that growing up brings to the relationship between children and parents, the nature of trust, and the consequences of its loss.

L’Atelier is now in its 17th year and is dedicated to up-and-coming directors and their projects. This year, 15 of them have been selected. The directors and producers will have the opportunity to meet potential partners who can help them complete their projects and start the production. The programme also gives its participants access to international funding, which undoubtedly contributes to speeding up the production.

The Slovenian producer on the move is Andraž Jerič, and the meeting has already been held remotely from 17 to 21 May. The selected producers from last year and this year will meet live in Cannes.

All the films were made with the financial support of the Slovenian Film Centre, which will yet again present the opportunities and advantages ensured by the cash rebate measure as well as invite the global film community to shoot films in Slovenia.

Slovenian Film Guide 2021 is available here.

Source: Slovenian Film Centre