Saturday at STIFF – Contemporary Topics

The rich programme of this year’s STIFF sees two workshops on Saturday, 19 October (distribution and independent filmmaking), while the film programme brings, amongst other, two films from across the sea, films that will introduce us to film language and cultural topics that we rarely see in our everyday lives.

When I’m at Home

When I’m at Home (Ivana Todorović, Serbia, 2018)

Workshop on the possibilities and limitations of indy production through analysis of shots and production values, with special emphasis on bravery of choices made in the film Sweet Sunshine will take place at Mini Art-kino at 12PM. Our guests are Goran Nježić, one of two directors and screenwriters of the film, and Sara Salamon, cinematographer and editor of the film, both members of art-collective B.A.K.A Productions.

After the case-study of Sweet Sunshine, at 3PM, also at Mini Art-kino, a two-day workshop DISTRIBUTE THIS! with Morana Komljenović starts. The workshop will focus on distribution of films and creative projects. Morana Komljenović has for years been the head of Fade In production company in Zagreb, later head of acquisition and development of Taskovski Film in London, also film director and producer. Currently executive director of Rab Film Festival and consultant for development, production and distribution of audiovisual works.

At 6PM the main programme continues at Art-kino. The first programming slot of the day, Frictions, will show four films, three fiction and one documentary. In a Chinese drama New Year’s Eve (Hao Zheng, fiction, USA, 2018) young Xiaoyo returns home for the holidays where he has to face his mom and the rest of the family who are not pleased with his choice of kung fu school over attending real college. Magical German adventure Monster Tale (Pascal Schröder, fiction, Germany, 2018) will keep us in suspense when an eight-year-old Jonathan has to overcome his fear in order to save his father’s life in a dark forest. In Tremors (Dawid Bodzak, fiction, Poland, 2018) everything trembles with boyish charge of two friends who establish their own rhythm of life while dealing with everyday situations. Birthday lunch as a cherry on top: relationship between mom and young Croatian filmmaker Bernarda Cenkovčan, full of contradictory expectations, makes for a witty and honest short documentary Happy Birthday, Mom! (Bernarda Cenkovčan, documentary, Croatia, 2019).

Second Saturday programming slot, The Blast, starts at 7:30PM with six films that deal with questions of faith and religion, of fanaticism and blindness, of human search for meaning and of putting our hopes in the unfathomable. Bordering religious ecstasy and psychedelia, animated film Alef B’Tamuz (Yael Reisfeld, animated, Israel, 2018) shows a strange night that three poor pilgrims spend on an old Jewish cemetery while being haunted by ghosts from past centuries. In an SF thriller Jupiter (Benjamin Pfohl, fiction, Germany, 2019), a teenage girl has to decide whether to follow her own path or her parents, who are members of a cosmic cult and believe suffering a fatal procedure would transfer them to Jupiter for their higher existence. A warm documentary animation, The Steppes of Khazar (Sofiia Melnyk, animated, Germany, 2019) depicts the destiny of Khazars told by their conquerors. In order to cure her grieving mother, Ana pushes the limits of her faith hoping God will help in a touching drama San Miguel (Cris Gris, fiction, Mexico, 2018). Sunday service is a drag for the eight-year-old Ann in a nice and vivid animation Sunday Morning (Vinnie Ann Bose, animated, France, 2018). Clever and warm documentary The Sisters (Michał Hytroś, documentary, Poland, 2017) lets us in on everyday routine of twelve nuns in a closed convent in Poland.

Discussion programme on Saturday (10:15PM) will face topics of sexuality, violence and identity, inspired by the last programming slot of the day – Things We Don’t Talk About, starting at 9PM. The discussion will host authors Ivana Todorović and Chanelle Eidenbenz, with guests Marinella Matejčić, human rights activist, and Lorena Zec, psychologist. Five films will take us through growing up without the warmth, care and closeness, hiding secrets that can tear you and your family apart, or deal with unimaginable trauma.

Emotional family drama I’ve Got Something for You (Iwo Kondefer, fiction, Poland, 2018) brings a story about a mother, treated addict who reaches out to her neglected daughter for her birthday. In animated film Monster (Laura Pop, animated, Romania, 2019), a teenager living with a monster inside her head goes on a spiritual journey to find peace. In the film Elephant in the Room (Chanelle Eidenbenz, fiction, Switzerland, 2018), a son can’t establish a relationship with his mother who obsessively cares for Elias – a blow up doll. Based on internet forum posts where sex service users comment and rate prostitutes performances, animated documentary Worth Every Penny (Ilona Yudin, Paz Bernstein, Muli Asido, Erika Cumpton, Adam Magrala, Yael Solomonovich, Lara Buyom, Sarai Abergel, Guy Livnat, Noy Friman, animated, Israel, 2017) takes us on a deeply upsetting journey through the world of prostitution. When I’m at Home (Ivana Todorović, fiction, Serbia, 2019) shows Marija’s return to Belgrade where she has to face her traumatic past after years of being away.

After the last screening, join us at STIFF Party in Život club – free entrance for STIFF ticket holders.