One of the things that make us very proud is — our jury. STIFF has a very carefully “structured” jury that works in teams: one for feature films, one for documentaries and one for animated films. Each jury team consists of three members: a filmmaker who has won an award at STIFF festival in previous years, a professional filmmaker and a film student. The goal is for students to learn from professionals and for Croatian filmmakers to connect and collaborate with young international filmmakers to foster future collaboration and exchange of ideas.
The strong competition programme presents our jury with the challenging task of awarding only one award for Best Fiction, Best Documentary and Best Animated film. The jury may also decide to award a special mention to outstanding works from the programme, and the audience plays an important role by choosing the best film of their choice and awarding the Audience Award.
Meet those who choose the best of the best films this year:
FICTION FILM JURY
Nadia Cvitanović (actress) gained her first acting experience in the acting studio “Play drama”. She received her first professional engagement in the film Death in Sarajevo (Smrt u Sarajevu) directed by Danis Tanović. In 2015, she graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo and shortly after graduation, she played the role of Julia in the film The Eighth Commissioner (Osmi povjerenik). For this role, she was awarded Best Film Actress of the Year by the Golden Studio (Zlatni Studio) and received the “Tree of Love” (Stablo ljubavi) award from the Mostar Film Festival for Best Supporting Female Role. The film The Eighth Commissioner won numerous awards at regional festivals and was also a Croatian candidate for the 91st Oscar in the category of best foreign language film. This was followed by the lead role of Petra in the series On The Border (Na granici) produced by Nova TV . For this role she was awarded by the Story Hall of Fame as the new face of the year. She was also awarded the role of Žana in the third season of the award-winning series The Newspaper (Novine), produced by Drugi Plan, Hrt and Netflix.
Tomasz Śliwiński is a writer and director based in Warsaw. He graduated from the Warsaw Film School and Wajda School of Film Directing in Warsaw. His short film Our Curse has been awarded at many international film festivals and was nominated for an Oscar Academy Award in 2015 in the category of Documentary Shorts. His last short film Ondine got the Audience Choice Award at STIFF 2020.
Nina Damjanović is a second-year student of film directing and TV at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb. For many years she has volunteered at numerous Croatian film festivals and has participated in various theatre groups and film and acting workshops since childhood. She won the best actress award at SKAZ and prizes at the 62nd Festival of Croatian Theater Amateurs. Her short films, made during her school years, were shown at the Four Rivers Film Festival in Karlovac.
DOCUMENTARY FILM JURY
Jelena Androić graduated from the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb with a degree in Journalism and earned an Advanced Master of European Studies from the same faculty. She is a freelancer at PR in the field of culture, documentary production, production of films and other cultural events, development of plans in the field of cultural policy and promotion of community development. She is the director of the Croatian documentary film festival Liburnia Film Festival. She is the editor of GSG magazine for culture and contemporary art. She occasionally publishes for various magazines and portals in Croatia. She is an activist in the field of human and women’s rights protection.
Jasmina Beširević recently graduated from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb with a degree in film and TV directing (documentary focus). She was born in Zagreb and lived and studied in Germany and the USA, where she earned a degree in ecology and a master’s degree in education. Jasmina is the winner of last year’s Best Documentary Award from STIFF, for the film Now I Am Irena (Sad sam ja Irena).
Anja Matić was born in Split in 2001. She is a first-year MA student of Cultural Studies in Rijeka. She is editor-in-chief of the student radio station Radio Sova, web editor at Radio Rijeka and one of the founders of the student film platform “Nezreli film”.
ANIMATED FILM JURY
Martina Meštrović graduated in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb – she exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions. In 2004 she joined the artist collective Kreativni sindikat and since then she has been working on films as an animator and director. Her films have won several awards and screened at numerous international festivals (Sheffield Doc, Warsaw Film Festival, DOK Leipzig, POeFF Shorts, Animafest Zagreb…) Filmography: A Cat is Always Female (2019) in collaboration with Tanja Vujasinović, Peter’s Forest (2016) and Bla (2013).
Natko Stipaničev graduated in film and video art from the Academy of Arts in Split and graduated from the Department of Animation Film and New Media at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. He is engaged in artistic and commercial works in the fields of film, animation and sound design. His multi-award winning animated film Arka won the Special Mention Award at last year’s edition of the festival.
Laura Čulek is a third-year student of art education at the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka. She attended the Small Animation School in Zagreb and is currently preparing for graduate studies at the academy with optional animation classes. With her early works, she also participated in the Karlovac Four River Film Festival.