Pula Film Festival

Pula Film Festival
Opening film 18 July 2015
Closing film 25 July 2015
Location Pula, Croatia
Founded 1954
Awards Golden Arena
Film titles National and International programme
Language Croatian (with English subtitles)
Website http://www.pulafilmfestival.hr/

The Pula Film Festival (Croatian: Pulski filmski festival) is the oldest Croatian film festival which is held annually in a Roman amphitheater known as the Pula arena since 1954. The festival is usually held in the summer, in July or August.

Apart from film screenings open to the public, the annual Croatian film industry awards are also traditionally presented at the festival. The awards presented at the festival (called Golden Arenas) are the main national film awards in the country and they serve as the Croatian equivalent of the American Academy Awards, British BAFTA Awards, Spain's Goya Awards, France's César Award, etc.

The festival was originally started in 1954 and within a few years it became the centrepiece event of the Yugoslav film industry, with first national awards being presented in 1957. This lasted until 1991, when the festival was cancelled due to the breakup of Yugoslavia, only to resume in 1992 as the Croatian film awards festival. It has been held every year since (with the exception of the 1994 edition which was also cancelled).


When it was established, it was known as the Festival of Yugoslav Film, and it quickly became the most important national film festival in SFR Yugoslavia. Over the following decades the festival gained considerable recognition internationally, along with the Yugoslav film industry which continued to thrive since the 1960s. Many film production companies were soon founded across the former Yugoslavia and the industry released about 20 new feature films for nationwide distribution every year. These films competed for a number of awards at the festival, since the award categories and the festival concept were modeled after the Academy Awards. However, the festival often served as a launching pad for new films before being released in cinemas nationwide, so - unlike the Academy Awards - the festival usually marked the beginning of a new season for filmgoers, not its ending.

In 1991 the festival was cancelled because of the outbreak of the war and the related breakup of Yugoslavia. In 1992 the festival was restarted, but it was renamed Filmski festival u Puli (eng: Pula Film Festival). The 1992 edition was also the first one that was dedicated solely to Croatian films, since the unified Yugoslav film industry disappeared along with the former country.

In 1995 it was renamed again and called Festival hrvatskog filma (eng: Croatian Film Festival) to emphasize its now exclusively Croatian character. However, since the Croatian film industry proved to be insufficiently productive, with only a handful of new titles being released each year, the festival's popularity rapidly plummeted. In order to rectify this, the festival opened for foreign films for the first time in its history in 2001, and was renamed once again to Festival hrvatskog i europskog filma (eng: Croatian and European Film Festival). From then on, apart from screenings of Croatian films, the festival also regularly offers an international program, as well as various one-off theme programs and retrospectives.

Golden Arena awards

The national film industry awards called Golden Arena are always presented at the festival. All the locally produced feature films made in the preceding 12 months are screened at the festival and everyone involved in making them automatically qualify for the Golden Arena award in their respective category. Therefore there are no Academy Award-style shortlists of nominees announced prior to the actual awarding ceremony. However, some festival editions in the past also had runner-up awards for some categories, called Silver Arena. The awards are given by the jury made up of prominent film critics, directors, actors, etc.

See also

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