“Avvantura Festival Filmforumzadar” was founded in 2010 by Sergej Stanojkovski with the long term objective to create a platform for European Co-Productions and professional filmmakers, to develop the Zadar region as a filmdestination and create a wider platform as a hub for the audiovisual creative industry in the Dalmatian region. From the beginning The Subslogan 2010 was : “YEAR ZERO – European Co Production meets filmset Zadar”.

The aim and objective was and is to focus the festival on European films and European Coproductions, from short- and studentfilms, through arthouse and experimental films to great mainstream productions. Our aim is to create a spot exchange of useful information, conversation and cooperation. From the first moment we invite professionals to our festivals.

In the first edition Jurymembers were Dr Peter Zawrel (Head of Vienna Filmfund), Victor Carrera Brusotto (Documentarist), Tomi Salkovski (DOP and Producer), Rada Šešić (Filmmaker, Selector of Sarajevo FF, IDFA, Rotterdam and Cinemart), Sascha Lobo (famous german Blogger). We selected a majority of european films but always considered to present projects that have been co-produced, like “Son of Babylon” that won the Award for Best European Coproduction, an Iraqi-UK French-Dutch-UAE-Egyptian-Palestinian Co-Production and invited the director Mohamed Al Daradji. We presented the Austrian-French-German Co-Production “Lourdes” and invited DOP Martin Gschlacht who won an Award. Tom Ford ́s Film “A Single Man” was presented at our festival by Spanish DOP Eduard Grau, a young Cinematographer who grows from film to film. In 2012 we presented his film “Finisterrae” that was introduced by producer Luis Minarro of “Eddie Saeta”, one of the Co-Producers of “Uncle Bonmee”.Director Danilo Šerbeđija presented his debut-film “72 Days”, a Croatian-Serbian Co-Production.

A year later at the 2nd festival edition he would plat at “Avvantura Festival Filmforumzadar” on stage with his father, the famous european Actor Rade Šerbeđija, macedonian Singer Tanja Tzarevska and director Bigas Luna. We have screened Apichatpong Weerasethakul ́s Thai-UK-French-German-Spanish-Dutch Co-Production “Uncle Bonmee”. Dutch Filmmaker John Appel came to present his film “The Player”. Peter de Maegd presented his Documentary-Crossmedia project “Where is Gary?” and held a Workshop on the subject of Crossmedia. Turkish filmmaker Orhan Tekeoglu came to present his documentary film “Ifakat”. Hermann Vaske introduced in the first edition his film “Digital Bomb” and held a Workshop on the question : “Why are you creative?”. We invited to “Avvantura Festival Filmforumzadar” Prof Werner Nekes to introduce his work through the 6 “Media Magica Films” and one of the greatest Collection of Prehistoric Cinema in thw World.

This is a part of our contribution to Education of young Generation and the “Classics at the Adria”. We organized a focus on dutch cinema called “Highlights of the Lowlands”.

At the very first moment we have also created the “Special Tomislav Pinter Award”, named after one of the most productive croatian and european filmmakers, Tomislav Pinter. This Award is given every year to a personality who supports and contributes to Independent Film and the international Cineman. In 2010 the Award was given to one of europes leading Arthouse personalities, producer/distributor/sales agent/cinema owner Karl Baumgartner.

In 2011 actor Matt Dillon came to receive the Award in Zadar. In 2012 we have given the Award to spanish producer Luis Minarro for his devoted contribution to independent and arthouse Cinema. In the 2nd Festivaledition 2012 we had respected Jurymembers like actress Anamaria Marinca, festivaldirector Pnina Blayer, producer Jim Stark, director Dejan Sorak, actress Orsolya Török-Illyes, director Vanja Svilicic, director Szabolcs Hajdu, singer/song-writer/composer Tanja Tzarovska and others.

We showed European Co-Production like the Indian-French “Chatrak”. Branko Ivanda came to present his film “Lea i Darija”. George Pistereanu and Ada Condeescu were invited to introduce Romanian-Swedish-Serbian Co-Production “Loverboy”. American-French filmmaker Pip Chodorov, one of the leading names in the contemporary Experimental Cinema, came to present his film “Free Radicals”. Serbian filmmaker Srdjan Knezevic introduced his documentary “Washing Films”, while Christophe Boula came to introduce his “Child of Yak” that won the Best Shortfilm Award. Actress Dinka Bonelle Dzibur presented her film “Little Hands”.

We introduced the section “Classics at the Adria”, a section devoted to the World Classics of cinema. Fortunately we started it in cooperation with Cineteca Bologna, who preserves and restores the cinematic heritage, and Martin Scorseses World Cinema Foundation and screened Shadi Abdel Salam ́s masterpiece “Al Mommia” and “The eloquent peasant”. We screened Julien Duviviers films and Jean Vigo ́s work. In our retrospective programme we were proud to present the work of Bigas Luna who came personally to introduce his films. Further we had a retrospective to Amos Gitai and Tom Pinter.

With our “Scream” program we started a conference for Genremovies and were the first to introduce a “Transmedia” slot in the festival in the region. Both, the “Scream” conference and the “Transmedia Day” brought together excellent professionals from whole europe to network, discuss projects and new possibilities.

In our 3rd year our programm grew, we had more partners and as it was our strategy from the beginning, we had important institutional partners.

We have been partner of the Producers Netwrk (Marche du Film, Festival de Cannes), we partnered with major cultural institutes and in 2012 we have been an official partner of Eurimages, presenting Eurimages supported films.

Also we partnered with “EyeOnFilms”, a MEDIA-Mundus supported Network of 40 Filmfestivals and 30 distributors, and we continue in 2013 to work with “EyeOnFilms” and WIDE Management. We had not only more films, we had more guests, more screenings, Seminars and Roundtables.

Our Jurymembers were respected Karel Och (Festivaldirector Karlovy Vary FF), Nataša Petrovič (Shooting Star), Luis Minarro (Producer of Palm Dor winner “Uncle Bonnmee”), Ognjen SViličić (Director or “Armin”), Stefan Kitanov (Festivaldirector Sofia FF), spanish actress Ruth Gabriel, Danilo Šerbeđija, Antonio Saura (Boardmember EFA), Doris Pinčić (Young TV Star), Mare Milin (No.1 Fashionphotographer in Croatia), a.o.

We organized a presentation of the Eurimages Co-Production finance system, Veit Helmer came to present his film “Baikonur” that won the audience Award and he held a Productionworkshop with a shortfilm as a result, that will be Opening Film in 2013. Miguel Gomes Portuguese-German-Brasil-French European Co-Production won an Award, irish filmmaker Gerard Hurley came to present his film “The Pier”. Maya Kenig was invited to introduce her “Off White Lies” and Vlatka Vorkapic came with actress Judita Franković to present their film “Sonja and the Bull”. Both participated at several Seminars, Matchmakings and Workshops during the festival. Tomas Lunak sent his greetings via Video to Zadar. Guillaume Giovanetti came to present his film “Noor” and together with Michelle Pallant of “EyeOnFilms” they introduced in a Workshop the businessmodel of EoF. Also as part of EoF came Estelle Larrivaz to Zadar and showed her film “Beast Paradise”. Rafael Lewandovski won for his film “The Mole” a Cash-Award that is donated by a local company. German youngstars Richard Wilhelmer and Robert Stadlober were present to introduce the film “Adams End”.

As a special programm we introduced “European Producer” and showcased in 2012 “La Lapidation de Sainte Etienne”, “Finisterrae” and “101: Manoel de Oliveira as Seen by Luis Minarro”, Luis spent a week at Matchmakings, Roundtables, Seminars and Workshops at the festival. Juszt Balasz from Hungary came to present his short “Split Perfect”, Erik Lončar introduced his “Mementorium”.

We presented a new section “Studentfilms” and the Filmschool Sam Spiegel from Jerusalem, IFS Cologne and La Femis. Thorsten Kleinschmidt came to show us his film “Stille Welt”. Katarina Stankovič was invited to present “Zima”. We started also to work with NisiMasa a European network gathering hundreds of young film enthusiasts in 26 countries. In the neighbour city Biograd na Moru we started the section “Feelgood” a section out of competition. Igor and Ivan Buharov came to Zadar to show their new film “Rudderless” and the film that they shot about the festival in 2011.

Our special retrospective celebretaed 100 Years of Michelangelo Antonioni with 19 films. Another tribute was dedicated to europes great filmmaker Jacques Tati.

In 3 years we have developed a good base, a vibrant european and international network and good cooperation with institutions, filmmakers and the industry and have been recognized as a festivaldestination where European professionals can develop access to markets and our next steps are to organize with our partners special professional gatherings within the festival.

Others about Avvantura Festival Filmforumzadar :

“Rub your eyes, if you don’t know Zadar. When your eyes are getting tired, seeing the old beautiful town full with young curious people, tired from the blue, clear sea, then you are fresh enough to focus your brain to the exciting new world tied together by extraordinary international films.” (Prof. Werner Nekes ,Director, Producer, Collector)

“Firstly, I was very impressed by the programme of the movies which where shown in the different sections of the festival and the significant participation of the public in the screenings. It was like if the festival would have been already running since years and not for the first time.” (Karl Baumgartner ,Producer, DIstributor, Sales Agent)

“In fact, I strongly believe not only in an excellent future of the festival, but also that the region of Zadar could become an interesting location for productions, as it combines the wonderful islands and coast with a unique hinterland of national parks.” (Karl Baumgartner , Producer, DIstributor, Sales Agent)

“Thirdly, Zadar is a wonderful town with unique buildings, streets and squares, which should be definitely promoted to the cinema world.” (Karl Baumgartner , Producer, DIstributor, Sales Agent)

“I was very pleased with the experience of this first edition that gathered a rich programme of carefully selected European co-productions that the local audience was able to discover exclusively, as well as a variety of industry and creative events with key industry professionals.” (Tina Trapp , CEO EAVE European Audio Visual Enterpreneurs)

“Filmforumzadar 2010 has been an extraordinary experience and a nice surprise. The will of a region and a city to be on Europeâ’s cultural map. The organisation of the Festival was outstanding, giving the best possible outcome with limited ressources. It was perceived as a sustainable formula. The level of films and participants was impressive, above what one could have expected. Congratulations. The participation of citizens, the involvement of the city was great, mostly for a first edition. The meetings with the authorities were well oriented and efficient. To sum up, a promissing first edition of a high standart film festival, full of possibilities, with a bright future. On top of that, a festival taking place in the best venue one can imagine. On top of that, providing a meeting center like Arsenal. Having a completely devoted crew ready to cover every need. In my personal opinion, everyone who attended Filmforum Zadar is fully supporting its continuity.” Victor Carrera Brusotto (Head of International Relations – TV3 Catalunya)

“I hope that this event will be a starting point for a new graduate programm in visual and performing arts, useing Avvantura and a number of international partner univeristies as support. This event is importrant for our students and the partnership with Avvantura is very successful, I am sure it will develop.” (Dr Srecko Jelusic, University of Zadar – Vice-Chancellor for Institutional and International Relations, Library and Publishing)

“Zadar is a real hotspot in the Adriatic Sea with many chances that have been taken and far more that should be taken. TodayĘźs most distinctive element in the competition of European Regions are the Cultural and Creative Industries. The creation of the moving images we are calling film is in the middle of this. Film is creating working places, images which are going round the world, audiences and tourism. Most European Regions are investing in Film Commissions, Services, Festivals and the development of regional clusters in the audiovisual field. Festivals often have been the starting point for a sustainable development, but also the Roman Forum of Zadar wasnĘźt build in one day! I wish the Film Forum Zadar and the great people who made possible this wonderful start a bright future!” (Dr. Peter Zawrel , Head of Film Funds Vienna)

“I was much impressed not only by the beauty of the Zadar and its surroundings, but also the hospitality of the festival, the great atmosphere and the many interesting international guests. One would not expect this level of organisation and guests for a first-time film festival. Thanks to the location, the enthusiast team and good international connections, the Film Forum Zadar could grow out to become one of the must-visit festivals for people who are passionate about film and the professionals in specific. The focus on European coproductions is also a strong angle to further develop the identity of the festival.” (Peter De Maegd ,Producer, Filmmaker, Transmedia Spacialist)

“I was this year in Zadar and what I found there was a loving Festival, with all the charisma of a Croatian wonderful event with a unique selection of films and an amazing organization that took all the great filmmakers in a journey of talks, film meetings and get-togethers that was just as joyful as it can be. For all the above mentioned reasons I strongly encourage Film Forum Zadar to continue growing.” (Edu Grau , Cinematographer of “A Single Man” and “Buried”)

“It was a great pleasure for me to be present on the 1st year of Filmforum Zadar 2010. In a very wellcome athmosphere I was able to see various films in different styles, experimental and more traditional ones, in cinema halls and in the open air. As a guest I was invited to some very charming venues as well, meeting other filmmakers, actors and producers in a heartwarming and scenic environment. As you may get lost in a big festival, Filmforum Zadar is one of my very good memories to a festival in its 1st year.” (John Appel , Filmmaker)

“Hi guys, Congratulations of the first ever film forum Zadar – well done. Danny came back saying it was amazing.” (Isabelle Stead , Producer of Oscar Nominee and Festivalhit “Son of Babylon”)

“This festival can be the future of Zadar. The festival has the potential to grow and be the leading festival of the region.” (Branko Lustig, Producer of “Schindler´s List”, “Gladiator”,”Black Hawk Down”)

“The Film Forum Zadar has all preconditions to become a top hot spot. Program and concept are thought out, the place shines with the thousand-year-old charm of Adriatic culture, the people are interested, friendly and almost annoyingly attractive. To call to the sea – Blue, would be a brazen understatement, it is a second heaven, which is always wet in complete contrast to the first. But the most important are the people stuck behind the Film Forum and Zadar – you need only say one thing: they love movies. Very.” (Sascha Lobo, Author, Blogger, Microblogger, Strategyconsultant, Writer, Journalist, Copywriter)

“My vision is to develop the Zadar region as film destination for productions and creative encounters in any sense.” Sergej Stanojkovski (Filmdirector and founder of Filmforumzadar)

“A wonderful festival run by really nice people who care about the art and heart of film, great films, represented by inspiring, talented filmmakers. Set in a beautiful city at the edge of a wonderful country surrounded by soulful, charming people and the Adriatic sea….I really loved it.” (Gerard Hurley, Director)

“Avvantura Film Festival is a festival with a finest selection of current films, great retrospectives, inspiring workshops and seminars, excellent seafood and wine. All is happening at the seaside, what more a filmmaker can ask for.” (Vanja Juranic Svilicic ,Director)

“Daytime: Chilling on the beach and talking with great people, all devoted to artistic filmmaking. Evening: Watching films together under the stars at ancient open air venues.” (Veit Helmer, Director-Producer)

“Sergei and his team have it easy: the moment you arrive to Zadar, this magical place sweeps you off your feet and unless you have a heart made of stone, it’s love at first sight. From then on, it’s warm hospitality, versatile programming of films you wouldn’t see otherwise and just a truly family-like atmosphere. It’s a more relaxed Sundance with a setting that beats Cannes, minus all its pretentiousness. To have your film screen in that wonderful setting that is Zadar’s town square in front of a very open-minded audience is nothing short of cathartic. I’d go back in a heartbeat, even without a film in competition.” (Balazs Juszt, Director)

“It was a great pleasure to attend the Zadar film festival. In addition to a very welcoming environment, the festival is well organized, the roundtables are interesting, and the festival team is very dedicated. It was the prefect way to meet other film professionals without the usual stress of film markets and get to know each other better. I recommand it to everyone” Michelle Palant (EyeOnFilms)

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