Are you cold?

Varaždin cinema Gallery was really packed, so people were standing, if they could not find seats, even on extra plastic chairs that were added, or if standing places were unavailable, they climbed to the balcony, reserved normally for neunundneunzig luftballons which were scattered like coloured marbles over the joyful crowd after the opening ceremony of the 52nd Croatian Children’s Film Festival and before showing the first films.

It was cheerful, rough, lively, as the film socializing of young authors can be, and the whole opening program was held in a fierce cheering and approval of all that was seen. And with the occasional explosions of balloons that the delicate children’s hands (who knows, maybe also some of the adults) squeezed a bit too hard, accidentally or intentionally, who would know. And, it does not matter anyway.

At least some hearts trembled listening to the gentle sounds of the teachers’ choir from Martijanec who sang I am quietly fond of you…

Photo by Adrian Žgaljić

149 films applied for the Festival, 92 of those were selected for the competition. 48 of them, or more than half, were animated. Sixteen were feature films, fifteen documentaries, eight TV reports, and five films were in the open category.

Members of the jury are Simon Bogojević Narath, academic painter, who has in the past twenty years worked as a director, set designer, animator and graphic designer on many projects, and has been also the author of many often award-winning animated and experimental films, Čejen Černić, film director who began to engage in amateur film creativity as a high school student in Osijek and garnered many awards, and after graduating from the Academy assisted on a dozen feature films, and recently started to work in animation and preparation of a her first feature film, Maja Flego, teacher and journalist, consultant in the Office of the Ombudsman for Children, and the longest-running member of the jury in her fifteenth evaluation of children's works at the Festival, director of photography Boris Poljak, who has worked in film for nearly four decades, from the amateur days in  Film Club Split, over the many awards he has won and many film courses he has led and still leads them today and graduate film editor Slaven Zečević, who along with the editing of a range of professional films also works as a film publicist and a critic.

In front of them is an always complex and demanding task of assessing children's works, and all the young authors are convinced that their film is the best and every one of them will follow all screenings with great expectations and hope until the very end of the Festival waiting for the joyful moment of the awards ceremony. And fearfully. Awards are not the most important, but are gladly accepted. And meaningful!

The Varaždin part of Media-education seminar is rounded off by lectures of Ana Đorđić, Ivana Rupić and Mira Bronzić and by participants’ agreement on the content and form of future manual on media culture in teaching in primary and secondary schools in Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Serbia, which will occur before the end of the Čakovec part of the seminar, i.e. until Sunday.

On the way to the Gallery and on the way back, I am stopped by some young people who wonder if I am cold. Streets of Varaždin are now chilly and windy, and these youngsters, unlike me, are well wrapped in multiple layers of clothing, as they should be these days. Cold? No way! I am quietly fond of you…

Duško Popović