Young Croatian filmmakers last week in Greece

Camera Zizanio - European meeting of youth audiovisual production was launched in 2001 as an initiative of non-profit organization Youth Plan in the framework of the international films festival of for children and youth - Olympia. Camera Zizanio is a meeting place for hundreds of children and mentors from Greece and all Europe who come together to present their works created within the school or independently, and to exchange ideas, cooperate and agree on some common activities. Camera Zizanio has screenings of children and youth film up to age of 20. Films from European and Mediterranean countries participate in the competition program while films from other parts of the world are screened in the International Panorama. There is also a Greek competition. Film workshops are the most dynamic events on Camera Zizanio and Olympia Film Festival, which offer children and youth a unique opportunity to create and where they can meet artists and mentors from Greece and abroad. The economic crisis that prevails in Greece and for which funding to support the festival were cut down did not discourage the organizers of the festival, and so this year they organized the 14th edition of Camera Zizanio, together with the 17th Olympia International Film Festival for children and youth in the hospitable city of Pyrgos in the western Peloponnese, very near where old Olympia once was.

Croatian Film Association was in Greece represented by Jurica Balenta and Jan Šimunić, students of the 7th grade of Strahoninec Elementary School and members of the film groups which bears the same name, and Lara and Stjepan Čakarić and Laura Pribanić from the Cinema Club Karlovac, due t long-term cooperation between Karlovac and Camera Zizanio. All five were led by Ana Sever of Vanima creative film studios from Varaždin.

At the last, 52nd Croatian  Children's Film Festival students from Elementary School Strahoninec film group won two second prizes given by the expert jury - one in the category of feature films, and the other in the category of TV reports. Several months ago, Croatian Film Association introduced a praiseworthy novelty in the organization of both festivals – children's (elementary school), and youth (high school): the winners on both festivals go to festivals for children and youth across the world. It is their a reward for successful work. They participate as members of children and youth jury, or they take part a variety of workshop programs. This way children and youth from elementary schools Rudeš, Marija Jurić Zagorka and Većeslav Holjevac from Zagreb, associations Blank from Zagreb, Photo Video Club Zapršić from Zaprešić, Cinema Club Karlovac, from Karlovac and Vanima creative film studio from Varaždin have visited festivals and workshops in the United States, Italy, Macedonia and Turkey, and now filmmakers from Strahoninec will have the Greek experience. Croatian Film Association concluded that this type of awards are much more valuable and useful than cash prizes or awards in the form of technical equipment, which is now much more accessible than ever. Thus, Jurica and Jan, together with Lara, Stephen and Laura are in Pyrgos, where they could watch best children's film productions from the competition program and they could participate in workshops, which brought together children and young people (around 50 of them) from all over Europe, and the final product were films, which can also participate in other film festivals for children and youth. Is there anything more rewarding than creation of an international environment and communication with their European peers? Because kinematics (and media literacy, in general) which moves toward teamwork is an ideal environment for overcoming all cultural barriers on the one hand and the implementation of direct and indirect already acquired knowledge and experience on the other. By involving participants from the two festivals, events of this type provide added value and therefore and therefore Croatia has to go forward and to further position itself on the world map and creativity of children and youth.

International film festivals like Camera Zizanio in Pyrgos is an ideal place for presentation of the festivals organized by the Association: Youth Film Festival and Four River Film Festival, which have already been recognized on the international youth film scene and Croatian Children’s Film Festival - national festival but this year it has also started to open in an international context, not in the competitive program, but it has already started inviting children from different parts of the world to be participants in the children’s jury. Also, as mentor Ana Sever comes from Varaždin, VAFI - international festivals of animated films for children and youth was also presented. Organizers in Greece dedicated a part of their program for presentation of all three festivals. Building the international image is certainly easier when you connect to festivals / workshops across Europe which are focused on the same / similar target group. Permanent partners of the FRFF today are no less than 17 film festivals which screen youth films. These are also festivals that we regularly exchange programs with: Kids Eye Film Festival in Budapest (Hungary), Timeline Film Festival in Carate Brianza (Italy), Scala Youth Film Festival at Scala (UK), Fresh Film Festival in Limerick (Ireland), Universal Kids Film Festival in Istanbul (Turkey), MICE in Valencia (Spain), Teen International Short Film Festival in Istanbul (Turkey), Nordic Youth Film Festival in Tromso (Norway), International Youth Media Summit, Seoul International Youth Film Festival in Seoul (South Korea), Festival of short forms in Gornji Milanovac (Serbia), Luxury Festival at the price of the film in Krško (Slovenia), Media Literacy Award in Vienna (Austria), Rec for Kids in Berlin (Germany), Youki Film Festival in Wels (Austria), Up and Coming in Hannover (Germany) and of course, Camera Zizanio.