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Public call for saving Croatian cinemas

Should a European friend visiting Zagreb wish you to show him the Zagreb theaters, this wish will not be difficult to fulfill. In an easy stroll across the map of the down town from the Marshall Tito Square (where Croatian National Theater is situated) through Frankopanska Street (Drama Theatre Gavella), down Ilica Street (Theatre Kerempuh) and Gajeva Street to Teslina Street (Zagreb Youth Theatre) the visitor will scan all the most important locations of the Zagreb theatre life. If your guest likes to take strolls s/he could quickly get to Exit, Puppet Theatre, Komedija and Vidra ... And if s/he plans to stay in Zagreb for some time or live there temporarily you can draw her/his attention to other two locations in Ilica Street – to the location of the former Lika Cinema where a dance theatre will eventually emerge and to the former Apolo Cinema which was generously donated by the city authorities to Vitez's Histrions along with a considerable investment in a thorough reconstruction.

Should your European, however, wish to go to cinema or, god forbid, to watch a worthy (maybe even Croatian) film, as a host eager to make an impression, you will probably find yourself in huge trouble. If, while you are at it, in the last city cinema (the Europa Cinema) a children's jostle is on, not only will s/he have to spread the map or go away from the down town by tram, but s/he (when eventually there) will have to bump into consumers in shopping malls which the city authorities appointed to take care of film buffs. Perhaps you will later have to answer a series of not-at-all easy questions. Why isn't there a single repertoire cinema in the center of the Croatian capital with a million of inhabitants? Or perhaps there has never been any?   And have we in Croatia maybe skipped the 20th century – the film century – so that we could in the 21st century go back to the 19th – the theatre century?

And the 19th century, connected with premodern and preurban manners of trade with public good, is about to give the last blow to the symbol of modernity and urbanity - the cinema!  After all other city cinemas were sold out, closed down, turned into theatres, shops or warehouses – the biggest and the oldest Zagreb cinematography temple of a symbolic name – Europa – is threatened with the transformation…. into another theatre! Being conservative, as much as the institutions it belongs to (Croatian National Theatre) and largely dependant on the state and city money!

The Croatian state and the City of Zagreb, which support this transaction, however, still have not established a single film institution of national interest. They allowed the privatization of all cinema facilities (Jadran film, cinemas). Turning the Europa cinema into a theatre will be the last blow to the film culture and national cinema, after which there will be no rescue for remaining cinemas in other Croatian towns.

Managing to revitalize the Tuškanac cinema through earnest negotiations and its own investments and providing modest circulation of the cinema library and art films in Croatia, Croatian Film Clubs’ Association in collaboration with Zagreb Film Festival invites all film associations and producers, all film workers, artists and film buffs to join us in the Action of saving Croatian cinemas. For the next few weeks we will remind the authorities of the barbarian treatment of the film culture in several ways:

  • by a series of shorts with the common motto „Give me the cinema!“ signed by a dozen Croatian directors, which will be screened before features and documentaries at the oncoming festivals, beginning with Zagreb Film Festival
  • by signing a petition, starting on September 26, 2006 at 8pm at the box office of the Europa cinema during the opening of the film photography exhibition
  • by activities on city squares and streets
  • by opening a special web site where the petition will be signed

We will ask the authorities to secure the continuity of cinema life in Zagreb and Croatia by rescuing (buying out) the remaining cinemas and funding “facilities” and programs of the cinemas which could become screening forts of film festivals, film reviews as well as of Croatian and culturally worth international cinema which finds the suburban commercial multiplex cinema doors closed. It is not our intention to help cinema and cinematography only, it is also to protect the inheritance which identifies us as a civilized, urban and European environment!               

Hrvatski filmski savez / Croatian Film Clubs’ Association
Zagreb film festival

This action is supported by: 

Drušvo hrvatskih filmskih redatelja
Hrvatsko društvo filmskih djelatnika
Hrvatska udruga producenata
Hrvatsko društvo filmskih kritičara
Hrvatska udruga filmskih snimatelja

Bruketa&Žinić OM

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Udruga Bicikl
Urbana kultura i edukacija - UKE
Vinko Brešan, direktor Zagreb filma
Vrbovečka udruga mladih - VUM
Zagreb Dox



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