Award-Presentation Ceremony and Premiere of Circles for the End of the 11th Zagreb Film Festival; Golden Pram Goes to The Lunchbox!

The 11th edition of Zagreb Film Festival ended tonight with the award-presentation ceremony in front of packed audience in Cinema Europa, followed by the out-of-competition screening of Srdan Golubović's Circles, the Serbian candidate for an Oscar and winner of some 30 awards so far.

The closing ceremony and presentation of awards were informal as always, with Festival Director Boris T. Matić and Executive Director Hrvoje Laurenta. 'One more festival is behind us. It was great and hard at the same time. We had fantastic weather, great guests and wonderful audience', said Boris T. Matić. 'I would like to thank the festival crew for carrying it all on their shoulders, without much sleep and with lots of work', he added.

'Naturally, we always express our gratitude to the City of Zagreb, HAVC, EU MEDIA Program, our general sponsor Hrvatski Telekom and other sponsor friends. However, we must not forget to thank our faithful audience who has packed all of the five venues where films were shown. Thank you so much!' said Hrvoje Laurenta.

Prior to the award-presentation ceremony, the audience had a chance to see a short video review of the festival week, prepared by the ZFF's photo-video crew. The first award to be given tonight was the one of Palunko Workshop, organized for the 11th time by the Croatian Film Association in cooperation with Zagreb Film festival. This year, twelve young scriptwriters took part in it under mentorship of Dalibor Matanić, Tomislav Zajec and Danilo Šerbedžija. The jury – consisting of the last year's winner of Checkers Hana Jušić, last year's winner of Palunko Josip Sunko and scriptwriter and director Nevio Marasović – gave a special mention to Miloš Milošević and Sanja Peršić, while the main award went to Neven Dužanec. Based on Dužanec's script, a short film will be made in production of Croatian Film Association in cooperation with Propeler film by the next ZFF and will be shown in Checkers program.

This year's first Golden Pram and the amount of HRK 10,000, provided by the Croatian Film Directors' Guild, went to the best film in Checkers program, where nine films were shown this time. The jury consisting of Hana Jušić, the last year's winner of Checkers, Alexandra Schmidt, programmer of Dresden Short Film Festival and Jožko Rutar, producer and manager of Slovenian Film Center, proclaimed It's Like This Isn't You by Ivan Sikavica the best film of Checkers. 'This film doesn't let the viewer look away from the embarrassing but all too familiar scenes from private life. It does that in a stylistically brave manner, without a bit of pathos', explained Alexandra Schmidt. The special mention was given to Darija Blažević's film Shame On You.

Golden Pram for Best Documentary Film and the amount of EUR 1,000 went to The Captain And His Pirate, directed by Andy Wolff. The best film in this category was selected by Timo Novotny, an Austrian director whose two documentaries were shown at earlier editions of ZFF, Saša Ban, a director who won a special mention of the jury for his Land of Knowledge two years ago and Sead Kreševljaković from the Program Department of Al Jazeera Balkans, also a director of documentaries (his Do You Remember Sarajevo was shown at the first Zagreb Film Festival). 'Simply but perfectly made film based on the contrasting of two worlds through two characters. The characters of the Captain and Pirate avoid the stereotypical characterization of being good or bad. Instead, they show the complexness of understanding each other as imperfect humans, even through the perspective of being enemies', explained the jury. The special mention in the documentary competition went to Serbian film The Second Meeting by Željko Mirković – a film 'about the most impressive story in the world'.

Golden Pram for Best Short Film and the cash award in the amount of EUR 1,000 went to the film In The Fishbowl by Tudor Cristian Jurgiu: 'It is an honest depiction of a relationship that showed us how much of a fight the real love is'. The special mention was given to Whale Valley by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson. The jury in this category consisted of Leo Barraclough, film critic and editor in Variety magazine, Srdan Golubović, director of Circles, and Ada Solomon, Romanian producer and a person who has substantially contributed to the international success of Romanian film. She also produced the film that won at ZFF last year.

The jury then presented awards in the feature-length competition. The special mention went to a Croatian film for the first time. It is Nevio Marasović's film Vis-à-Vis. 'We decided to give the special mention to a very simple but honest film Vis-à-Vis by Nevio Marasović, for whom we believe to be the new voice of Croatian cinema'. And finally, The Lunchbox by Ritesh Batra won Golden Pram for Best Feature Film and the cash award in the amount of EUR 4,000. The film was presented in the past week by its lead actress Nimrat Kaur and co-producer Čedomir Kolar. As the jury explained, 'It is an emotionally engaging, visually stunning arthouse film that communicates with audience all around the world'.