18th Motovun Film Festival: ’50 Years’ Award to Rajko Grlić, Maverick to Jerzy Skolimowski

The 18th Motovun Film Festival, to be held from July 25th to August 2nd, will present the ’50 Years’ Award to film director Rajko Grlić, while Polish film director Jerzy Skolimowski will receive the Maverick Award.

Each year, the ’50 Years’ Award is presented to individuals who have spent half a century (in other words, their whole working lives) dedicated to the art of moving pictures. This year’s recipient is esteemed film director Rajko Grlić, who, as art director, initiated and first presented the award at the Motovun Film Festival in 1999.

Rajko Grlić was born in Zagreb in 1947 and graduated from FAMU in Prague with a Degree in Film Directing.  As a high school student in 1964, he made his first amateur film, Break, and in the following three years received more than 20 awards for his amateur works.  In 1974 he debuted with the film If It Kills Me, after which he filmed Bravo Maestro which was screened in the official competition selection at Cannes.  He directed and co-wrote the feature films You Love Only Once, which was shown at the Un Certain Regard Film Festival in Cannes, as well as In the Jaws of Life, Three for Happiness, Charuga, Josephine, Border Post, Croatia 2000: Who Wants to be a President and Just Between Us.  He also created short films, documentaries and television series, wrote screenplays, and was producer and, for twelve years, art director of the Motovun Film Festival. Grlić spent almost a quarter of a century teaching film direction at American universities and would settle down as an ‘eminent scholar’ at the University of Ohio, where he made a didactic CD-ROM entitled How to Make Your Movie, an award-winning multimedia textbook at numerous international new media festivals.

Motovun Maverick to Jerzy Skolimowski, honorary guest Elia Suleiman

The Maverick is awarded to those who, with their individuality, free spirit and innovation have broadened the boundaries of film expression.  This year’s recipient is Jerzy Skolimowski.  The director, writer, dramaturg, actor, painter and poet was born in 1938, and debuted as a screenwriter in 1960 in Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water.  In 1964 he directed his first feature film Identification Marks: None, after which he headed to Great Britain, and soon after the United States, where he filmed what were, and still are, unusual hybrids of ‘east’ and ‘west’: often 'pulp'.  The early 90’s saw him retreat from film and focus on painting, but in 2010 he came back to direct Four Nights with Anna, a meditative study of loneliness and desire.

Skolimowski received numerous prestigious awards including the Bergamo Festival Grand Prix (Barrier, 1966), the Golden Bear in Berlin (The Departure, 1967), as well as the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize (The Shout, 1978.)  His film Hands Up!, originally filmed in 1967 and withheld by censorship, won the Journalists Award at the Gdansk Film Festival in 1981.  He was the recipient of the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival twice for The Lightship in 1985 and Essential Killing in 2010.  Skolimowski often appears in his own films but is happy to take on roles in other films as well, his latest in the superhero themed The Avengers (2012).

Skolimowski will personally receive the award and two of his films will be screened at Motovun.

As well, the 18th Motovun Film Festival’s honorary guest will be the Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, who resides in Paris.  Suleiman’s films have received numerous awards at prestigious international festivals from Cannes to Venice.  His most well-known work Divine Intervention (2002) is a surreal dark comedy about a Palestinian in Nazareth who has to pass several check-points in order to visit his girlfriend in Ramallah on the West coast.  Suleiman’s works show, in a humorous way, everyday life in Palestine, exposing the absurdities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  His work is often compared to Jacques Tati and Buster Keaton films, while he is strongly influenced by post-colonial scholar Edward Said, with whom Suleiman collaborated while living in New York.

Cover Photos: Rajko Grlić, Jerzy Skolimowski (photo by: Adam Kozak)

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