Antonio Nuić’s film Mali is Croatia’s candidate for the Oscars

Antonio Nuić’s film Mali has been selected among ten films as Croatia’s candidate for the 92nd Academy Awards presented by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in the category of best international feature film.

Every year the Filmmakers Association of Croatia selects a feature film to represent Croatia in competing for the award of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – the Oscars, in the category for best international feature film. 

On Friday, 30 August, 2019, in two rounds of secret ballot, 15 members of the Filmmakers Association of Croatia’s commission with a majority decided that the film Mali, directed by Antonio Nuić, would represent Croatian cinematography at the 92nd Oscar awards of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This year’s Croatian candidate for the Oscar awards was presented at a press conference at the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. 

Nuić sees this as a good opportunity to show the centre of the film world that films are being made in Croatia too, ones he hopes will be interesting to them: 'All of those who have gone there before in this function, carried out part of the promotion and added to the visibility of Croatian cinematography on the American continent where it’s harder because the market is saturated with films', he commented.     

The film’s producer Boris T. Matić said that they are proud of the fact that for a second time the same team is presenting Croatia in Oscar bid – ten years ago it was Nuić’s Donkey. 'The American Academy has about seven thousand members, of which ten percent are selected to watch national candidates, we’ll try to reach out to them to see the film', Matić said in the end.  

The feature film Mali, directed and written by Antonio Nuić, a kind of sequel of the omnibus Sex, Drink and Bloodshed, at last year’s 65th edition of the Pula Film Festival won the Grand Golden Arena for Best Film, Oktavijan Award of the Croatian Society of Film Critics for Best Film and the Golden Arena for Best Special Effects. After this, it participated in a series of festivals, while in Torino Franjo Dijak received an award for best actor.  

Mali is a crime drama imbued with dark humour in which a father, after four year prison term, does everything to retain custody of his son. Franjo is a dealer whose wife dies and her parents want to present him as an incompetent parent and take away custody of his son, Mali. Mali loves his father; he likes his unconventional parenting methods and wants to live with him. Franjo has no intention of justifying the way he’s bringing up his son to anyone, nor does he intend to allow anyone to separate them. For his fortieth birthday Franjo receives two gifts that are the solution to all his problems.   

Along with Franjo Dijak, roles in the film are played by Vito Dijak, Rakan Rushaidat, Hrvoje Kečkeš, Bojan Navojec, Robert Ugrina, Živko Anočić, Paško Vukasović, Iva Babić and Ksenija Marinković. Costume design is by Morana Starčević, Nedeljko Mikac is the set designer, while Hrvoje Štefotić is the composer. Editing was done by Marin Juranić, while photography by Radislav Jovanov Gonzo. The film’s producers are Boris T. Matić and Lana Matić, while the director and screenwriter is Antonio Nuić. Mali was produced by Propeler Film and co-produced with Alka Film. The film was co-financed with funds from the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.      

This year the Filmmakers Association of Croatia’s commission decided among ten submitted films, and they were: Aleksi by Barbara Vekarić, Till The End of Death and Happy End by Anđelo Jurkas, Deep Cuts by the directors Dubravka Turić, Filip Mojzeš and Filip Peruzović, What a Country! by Vinko Brešan, Lada Kamenski by Marko Šantić and Sara Hribar, Nuić’s Mali, My Grandpa Is an Alien by Dražen Žarković and Marina Andree Škop, Last Serb in Croatia by Predrag Ličina and For Good Old Times by Eduard Galić

The shortlist of candidates for the Oscar nomination in the best international feature film category will be announced in December, while the final selection of nominees will be known on 13 January. The 92nd Academy Awards will be held on 9 February next year in Los Angeles. 

Cover photographs: scenes from the film Mali 

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