New president mandate for Mario Sablić, h.f.s.

SablićAt the Annual Assembly of Croatian Cinematographers Society, h.f.s, held on June 1, 2017, the new president's mandate was given to Mario Sablić, director of photography from Zagreb. 

Mario Sablić is the award-winning director of photography during whose first mandate the Annual Cinematography Award "Nikola Tanhofer" was set up, (this year is awarded for the fourth time), the society web site was established and also maintained close contacts with the IMAGO, European Federation of Cinematographers. For the next four years, Sablić will continue to work on preserving dignity of cinematography profession and continuity of cinematographers tradition in Croatia.

Also were voted members of the Management Board  - Branko Linta (vice-chairman), Goran Mećava, Enes Midžić and Vjekoslav Vrdoljak, and the mandate of former chairman of the Assembly, Carmel Kursar, was extended unanimously.

Early History of Foreign filming in Croatia – “Die Finanzen des Grossherzogs”, 1924


Film: The Grand Duke’s Finances, in the original “Die Finanzen des Grossherzogs”

Year: 1924

Director: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau

Genre: Adventure film in six acts

World premiere: January 7th 1924, UFA Palast am Zoo, Berlin

Croatian Premiere: September 10th, 1925, Balkan palace, Zagreb

The oldest preserved feature film made in Croatia, more precisely in Split and on the island Rab.

Clips from the movie filmed in Croatia can be viewed on YouTube link:

Under the description of the video there is a link to whole 78 min.,movie together with interesting facts from the shooting as well as the director’s approach to this silent comedy and its importance; quote: “The Grand Duke’s Finances, the oldest preserved feature film shot in Croatia testifies Dalmatia as it once was. At the same time it is also an entertaining film to the taste of the former audience.

Only one nitric copy is preserved to this day; it is the Italian version found in Milan Cinematheque in the nineties of the last century.

Croatian premiere (after 1925) was in 2008 when it was released on DVD during the Zagreb Film Festival. ”


During recording, Grand Duke’s Finances are pompously announced as the first great movie in Yugoslavia. Yugoslav Navy gave the war ship Galeb, Yacht Villa Velebit, few motor boats and barges, and lend a seaplane, which was navigated by Murnau himself, since during the First World War he became aviator. Unlike other expressionists, Murano was running away from the studio and wanted to work in the exteriors. In Split shooting was supose to take five days, but the film was in Dalmatia shooted for several weeks. On the shooting on the island Rab only actors performed while in Split and on the ships services of extras were used.

Split then underwent a special treatment. Prokurative, Riva and Peristil have been reported as never before, and in the scenes can be seen what Palace looked like before the bombing 1943./44.


On the shooting, Murnau led a reliable team and leading roles are assigned to big stars Abel Liedtkeu and Mady Christians. German media have positively welcomed film with faith in his success at the box office. The film was produced by the most important producer of the time, Erich Pommer, and director of photography was Karl Freund, famous cinematographer of the silent period. The Murnau filmed a dozen films, but in the Grand Duke’s Finances critics praised him for warmth of light and excellent catching sunny landscape. However, the film was overshadowed by his other achievements such as Nosefratu (1922), The Last Man (1924) and Faust (1926).

Sunčana Ivančić

Source: pg. 9, pg. 23

FRKA 2017 – Cinematography Award for Jurica Marković


shot from “Vuk i maca”

President of Croatian Cinematographers Society (H.F.S.), Mario Sablić, was member of  the jury of 12th Student film festival, FRKA, in which participated students of Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Arts.  The jury was composed of: Krešimir Mikić (acting), Mario Kozina (film critic), Mario Sablić (cinematography), Nebojša Slijepčević (documentary), Hrvoje Osvadić (Production), Sonja Tarokić (directing), Goran Kulenović (TV format) Tomislav Pavlic (editing) and Ante Tomić (screenplay).

frka_zatvaranje (26 of 53)

photo: Matej Subotić

The cinematography award went to  Jurica Marković for the film “Vuk i maca“.

“Although this is a cinematography exercise “Existing light”, cinematographer Marković takes a step further.  He masterfully uses chosen wide screen format in order to achieve interesting frame compositions, which are both narratively meaningful and emotionally intriguing. The color palette and lightning consistently expressed in “Vuk i  maca” makes this a work of high art aesthetics and skillful stylization in which Marković boldly goes beyond sketchy boundaries of simple cinematography exercise”

Congratulations colleague Marković.

4th Annual H.F.S. Award Nominees


Stanko Herceg, Mirko Pivčević and Darko Šuvak, Croatian Cinematographers Association jury for 2017, has decided on nominations in all three categories for the annual Cinematography  Award “Nikola Tanhofer”.

In the competition of 19 projects, jury nominated the following:

Feature lenght film

The Constitution”, DOP Branko Linta, h.f.s.

Quit staring at My Plate”, DOP Jana Plećaš

On the Other Side”, DOP Branko Linta, h.f.s.

Short film

A Two Way Mirror” DOP Vjeran Hrpka

The Beast”, DOP Danko Vučinović

Tanja“, DOP Tomislav Sutlar

TV series

The Republic“, DOP Branko Cahun, h.f.s.

House of Cards” (season 2), DOP Igor Martinović, h.f.s.

Black and white world” (season 2), DOP Mario Sablić, h.f.s.

Slumbering Concrete“, DOP Hrvoje Franjić

Congratulations to the nominees.

The names of the winners of the 4th H.F.S. Award will be announced at this year’s Pula Film Festival, where the prizes will be awarded.

Early History of Foreign filming in Croatia – “Assalto alla Banca Popolare di Fiume”, 1909


Movie: The attack on the National Bank in Rijeka (Assalto alla Banca Popolare di Fiume), year: 1909

Director: There is an assumption that the movie was filmed by Trieste film pioneer  Salvatore Spina, who broadcasted movies and shoot throughout Austria-Hungary.

The film was screened in the cinema Minerva in Pula on December 1st 1909, and then was lost.

It is the first feature film shot in Croatia, and is inspired by the “Great Train Robbery” Edwin Stanton Porter, from 1903., and is characterized by first-realistic techniques in a feature film, which revolutionized the world cinema, providing it with personality and style.

The attack on the National Bank in Rijeka is an action silent piece of work which is the film’s canvas revived law robbery, and was recorded in accordance with then current realist film reconstruction.

The two young Russians attacked Rijeka National Bank, a branch at the Square Dante, killed branch manager and abducted about 50,000 crowns. Citizens ran after them and robbers opened fire with a revolver. First was defeated by the city guard Ratcovich, and the other robber fled to Zurich, where he was arrested and handed over to the Austro-Hungarian authorities. In Rijeka, one Russian was sentenced to life in prison and the other to fifteen years.


In memory of the hundredth anniversary of the film in Rijeka, director Mladen Juran and producer Boris Dmitrovic from the production company Formula movie Ltd. Zagreb, recorded a remake of the same name film in the form of a short film, whose premiere took place exactly on the first anniversary of Art-Cinema Croatia in Rijeka.

The film marks the black and white technique, static camera position without major and other plans, subtitles, improvised piano accompaniment … The basic idea is that the director of the remake, with all its author’s originality in reduced expression identifies with the director from 1909. Director of photography is Zeljko Saric, main role is played by Allen Liverić from HNK Ivana pl.Zajca and other roles are played by Rijeka actors Zdenko Botic, Jasmin Mekic, Denis Brižić, Balaz Anastasius-Lecic, Tanja Smoje, Damir Orlic, Damir Glavočić, Alojz Usenik, Nenad Vukelic and a dozen other actors. The film was supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre and the city of Rijeka.

Most of the scenes are filmed at the former Piazza Dante, once the site of the National Bank, and today’s Square Brigade 111, in front of the Governor’s Palace, and at the Rijeka breakwater.

It is a story about the futility of “capturing” the truth of the past. Time wall is an invincible obstacle. However, in the micro and macro scale of infinity it does not matter if something happened before or after. We dream stories that have happened, or will happen, or, simply, always happen … said a film director Mladen Juran.

Link to the clip of the film Mladen Juran, “The attack on the National Bank“ from 2009.

Sunčana Ivančić


Symposium on the Restoration of Film Heritage, Ljubljana

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 21.02.12

Ljubljana – more accurately, the Slovenian Cinematheque – will host the Symposium on the Restoration of Film Heritage on 11 and 12 April 2017.

The symposium is a direct response to the lack of unified ethical standards and the need to establish an infrastructure for the restoration in increasingly urgent efforts to preserve the Slovenian film heritage.

The day before the symposium – 10 April – will be devoted to screenings of restored film copies. Tuesday, 11 April, and Wednesday, 12 April, are reserved for several interesting lectures, carried out by experts, who will be speaking on current topics from an ethical, technical and organizational point of view of the restoration.

Detailed programme will be announced soon on web pages of Slovene Association of Cinematographers, ZFS

Foreign Filming in Croatia – Early Years

Rijeka-Banca Popolare na danasnjem Trgu Republike Hrvatske

In recent years, increased interest of foreign film crews for filming in Croatia is evident. Nevertheless, filmmakers discovered picturesque Adriatic coast and many islands, unique views of the Mediterranean towns and picturesque fishing villages, as well as the beauty of folk costumes and interesting folk traditions, much earlier, back in the early twentieth century. Proximity to different environments; on the same day filming is possible may on the coast and on mountain tops and favorable climate for recording (summer season lasts practically from April to October) have made Croatia in the period up to World War II, and later, the most desirable filming destination of all the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

On the ground of Yugoslav countries up to the disintegration of Yugoslavia, exteriors for 59 foreign feature films were filmed, of which 48 in Croatia, mainly on the Adriatic. From the list below it’s clear that even in that time Dubrovnik and Split were among favorite filming locations

Attack on the National Bank in Rijeka (Assalto alla Banca Popolare di Fiume) Director: Salvatore Spina, Trieste, 1909th. This film can be considered the first feature film made on Croatian territory. A copy of the film has not been preserved. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the film, a remake was filmed. The film is described in detail in a separate article.

Salamander (Tryton, Der Molch), Hungary, 1917, director: Deesy Alfred. A silent film in 4 acts. Content of the film is not known nor the fact is it preserved. When the film was broadcasted in October 1918, the newspaper said: Magnificent, fantastic-satirical master achievement in 4 acts filmed on Kvarner, Rijeka and Opatija.

Casanova (Casanova), Budapest 1919th. Casanova rises from the grave and re-experiencing his five love affairs. The paper reported that the exteriors were  filmed in 1918 on the Dalmatian coast, but no one knows exactly where and when. Only a few minutes of the film is kept in Hungarian film archive.

Treasure digger from Blagaj (Der Schatzgräber von Blagay), 1919th, director unknown. A melodramatic story of a young shepherd from Herzegovina, Muharem, who falls in love with Austrian girl who came to visit her fiance. The film was produced by the Vienna branch of the Zagreb Yugoslavia JSC. One copy of the film is kept in the Swiss Film Archive.

Mrs. Sunflower (Die Dame mit den Sonnenblumen), Vienna, 1920, director; Mihaly Kertesz. When broadcasted in the Belgrade theater Kolarec, the film was advertised as the first Yugoslav-made according to the original eponymous drama triptych by Ivo Vojnovic. Parts of the film were shot in Split and Dubrovnik. In Italy, with great success movie was screened under the title: La signora del girasole. It is not known whether the film is preserved.

Revenge of the sea (Pomsta mooe), 1921, Prague. Director: Vladimir Pospisil Born. Shot in Dubrovnik and Cavtat. Czechs believe that the film is lost.

Devil’s Mill (Dabluv mlyn), 1921, Prague, director: Vladimir Pospisil-Born. Filmed by the same director in a similar time as the previous film except that the Devil’s mill is not completed.

Robbers revenge (Brigantenrache), 1922, Berlin, director: Reinhart Bruck. The content of the film is not known, it’s not preserved. It was shot in Split.

Lords of the see (Herren der Meer), 1922, Vienna, director: Alexander Korda. In Milan film festival, film has received an award for the best adventure movie. It is not known whether it’s preserved.

The sunken World (Eine Welt Versunkene), 1922, Vienna. The film of the same name director. He received the Gold Medal for best dramatic film at the International Festival in Milan.

Final obstacle (Steeple Chaise), 1922, Prague. Director: Vladimir Pospisil-Born.

Pagoda (Die pagodas), 1923, Berlin. Director: Alfred Fekete. A copy is kept in the German film archive.

Grand Duke’s Finance (Die Finanzen des Grossherzogs), 1923, Berlin. Director: Friedrich Murnau. A few copies of this film is kept in the international film archives. The film is described in detail in a separate article.

The Devil (Der Klabautermann), 1924, Berlin. Little-known director of this film, Dr. Paul Merzbach, recorded only three silent films, of which this is the first. Exteriors were filmed in Dubrovnik, and the film is kept in the German film archive.

Comedians of life (Komödianten des Lebens), 1924, Berlin, director: Georg Jacoby

Little Duke (De kleine Herzog), 1924, Berlin, director: Rudolf Walther-Fein

The Horrors of the Sea (Der Schreck des Meeres), 1924, Munich, director: Franz Osten

The beast from San Silos (die Bieste von San Silos), 1925, Munich, director: Joe Stockel

The Last night (Die letzte Nacht), 1927, Berlin, director: Graham Cutts. Mirko M. Dragovic, Montenegrin filmmaker was sharply critical of the content and implementation of this film, he said that this is one of the films that compromise us and sought the protection of our regions of foreigners who come to shoot. A copy of the film is kept in the German film archive.

Lady and her chauffeur (Die Damen und ihr Chauffeur), 1928, Berlin, director: Manfred Noa.

The woman of the format (Eine Frau von Format), 1928, Berlin, director: Fritz Wendhausen. The film premiered at the end of ’28. in Mozartsaal in Berlin.

The Republic of flapper (Die Republik der Backfische), 1928, Berlin, director: Constantin J. David. The film is described in detail in a separate article.

Law of black hills (Das Gesetz der Schwartz Berge), 1928, Berlin, director: Romano Mengon. A film about blood revange is almost entirely filmed in Montenegro and Dubrovnik.

Hunting a million (Die Jagd nach Million), 1930, Berlin, director: Max Obal.

Withdrawal on Rhein (Zapfenstreich am Rhein) 1930, Berlin, director: Alexander Alexander (Yaap Speyer). One of the first foreign tonal films made on the ground of the former Yugoslavia, somewhere on the Adriatic coast, announced as “sound operetta”.

He or I (Er oder ich) 1930, Berlin. Very popular German actor, writer and director Henrich-Harry Piel exteriors for this comedy filmed in and around Dubrovnik.

Melody of love (Melodie der Liebe) 1932, Munich, director: Georg Jacoby.

Prince of Arkadia (Der Prince von Arkadien) 1932, Vienna, director: Karl Hartl. According to a scarce film data, this is a contemporary musical comedy.

You have only one love (Es gibt nur eine Liebe), 1933, Berlin, director: Johannes Meyer.

Castle in the South (Das Schloss am Suden), 1933, Berlin, director: Geza von Bolvary.  Filmed in Split and the surrounding area, screened also in Yugoslavia. Criticized for the opening sequence as it does not state it was filmed in Yugoslavia.

The Island (Die Insel), 1934, Berlin, director: Hans Steinhoff. Diplomatic spy movie whose plot takes place in South America, and the Dalmatian coast represents the continent. A copy is kept in the German film archive.

Miss from counter post-restant (Panienka z poste Restante), 1935, Warsaw, director: Jan Nowina-Pscybylski, Michal Waszynski. It is not known whether the film is preserved.

Liquid gold, 1935, Prague. There is almost no data about this film.

And life goes on (A život jde dal), 1935, Prague, director: Karl Junghaus. The film had a lot of publicity, famous stars appear like Ita Rina and Zvonimir Rogoz, and supporting roles are played by our actors. It was filmed in Split, Solin, Sibenik, Trogir, Vis, and the most in Komiža. The film was successfully screened at the International Film Festival in Venice. A few copies is kept.

Savage / Hunting deer (Divoch / Der Wildfang), 1936, Vienna, director: Jan Svitak. Musical comedy of modern life, filmed in Dubrovnik.

Irene’s Closet (Irčin Romanek), 1936, director: Karel Hasler. Musical comedy about a girl who escaped to the Adriatic, Dubrovnik.

90 minutes retention (90 minuten Aufenhalt), 1936, Berlin, director: Harry Piel. Dynamic and naive story of a detective’s adventures who’s search for criminals leads him to Lisbon where the action happens. The film was shot in Trogir and Split, and starring Harry Piel who is also the director of the film.

White Slaves (Weisse Sklaven), 1936, Berlin, director: Karl Anton. The film is in the spirit of the Nazi regime and it was extremely anti-Soviet oriented so it was forbidden for screening.

The Wheel of Fate,1937, London. It is possible that the film has not been fully realized, it is not known whether is preserved.

Address unknown, 1937, Prague. Other information unknown.

Florentina (Florentine), 1937, Vienna, director: Carl Lamac.

Princess coral (Die Korallenprinzessin) 1937, Berlin, director: Viktor Janson. The film is described in a separate article.

Navy’s pet (Liebling der Matrosen) 1937, Wien, director: Hans Hirlich. Associate director was Josip Bogoslav Tanko, later a film director, born in Sisak. The film was shot in Dubrovnik and it’s keept in the German film archive.

Gasparone (Gasparone) 1937, Berlin, director: Georg Jacoby. Operetta about the leader of the bandits, Gasparone, who actually helps the police to catch the gang. The story takes place in “the Mediterranean port of Dubrovnik”. A copy is kept in the German film archive.

Impossible Mr. Pit (Der unmögliche Herr Pit) 1938, Berlin. Adventure comedy typical for Harry Piel, filmed in Split with a large number of extras. Seafront has been turned into oriental port. The film is kept in the German archives.

American yacht in the port of Split (Bila jachta ve Splitu) 1939, Prague, director: Ladislav Brom. The film was shot in Split and completed just before the outbreak of World War II. It was first presented in mid-1939 in Prague where is keept in the film archive.

Wedding trip in three (Hochzeitsreise zu Dritte) 1939, Vienna, director: Hubert Marischka. Comedy filmed in Vienna and Dubrovnik, kept in the German archives.

The island of lost ships, 1939. The film was not realized because of the outbreak of war.

Auteur: Sunčana Ivančić

Source: Hrvatski filmski ljetopis, god 11/2015, br 42, str. 130-142 Kosanović D.

Short Film “Zvonar Katedrale”


On the website of the Croatian Cinematographer Society we will try to point out the works of cinematographers which had somehow escaped the attention of the general public, although the attention was well deserved.

One of these works is the short film Zvonar katedrale, by Željko Sarić, who is also a complete author. Movie is from 2003., and Sarić combines different film techniques, uses 35 mm and 16 mm film stock, timelapse photography, damaged emulsion of expired films stock, color, black and white and sepia pictures … and all with the aim of creating a unique visual mosaic, built of different, seemingly incompatible elements. Sarić skillfully reconstructs visual elements of silent era, uses variously textures images and creates work of extremely interesting visual range. Zvonar katedrale is a little visual gem, a short film without dialogue, presented only by moving pictures and sound. It would be a shame to remain hidden. Thanks to fellow Sarić for a copy of Zvonar.

Zvonar katedrale

Alexa SXT Plus & Angenieux Optimo Anamorphic Zooms


For those who did not attend recent presentation of Arri cameras, including the latest addition, Alexa SXT Plus, on this link You can check short test movie, shown during the presentation.  Streets of Zagreb were shot with Alexa SXT Plus with Angenieux Optimo Anamorphic Zoom lenses (30-72 & 56-152 A2S A2S). No additional lights were used, format was 6: 5 ProRes 4K Anamorphic Cine, colored in the Da Vinci Resolve Suite.

Ektachrome again available


Kodak, which went bankrupt three years ago, is slowly catching breath and returning in a big way. In addition to the announced new 8 mm film camera, which will be enhanced by digital accessories (LCD instead of the optical viewfinder), a respected manufacturer of film stock  has announced the return of the legendary reversal film stock, Ektachrome.

Ektachrome has gained a cult status during the forties of the last century, when it was mostly used by photographers of National Geographic magazine. The production of Ektachrome was stopped in 2012 due to reduced demand in the market.

This news will undoubtedly cheer up fans of analogue photography, who still hope that Kodak will soon announce a return of another cult emulsion, Kodachrome.

Ektachrome has rarely been used for shooting feature films, no doubt because Reversible films do not forgive doubts about the accuracy of the exposure. However, there are several very interesting works of intriguing visuals shot on this stock, such is Buffalo 66, director of photography Lance Acord.


Buffalo 66

Ektachrome will be manufactured at the Kodak plant in Rochester, N.Y., and will be available in 8 mm and 35 mm formats.