Goran Navojec and Mustafa Nadarević are among the most famous names on a list of people and companies to whom the producers, Antun and Andrija Vrdoljak, of the failed Croatian film and TV series ‘General’ are indebted.
Navojec agreed to speak publicly in a written statement to Vladimir Matijanić/Index on January 10, 2020; and Mustafa Nadarević confirmed his claims.
Unpaid production debts are dragging on for ‘General’ even though producers had a massive budget compared to other Croatian productions. Croatian Radio Television (HRT) alone gave them 9.6 million HRK (1.3 million EUR), the Croatian Audiovisual Center provided 4.2 million HRK (565,000 EUR), and Index wouldn’t dare assume how much the Ministry of Defense and numerous local government units, which are credited in the series, paid them or how they provided assistance. Index also contacted the Ministry of Defense regarding the cost of filming ‘General’ and will provide their response if and when they receive it.
It’s worth pointing out that that Vrdoljak was credited as a screenwriter, director and co-producer. Second in line is Goran Višnjić, who enjoyed considerable success in the United States and played Ante Gotovina in the film and series. The executive producer is Antun’s son, Andrija Vrdoljak, and the series and film were credited to Kiklop film, along with Croatian Radio and Television. According to court records, the owners of Kiklop film are also Antun and Andrija Vrdoljak, the latter of whom is credited as director.
Navojec: My Relationship with Producers Will End in Court
Here’s what Navojec wrote to Index about Vrdoljak’s debts.
“My relationship with the producers of the movie and TV series ‘General’, or Kiklop film, will unfortunately finish in court because two-and-a-half years after filming ended, and an equally long payment deadline, I still have not been paid a portion of my fees. I was paid a part of my fee after a two year wait. My esteemed colleague and friend, Mr. Mustafa Nadarević, veteran of Croatian cinema and theater, is still waiting for his payment. There are also others waiting too and they are not actors: Gripfilm company, in charge of stage effects; Mario Knezović, co-producer in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Ivan Maloča of Interfilm, whose cameras filmed ‘General,’” Navojec wrote to us.
“It’s About Croatian Taxpayer Money”
“It is incomprehensible to me that those in charge of the HRT and HAVC publicly funded joint project, which at one time had received a designation of project of state importance, treat their associates this way by not paying them. Because taxpayer money is involved, I think it is time to speak up regarding this topic. Neither HRT nor HAVC are legally responsible for this situation because we all signed a contract with Kiklop film, but the responsibility of the producer is in question as well as the mechanism for monitoring the spending of public funds.
“If they release my work into the public domain at home and abroad without fulfilling my financial obligations, or the obligations of those without whom there would have been no final product, then we are all in serious trouble. After two years, and in good faith, I communicated regularly with the producer and patiently considered their reasons for the late payment, which were mainly directed towards HRT and HAVC. The producers were supposedly expecting a payment of settlement funds from them, but I eventually decided to resolve the issue through legal means and filed a motion for payment enforcement based on a credible document. An enforcement order was issued and then the producer lodged an unfounded complaint on the same grounds, solely because of the reason for payment delay,” Navojec writes in a statement.
Index contacted everyone mentioned in Navojac’s statement and they have confirmed his allegations. Nadarević agreed to allow Index to mention his name, while Knezović, Maloča and Siladi from Gripfilm provided more specific details. Knezović received 20,000 EUR from the Bosnian Cinematography Foundation and spent 48,000 EUR which the producers were aware of. He eventually had to cover the excess costs himself. Gripfilm claims an unpaid bill of 420,000 HRK (56,500 EUR) and has initiated foreclosure proceedings, but Maloča refused to say how much the Vrdoljaks owe him, “certainly more than 100,000 HRK (13,400 EUR),” he claims.
Vrdoljak Team and HAVC Won’t Talk, HRT Saying Little
Index sent Andrija Vrdoljak an email which he did not respond to. They also called him, but he didn’t answer, just like his father, Antun Vrdoljak. So far, the Croatian Audiovisual Center (HAVC) has not responded to Index’s emails, and Index has asked whether the producer of ‘General’ has provided them with a final financial report. HRT, however, decided to provide a short reply:
“HRT has nothing to do with the relationship between the producer of Kiklop film and HAVC. HRT fulfilled its obligations to an independent producer and acquired the right to use the work and broadcast the work in accordance with the acquired rights. The independent producer provided a spending statement,” which indicates that they are the only party who doesn’t have an objection to ‘General’.
HRT Claimed that ‘General’ Would be ‘Very Well Received by Audience’
Just over three years ago, people from HRT were much more talkative. Their website also contains information on signing the contract with Kiklop film for filming the movie and television series ‘The General’, based on the screenplay by Antun Vrdoljak, which is based on the book by Nenad Ivankovic ‘Warrior, Adventurer and General’. The contract was signed by Andrija Vrdoljak and Siniša Kovačić, then acting director-general of HRT.
Kovačić remarked that, upon his arrival at the helm of HRT, “for some reason this project was not among the most important, but during our initial meetings we decided to change that. This is an extremely important project for us,” Kovačić emphasized, and the visionary predicted that ‘General’ would “be very well received by the audience because of the strong writing team behind the script and direction team, which have already produced numerous blockbuster films and TV series.”
Kovačić left HRT, in the meantime, and ‘General’ has proven to be a total artistic and financial failure. And HRT, regardless of that failure, is still broadcasting it during prime-time hours.
“This is Croatia,” Index concludes.
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