Meet the True Heroes of Croatia 365: Kino Mediteran

Total Croatia News

TCN’s look at the heroes of Croatia 365 tourism continues on February 29, 2016, with a look at the cinema project Kino Mediteran.

After 13 years living on the island of Hvar, I had perhaps one of the most emotional evenings of that entire period last October, as I was privileged to be part of the audience for the Hvar premiere of a much awaited film documenting the lives of Hvar fishermen.

Hvar in October, the end of the season. Restaurants closed, the nights drawing in, little to do but relax and wait for the Spring. 

But wait! Some social life and a film about Hvar called Fishermen’s Conversations, four years in the making, and a documentary about life on the island what was being sadly eroded away. The latest in a lively cinema programme which ran all year. An important marker in history (watch the trailer below). 

The premiere evoked many emotions from the audience, and it was so popular that two nights became three – sellouts all – the most popular ever screening of a remarkable project called Kino Mediteran.

The subject of year-round tourism is one we have been focusing on in recent weeks on TCN, as we try and balance the so-far ineffectual approach of the official Croatia 365 project with the wealth of talent on the ground. Croatia 365 has six key components, of which culture is one. An email from the director of Kino Mediteran below, received this evening, explains how Croatia 365 Culture is being implemented without any official support. Just imagine what might be possible with official support… 

As an adopted islander, all I can say is thank you for breathing life into our communities. As for the promotion of culture all year, as they say in Croatia, Svaka čast!

Dear Total Croatia,

my name is Alen Munitic and I am Festival Director of Mediterranean Film Festival in Split, one of the most visited cultural events in the city.

I am writing this email because I have seen that you are looking for projects / stories which are independent from the Croatian National Tourist Board. In our case not only independent but ignored.

Our Festival is in charge of the project “KINO MEDITERAN”. Briefly, it is a project of the revitalization of cinemas all across Dalmatia – in smaller cities from Split to Dubrovnik. A perfect match for the ‘Culture’ section of Croatia 365.

Kino Mediteran started in 2012 with the main goal of revitalizing film culture and old cinemas in all those cities. The project was conceived as a summer caravan, and it started with 10 cities. What is special about our program is that 85% of the films are European production, so not only do we revitalize cinemas and develop new audiences in these remote areas, but we also bring high-quality European content to our audience. Kino Mediteran progressed very quickly and became a year-round project. In 2015 we visited 25 cities, organized 340 screenings and had 19.500 visitors. Of those 25 cities in our network 10 cities have year-round program activities: Bol, Hvar, Jelsa, Stari Grad, Komiza, Lastovo, Imotski, Pirovac, Omis and Kastela.

One of our biggest success is that thanks to our program activities we managed to digitize 5 cinemas together with Ministry of Culture: Bol, Hvar, Komiza, Imotski and Pirovac.

The importance of this unique action lies in the fact that all of these towns and islands remained without a cinema program during the 1990s. Even though the infrastructure existed, cinemas were closing one by one. And that situation changed in 2012. when we started the project.

Since the programme in these cities consists of European film production and independent titles, through the project we have a strong impact on local communities. Children and young people are our special focus on the islands since we give them a unique opportunity to watch new films of European production and introduce them to the cinema experience. 30% of our program is dedicated to children and young audiences, as they don’t have any other access to regular cinema program on the islands.

Our project is also very important for the development of Cultural Tourism – during the summer season all films are subtitled in English and in Croatian. Also our promo materials are bilingual so our program is completely open to foreign visitors. Moreover, since our activities are year-round, very often we are the only cultural activity tourists can visit at all. For example in Hvar and Jelsa during the autumn of 2015 we had foreign visitors until November.

Kino Mediteran has established itself as one of most successful and most visited cultural events in Dalmatia. In the context of the film industry, we have shown quite a unique approach of audience development, and many times we have presented our cinema revitalization model in Europe and promoted our region in the best possible light. We have strong support from our local partners and the Croatian Audiovisual Centre. We also get support from EU in Creative Europe department for audience development.

Since our project is quite expensive because we organize everything from scratch – we even travel from town to town with full equipment – we are trying to finance the project from many sources. We are proud that 40% of our budget is money from sold tickets – which is important that we have such a huge acceptance from audience. However – the Croatian Tourist Board are completely ignorant towards our project.

It does not matter that 40% of all the audience during the summer seasons are foreign tourists, it doesn’t matter that our project is going on all year – not only in season, every year we cannot find a way that they give us any support. We always apply but the answer is always the same – your project is not good enough, the competition is huge. Of course we can see that competition and we know our own results and we are aware that we are just small people without any connections. But despite the ignorance from the Croatian National Tourist Board, we will continue with our project and we will continue to show the films.

We just wanted to write our story since we are independent of them but have huge results, and we think that we are delivering Croatia 365 even if we are not part of it in an official way.

If you have any questions regarding the project do not hesitate to contact me anytime

Thank you 🙂

alen munitic, Director
Kino Mediteran


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