Starigrad in Spotlight as Location for Latest Winnetou Film

Daniela Rogulj

October 12, 2019 – The latest Winnetou film will begin filming at Paklenica National Park in Starigrad in early September 2020. Directed by Mike Dietrich with Ivica Zdravkovic in the starting role, Winnetou films have been the most-watched in Germany for years – and they’ve no doubt done their part in promoting Croatia. 

Novi List writes that in about a year, Paklenica National Park will once again transform into a film set and play the central location of the popular Native American chief Winnetou.

The next Winnetou film should begin shooting in September next year. Director Mike Dietrich arrived in Croatia this week and is staying at the Vicko hotel, the long-time Croatian base for all activities related to Winnetou, which for many years has been known as one of the most successful films in Germany.

Dietrich arrived in the company of the main actor Ivica Zdravkovic and was welcomed by the Vicko owner Zoran Katic, the director of the Starigrad Tourist Board Marjana Marasovic, the owner of the Rajna tourist agency Marin Marasovic and the director of Paklenica National Park Natalija Andacic.

The tourism leaders of the old town welcomed their guests from Germany, aware of the immense promotional value of  Winnetou – a wildly famous and fictional Native American hero in the German novels written by Karl May.

The popularity of Winnetou in Germany is evidenced by the fact that there are theme parks in the country, like Pullman City, in the heart of Bavaria.

“Pullman City is a real cowboy city with all the elements. So far, more than one million euros have been invested in it, and our plan is to continue expanding, enriching our program, extending our show, which will last an hour and a half next year, and will be announced, among other things, by a promotional video which we will record here,” Zdravkovic said in Starigrad, who is originally from Prokuplje.

The group toured some of the locations of the future film set, which attracted the attention primarily of German tourists who found themselves at the entrance of the Paklenica National Park at the right time. 

What makes this area so unique for Winnetou films? 

“It is a combination of your incredible nature, the harmony of the blue sky and the white rocks that do not need film filters. And when we add to that the base – the romantic, inspirational lyrics of author Karl May, it’s clear why our chief is so popular,” Dietrich summarized.

“The first film was shot in Paklenica in 1962, but after that film, seven other films were made in Croatia, out of a total of 11 films made so far,” emphasized Katic.

Winnetou has attracted several tourists to Starigrad, a Winnetou convention was held, and anyone interested can find marked movie locations in the area. A Winnetou study tour has even been offered.

“Winnetou is a powerful promotional tool that we are very aware of here,” Marasovic emphasized.

Katic agreed, who joined the project with colleagues from the Association of Small and Family Hotels, who also recognized their interest in the story of the Apache tribe.

According to him, the Winnetou project has a lot of tourism potential because there is no German who has not heard of the character.

“I am happy to have the opportunity to be Winnetou, that I am here in Starigrad, in the national park where the scenes are filmed, where I first saw the sea, and that I am part of a project that means a lot to me. My heart is full,” Zdravkovic concluded.

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