Croatian Oscar Entry 'The High Sun' Wins Top Prize at Cottbus Fest


Dalibor Matanic's movie took the $27,000 prize at Germany's Festival of Eastern European Film.

Croatia's Oscar entry (for best foreign-language film feature), Dalibor Matanic's The High Sun, won the top prize of 25,000 Euros ($27,000) at the Cottbus Festival of Eastern European Film Saturday night.

The award totaled almost a third of the $82,000 prize purse at the 25th edition of the eastern German festival that attracts a strong industry attendance from its region.

Actress Tihana Lazovic - who also won 5,000 Euros ($5,370) for her performance in the film - accepted the festival's main prize on behalf of Matanic and producer, Ankica Juric Tilic, who share the cash award equally.

Juror, Visar Morino, noted that the fact that all members of the jury were film directors meant opinions were often "extremely divergent" but "in the end we understood each other, even though we did not always share the same view."

Matanic's film explores the impact of the civil war that tore apart Yugoslavia in the 1990s through the experiences of three couples in three consecutive decades from the end of the war to the present day. Lazovic and Goran Markovic play all three couples.

Bernd Buder, festival program director, said, "The fact that with The High Sun and The Ungiven by Branko Schmidt - that won the ecumenical jury prize - these are two among the prize winners honors the fantastic work of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre which has systematically bolstered the film industry [in Croatia] for the last couple of years."

In other prizes at the festival, which attracts a strong pan-Euorpean industry presence - best actor went to Czech actor Karel Roden for his role in Olmo Omerzu's Family Film and best director to Hungary's Lili Borvath for The Wednesday Child.