The Constitution, Rajko Grlic's film, official website

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The Constitution (Ustav Republike Hrvatske) directed by Rajko Grlic, wins big at the 40th Montreal World Film Festival by taking home the prestigious Grand Prize of the Americas worth $100,000

Rajko Grlić in Montreal
Rajko Grlić in Montreal
Rajko Grlić and Mike Downey in Montreal
Rajko Grlić and Mike Downey in Montreal

The Montreal World Film Festival closed its doors this evening by awarding the prestigious Grand Prize of the Americas, the top award of the festival to the film The Constitution (Ustav Republike Hrvatske) directed by Rajko Grlic along with its $100,000 prize money.

The Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF) is the only competitive Film Festival in North America recognized by the FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations), and is the only ‘A’ category film festivals in the whole of North America.

Produced by Zagreb’s Inter Film in co-production with FILM AND MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT of the UK, IN FILM, Prague, REVOLUTION PRODUCTION, Skopje, SEVER & SEVER, Ljubljana,  HRT, Zagreb and NP7, Zagreb, the film is financed by Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Croatian Radio Television, Film Foundation Czech Republic , Macedonian Film Fund, Slovenian Film Centre and the Eurimages – European Cinema Support Fund.  The film was developed with the support of Creative Europa – MEDIA,  Croatian Audiovisual Centre and the City of Zagreb.

Written by Grlic and Ante Tomic, the film tells the story of four very different people live in the same building but avoid each other because of differences in how they live their lives, what they believe in, and where they come from. They would probably never exchange a word, but misfortune pushes them towards each other. Their lives entangle in ways that profoundly challenge deep-held beliefs and prejudices surrounding material status, sexual orientation, nationality and religion.  Slowly, and even painfully, they begin to open up to each other and recognize the essential humanity each of them possesses.
Grlic, whose films have won awards at festivals all over the world, and whose You Only Love Once and Bravo Maestro! had its world premiere in Cannes, calls the film "A love story about hate."

"If the saying "Hate is local!" is true," says Grlic, "and I believe that it is, then every local hate, like the one this film is about, will be comprehensible to each person in Europe who has ever hated or been hated."

Grlic picked up the award along with London-based producer and deputy Chairman of the European Film Academy, Mike Downey.

"The award comes on the eve of the film’s release in Croatia and the former Yugoslavia," says Downey, "and will provide a handy launch pad for international sales which are being handled by Antonio Saura’s Latido Film sales.  The film is in great company, as former recipients include Jean Jacques Beineix, Lee Tamahori, Michel Deville, Carlos Diegues, Paul Cox and Agnes Jaoui, which reads like a who’s who of world arthouse cinema."

This year’s jury included such illustrious names as Donald K. Ranvaud (City of God, Central Station, The Constant Gardener), former Cannes Director’s Fortnight boss Pierre-Henri Deleau and former winners of the Grand Prix of the Americas Goran Markovic and Claude Gagnon.

"The Croatian Constitution is a very intimate love story of four people who live in the same building in the center of Zagreb, " continues Grlic, "It is a story of three people very different in terms of social status, sexual orientation, political views and in terms of the religions to which they do or do not belong. In our story, what connects them is not only the space they live in, but also their, often mutually confronted, demons from the past; demons which force them to live in the past rather than in the present."

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