Anita Juka • Producer, 4 Film
“It is important to recognise the potential at both the local and international markets”
by Vladan Petkovic
- Croatian producer Anita Juka, of 4 Film, tells us about her views of fiction and documentary cinema and scene, and her upcoming projects
Croatian producer Anita Juka established her company 4 Film in 2003 and has since produced multiple award-winning documentaries by her sister Ivona Juka (Facing the Day), Branko Schmidt (Bad Blue Boys) and Mladen Santrić (Blue Rose Garden), and co-produced features including Zrinko Ogresta'sHere and Damjan Kozole's Slovenian Girl. Ivona's 2016 Karlovy Vary entry You Carry Me was the first Balkan film to be picked up by Netflix. Now selected for the 2019 Producers on the Move by European Film Promotion, she tells us about her views of fiction and documentary cinema and scene, and her upcoming projects.
Cineuropa: You have been producing both fiction and documentary films. What is it that attracts you to a project and is there a form or genre that you prefer?
Anita Juka: In my 15 year-long career, I have produced various content of different genres, including fiction features, creative documentaries, shorts and one TV mini-series. I'm drawn to well-written screenplays which are based on powerful stories and characters. From the production point of view, it is important to recognise the potential at both the local and international markets. The genres that attracts me are drama, historical and action films based on real and emotional stories. Also, I often work with socially conscious documentary films and media campaigns for disadvantaged groups.
Your film You Carry Me was the first from the Balkan region to be picked up by Netflix. How do you see the distribution and exhibition situation for arthouse and documentary films in the region, and the increasing involvement of TV and streaming companies like Netflix, HBO, Al Jazeera and others?
4 Film has been a ground-breaking actor in the region with the first global Netflix contract, and the first multimedia film distribution campaign, later replicated by many companies in the region. The acquisition of You Carry Me by Netflix means it is available for 135 million people around the world to watch in their own languages. This is a significant development for all independent filmmakers, especially for those coming from small countries. We believe that in this way we opened the door to other productions from Croatia and the region to big streaming platforms like Netflix.
Unfortunately, the distribution of documentary and arthouse films in region is not very present in multiplexes and is mostly limited to small arthouse cinemas. The distribution of documentaries in the region is insufficiently developed and that the wider audience is often not informed about current documentary cinema. Thus, the role of streaming and VoD platforms is significant in the distribution of documentaries and arthouse films, and especially for films not in English language.
What are you working on at the moment?
We're currently developing several fiction and documentary titles.
With Ivona Juka as director, we are working on two fiction films, Lambs in Wolfskin and The Atmosphere.
Lambs in Wolfskin is a war action film about two friends who get separated on the battlefield, and one of them goes behind the enemy lines in search of his missing friend. The script was recognised and awarded by EWA and eQuinoxe Europe. The film has secured national and private funding, and we are currently looking for co-producers.
We are developing the documentary TV series Tito’s Legacywith director Silvio Mirošničenko. It explores the great material legacy of the former Yugoslav president and communist revolutionary Josip Broz Tito, through which we are directly talking about his character and historic influence. Through investigation of vast historical objects, we are discovering the truth behind some of the biggest political events in 20th century, as well as the character of the socialist self-management system in which the elite has built many objects that have nowadays been transformed into tourist attractions.
With Mirošničenko, we are also working Surrogate Mother, a story about Mihael and his five-year old daughter Alisa, who travel to Moscow to visit Mihael’s wife Anastazija. She went there to give birth to a “surrogate child”. During their ten-day stay in the clinic-owned apartment, their intimate marital life is unveiled.
What do you expect from your participation in Producers on the Move?
I am very excited for the chance to participate in the Producers on the Move and for me this is a unique opportunity to present projects from 4 Film's production and to promote Croatian cinema at such an important event. I see Producers on the Move as a unique opportunity to expand my business network in the Europe, so I look forward to meet my international colleagues and collaborate with them.
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