Rab Film Festival: "Keep an eye out for the truth"

Rab Film Festival lasted from 18th to 24th August on its name-sake island Rab, in Croatia. This was the festival's fourth edition, and it gathered prominent film industry members, artists, film enthusiasts, musicians, locals, and internationals again. What was unique about this edition is that it had an addition to the program in cooperation with Sarajevo Film Festival and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dialogue Southeast Europe for the first time.

The RAFF took place under the slogan "Keep an eye out for the truth" The creative concept behind it was revitalizing socialization following the two years of pandemic-induced isolation. This prompted a more creative and out-of-the-box approach to the festival. A part of this diverse program was the partnership with Sarajevo Film Festival and FES SEE. With the conclusion of the 28th edition of the Festival in Sarajevo, the SFF and FES SEE moved the vital topic of dealing with the past to Rab. This part of the program featured a study visit to Goli otok, the notorious prison island active in former Yugoslavia.

The study visit was preceded by a presentation of the extended website about the island's history, developed by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Zagreb, Documenta - Center for dealing with the past, and FES SEE. The study visit was linked to a screening of "Goli" by Tiha K. Gudac. This documentary film achievement features "the story of family photos and intimate testimonies of a tight-knit group of people who were brought together by the same place, a political prison in ex-Yugoslavia that was also known as an island of broken souls, and consequences that this place left on three generations" (IMDB). The screening was followed by a panel discussion on "The role of art in dealing with the past" with the director Tiha K. Gudac, Dr. Ralf Melzer (Head of office FES SEE), Jasmin Hasanović (University of Sarajevo) and moderated by Robert Zuber (Rab Film Festival).

FES' work on the Goli otok started in the summer of 2020 to provide the wider public in Croatia with broad insight into Goli Otok's historical events and contemporary interpretations by a virtual guide. The guide established a didactically appropriate mode that confronts the broader public with an important issue from the past. In this way, it contributes to building democratic political culture in Croatian society.

FES continues to provide dialogue across the region, especially for challenging but essential topics. Critical assessment of the past and respectful culture of remembrance are key to the region's development.


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