Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović is a writer-director born in Dubrovnik whose dramas explore the darker side of desire, the limits of family, and the danger of secrets.
Her short Into the Blue, a tense coming of age set on the rocky cliffs over the Adriatic, was awarded a Special International Jury Mention at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival, the Youth Jury Award at the 63rd Oberhausen Film Festival, Grand Prix at the 34th Chicago International Children Film Festival and the Heart of Sarajevo at the 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival, and was nominated for a Student Academy Award.
Currently Antoneta is developing her first feature film MURINA about a Croatian family swept onto an island that reveals the hidden violence between parents, lovers, and their children.
Antoneta is an alumna of the Berlinale Talent Lab, Sarajevo Talent Lab, Nisi Masa Short European Pitch, La Femis Producing Atelier and the Marcie Bloom Fellowship. She holds an MFA in directing from Columbia University in New York.
Croatia. Under bright sun and summer skies, Julija (14) is trapped inside a home of violence and denial. Desperate to escape her explosive captain father Ante (45) and her oblivious mother Nella (36), Julija prepares to run away from home. Just before she does, Jeronimo (50) unexpectedly arrives. He’s her parents’ wealthy friend, a powerful South American businessman who used to hire Ante as a captain while sailing the Adriatic coast. He hasn’t seen Julija since she was a child. Now he’s arrived on a trip that seems to mix business and pleasure.
Jeronimo’s presence shields Julija from her daily reality as he sweeps up the family into a weekend of decadent fun. Julija watches her parents change: Ante tries to leverage their friendship for a new job, and Nella blossoms into a sensual nature she can never experience next to her husband. Julija realizes Jeronimo’s power, and feels that Jeronimo cares for and protects her in a way no adult ever has. She decides Jeronimo will be the one to help her escape.
But once the group arrives on the isolated island Jeronimo’s rented, old tensions between the adults give way to unleashed dangerous power games and Julija finds herself constantly strategizing alliances that might help her survive. Hiding behind Jeronimo’s protection, she digs into her arsenal of hate against her parents and feeds into the dream of escaping, learning to humiliate and undermine her family. Julija starts believing Jeronimo is her actual father who has come to finally take her away.
Nella, jealous of Julija’s place under Jeronimo’s wing reveals extreme emotions she suppressed for years towards Jeronimo. Ante, witnessing the change in both his daughter and wife, bursts with anger. Seeking retribution for old sins, he confronts Jeronimo for once seducing his wife and his ruining his professional life due to years of neglect. Julija watches her schemes and manipulations spin out of her control.
Jeronimo’s true motives are revealed in the sun. Julija realizes that Jeronimo might not be her unexpected savior after all, but the catalyst for everyone’s demons. Jeronimo got lost in his own game – and now as he sobers up, he announces he is leaving. Helpless Julija can feel the rise of what she fears the most; her own wild and violent nature that mimics that of her father’s, waiting to attack. MURINA tracks the coming of age of a charismatic and volatile young girl who witnesses the fall of gods and monsters and risks becoming one.