MURINA / Croatia/US
ANTONETA ALAMAT KUSIJANOVIĆ
Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic is a writer-director born in Dubrovnik, based in New York.
Her short Into the Blue, was nominated for a Student Academy Award, and won awards at the Beriln International Film Fesival, Sarajevo Film Festival, Oberhausen Film Festival, and the Festival de Premier Plans, Angers, among many others.
Antoneta’s first feature film MURINA developed with support from the Résidence du Festival Cannes, Cinéfondation, First Films First by the Ghoethe-Institute, and Jerusalem Film Lab is produced by Martin Scorsese Sikelia, RT features and Antitalent.
Antoneta holds an MA from Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb and an MFA in screenwriting and directing from Columbia University in New York. Antoneta is an alumna of the Berlinale Talent Lab, Sarajevo Talent Lab, La Femis Producing Atelier, and the Marcie Bloom Fellowship.
On a remote island off of Croatia, restless teenager Julija and her young mother live an isolated life under the oppressive rule of her retired father. But tides change when a charming family friend arrives to whom Julija begins to feel an undeniable connection.
Tensions rise between restless teenager Julija, her young mother Nela, and her oppressive father Ante when an old family friend arrives to their isolated home on a Croatian island. As Ante attempts to broker a life-changing land deal and Nela resists the foreigner’s advances, Julija pursues a deeper connection with this powerful new father figure over a weekend laid bare to desire and violence.
We made it for all audiences, but primarily with young girls in mind, I would say, for our 16-year-old selves… and women were my inspiration in making Murina. Chauvinism is so deeply rooted in our society that we often mistake it for mentality. It is also one of the main antagonists of our heroine Julia, and Julia often mistakes its shackles for the limits of her potential. Julia lives “in paradise” on one of the Croatian islands, in a society obsessed with wealth acquired swiftly and easily, it is a society that sells off its land and heritage, a society lacking the desire to work and learn, that capitalizes on the generations that came before it – that is how dreams die and heritage is eroded. The daughter’s strength is interpreted as the father’s weakness, while family land is sold off for profit. Julia is the start herald of a new generation, of intuitive women who unmask these stale dynamics. I see this strength in young women in Croatia, it is growing, becoming stronger, flourishing and I admire it. It is the strength that lies in the wisdom and knowledge, in the confidence in one’s abilities, the faith in the divine in the unfamiliar – the strength that will not be silenced.