First Films First

Alumni

HONEY BUNNY / Croatia

IGOR JELINOVIńÜ‚Äč

Igor Jelinovińá is¬†a¬†young Croatian director and screenwriter, the author of¬†three¬†shortand mid-length¬†fiction¬†films:¬†Sea Foam¬†(2016),¬†Secret Life of Fairies¬†(2016), and¬†Little Bear¬†(2015).¬†which¬†have all¬†attracted¬†a great interest of audiences¬†and film critics¬†at festivals such as Zagreb Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival, Drama Film Festival, Pula Film Festival, Festival of Mediterranean Film Split, and Cinedays Skopje.

Jelinovińá is also the¬†president of non profit association named \”Blank\”, whose main¬†activity is focused on film education for children and youth, and film production of¬†short forms for debut authors.¬†Beside directing his films, he has also been working in¬†various positions as producer,¬†DoP and 1st AD. He is¬†the¬†president of¬†the¬†Supervisory Board of Croatian Film Association¬†and a member of Croatian Filmmakers Association.

SYNOPSIS

Anita (56) is a wealthy woman with her own accounting firm, employing her¬†husband Predrag and daughter Tanja. The firm is based in a big family house in a posh neighbourhood in Split, which is also in her property. Anita\’s younger sister Alin (48) and her family – husband Neven (52), son Ivan (28) and¬†daughter Livia (12) – are a bit frivolous and in financial problems. Her mother Smiljka is bed-ridden and suffers from Parkinson\’s disease. Anita has taken¬†upon herself to care about their mother, who lives with her.

Smiljka is from the island of Hvar, where she has a big, old house on the waterfront. Without her sister\’s knowledge, Anita has persuaded Smiljka to sign a deed of gift, transferring the ownership of the house on the island to her. Although she has convinced herself that it was the right thing to do since she is the sole carer of their mother, Anita feels rather bad about it. She is aware that, once her sister finds out about it, the family bonds will be irretrievably broken, so she tries to enjoy the encounters and phone conversations with her sister as much as possible, while she still can.

When she finds¬†out that her nephew\’s girlfriend¬†Josipa¬†(28) is pregnant, Anita feels even more guilty.¬†Her sister has no money,¬†and¬†Ivan and Josipa are both unemployed. Despite her husband and daughter\’s assurances that there is no¬†need to get upset, Anita decides to make amends. She takes her nephew to buy a¬†wedding suit. But a suit is not enough to ease her conscience and she takes it upon¬†herself to get her nephew a job. Ivan is a lazy bum and he can\’t be bothered with¬†working. The fact that he is about to become a father makes no difference.

Anita goes to the local newspaper to pull some strings and get Ivan a job, but it is no longer easy to get someone employed this way. She also visits a leader of the political party in power, but to little avail.

Ivan breaks up with Josipa, and Anita¬†does¬†her best to fix their broken relationship; inthe end, she decides to pay for their wedding. Ivan doesn\’t want to get married, but¬†he caves in under the pressure. At the wedding, the cards are finally on the table¬†when Smiljka blurts out she has given the house to Anita. There is a violent scene¬†between the two sisters, and the two families become mortal enemies, leaving Anita¬†disgraced.

After the wedding, Anita is in a bad mental state for a while, but then, after Predrag insists, she goes to the land-registry office and registers the house to her name. She reconciles herself to the fact that she has lost her sister.

Ivan and his two¬†friends come to Anita\’s house armed with clubs to¬†beat her up, but Ivan changes his mind at the last moment.

Anita turns up¬†uninvited at the baby shower of her nephew\’s child, and after a lot of haggling, the¬†two sisters make peace with each other. Anita decides to give one floor of the house¬†on the island to her sister\’s family. Ivan refuses to forgive his aunt, but in the end he¬†decides to bury the hatchet, and they all take a ferry to the island of Hvar, still¬†arguing.

DIRECTOR'S STATMENT

My grandmother Smiljana, known as Smiljka, died in the suburbs of Split in¬†mid-summer of 2012. She had a big funeral in her hometown of Hvar, where she lived her whole life. At the time, I lived by myself in her house in Hvar, where I had a summer job. Before her death, Granny hadn\’t been in her hometown for several years and she missed it terribly.

My mother\’s sister Anita would come for a swim every few days, and was a pain in the neck, as usual. She would snoop around the house, wishing to know everything that was going on, but at the same time she was very protective of me and at my disposal whatever I needed. Her behaviour remained the same even after the funeral.

Before I arrived from Zagreb to Hvar, an interesting thing happened. My aunt called me every day for a whole week, assuring me that she had checked out the hotel I was going to work at, and trying to convince me that it was run by mobsters and thieves. She even promised she would find me a summer job on the island of Brańć, where I grew up. I stubbornly ignored all her suggestions, attributing them to her dottiness. When I started to work in Hvar, it turned out that the hotel was great, with a totally transparent management and the best working conditions I had ever seen. That\’s when it first occurred to me that something was wrong, but as the summer was wearing on, and I started to feel at home both in the house and at my work, I quickly forgot about it.

At the end of the summer, when my job was over, I spent a few days with my parents in Split. As I packed the stuff I wanted to take to Zagreb, I realized I had left a few things I needed in Granny\’s house. I took a ferry to Hvar, but when I came to the house, I realized I couldn\’t unlock the front door. I immediately called Anita who was puzzled at first, but then said she had thought I had lost my key and decided to have the lock changed. The conversation stopped there.

Several days later, my mother was invited to the inheritance proceeding. According to the¬†testament, the two sisters inherited several antique pieces of furniture each. Thefive-meter-long boat was not included in the will and became a shared property of¬†our two families. It is still aground on a beach in Hvar. It was at the proceedings that¬†we learnt the house in Hvar had been in my aunt\’s ownership for seven years, and¬†that she got it through a deed of gift. My mother and sister were devastated. Mum¬†and Aunt were very close. They used to call each other every day and cry on each¬†other\’s shoulder, although they often squabbled, as most sisters do.

My sister, who is¬†rather asocial and ‚Äěeccentric‚Äú, adored our aunt and worshipped the ground she¬†walked on. When I was a child, I thought that aunt Anita was an embodiment of¬†perfection: she was funny and warm, living in a harmonious marriage and having a¬†good sense of humor about life. My parents were the exact opposite: they were¬†always engaged in some kind of conflict and could never stay long¬†in¬†one place.

Every visit to aunt Anita was a trip to Disneyland! As I grew older, I began to realize¬†that all of that was just for a show, but I still remained attached to Anita\’s family andtrusted her. Nothing in her behaviour suggested she had deprived my mother of herinheritance. As always, she never let my mother forget how expensive Granny\’s¬†medications were, she lectured and moralized, and considered it her right to meddleinto other people\’s affairs; but at the same time, she was warm, funny and there for¬†us whatever we needed. Her family was well provided for; she didn\’t need the house¬†in Hvar. What she did was a sheer demonstration of power: she wanted to have thathouse so she could be generous ‚Äď so we would come as her guests when she invitedus.

My first reaction was anger. All kinds of thoughts raced around my head as I rewound the events of that summer: in hindsight, her statements and reactions had a different meaning. My first urge was to gather several friends and plant myselfin front of her house, to make her too scared to come out. I wanted her to suffer andbe punished for her hypocrisy and manipulations. Thinking about everything thathappened, I realized too many things were running through my mind and decided towrite a script about what troubled me, in order to try and turn something negative and destructive into something positive and constructive.

Production company: Eclectica (Croatia)
Contact: rea@eclectica.com

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