It was my friends at the IAC who first brought the Four River Film Festival to my attention last year and who encouraged me to submit a short film. I was really excited when I received a phone call to tell me that my film had been selected for screening at the Festival and that I was invited to attend. As a young filmmaker, I have learned that the best way of enhancing my work is to share it with others and to receive their feedback. It is also very enriching to experience the work of other filmmakers and to see the way they view the world. Where better to get a different perspective than in another country? This is precisely what happened.
I was met at Zagreb Airport and was driven to the Festival venue with other participants where we were warmly welcomed by the organisers and student ambassadors of Karlovac. We checked in at Festival HQ where we received welcome packs, meal tokens and were assigned to a hotel.
Staying at the lovely Hotel ˇganjer, it was clear that that we filmmakers had completely taken it over! There was a great mixture of nationalities all under one roof - making conversations around the breakfast buffet very interesting! It was evident that the Festival organisers had thought hard about how best to make everyone feel welcome; my room was opposite a room of 3 other English students and by the end of the week we were great friends.
Once we had settled in and unpacked our things, the student ambassadors kindly offered to take us on a tour of Karlovac. It was great to talk to young people from another country; to chat about their everyday school and social lives, the regeneration of their country, their excitement about the Festival itself and all the hard work that would make the event such a success.
Each of the four days I spent in Karlovac was different, packed full of exciting things to do, including a screening at an open-air cinema in an old castle (followed by a fantastic after-party!), live music performances, a day trip to a beautiful cave system, many brilliant Festival film screenings and some great Festival workshops. I particularly enjoyed the 'Four Minute Film' Workshop, where we learned about the art of storytelling. We then had a go at making our own four-minute films, working in teams with students of many nationalities. It was this interaction with other young people throughout the Festival that made my time in Karlovac so much fun.
If you want to learn more about films and broaden your horizons, then this is a fabulous way to do it! I would thoroughly recommend this Festival to any young filmmaker.