Zagreb, 6 November 2020 – The Zagreb Film Office, in cooperation with the Croatian Audiovisual Center, organized the second edition of the conference, which addresses all key issues in the audiovisual industry, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all panels were held online.
PROFilm Days is the name of a professional conference that brings together all domestic and foreign experts needed for the creation of any type of audiovisual work. The first edition of the conference was held last year at Kapltol Boutique Cinema, and with expert discussions and panels, a special tour of the city of Zagreb and its surroundings was organized for foreign producers to get acquainted with diverse architecture and get ideas for future projects.
Also, these producers held numerous meetings with domestic co-productions to offer their experts and assistance in recording foreign projects, which is necessary for the creation of world-famous hits such as Game of Thrones or Star Wars and of great importance not only for the film industry but also for the budget of the whole of Croatia, because as it is generally known, film is first and foremost an extremely lucrative business.
This year’s second edition of the conference was held yesterday, November 5, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all panels were organized online and the program itself focused on new challenges of filming during the pandemic.
The broadcast was watched by more than 400 viewers from different IP addresses, more than last year’s release. The conference was held under the auspices of the relevant Ministry of Culture and Media and the City Office for Culture and the media sponsorship of Jutarnji list.
The guests of the conference were big foreign names from the world of industry; world-famous film producer Rick McCallum best known to the general public for his long-term collaboration with director George Lucas on several of his projects, including the television series ‘Young Indiana Jones’ and three sequels to the popular ‘Star Wars’, Arto Halonen, famous Finnish director and producer , who made two feature films at Zagreb locations; ‘A Patriotic Man’ and the multi-award winning ‘Murderous Trance’.
Furthermore, the world organization Location Manager Guild Intl. (LMGI) held a panel in which it gathered location managers with many years of experience working on large and world-famous projects such as The Bourne Supremacy, A Hidden Life, The X-Files, Transformers, Wonder Woman, and the panel was moderated by Mike Fantasia, President of the organization. Jonathan Olsberg, CEO of Olsberg SPI, presented a Feasibility Study for a project of a new studio complex in Croatia commissioned by HAVC, led by Director Chris Marcic, who also participated in the panel.
The conference also brought together key domestic experts – producers, organizers of film festivals, film screenings and representatives of educational institutions for film workers and representatives of state and city authorities who participated in the panels or gave introductory speeches; Mia Pećina Drašković, head of the Zagreb Film Office, producer with four Emmys, and also the organizer of the conference, then Christopher Marcich, director of the Croatian Audiovisual Center, State Secretary from the Ministry of Culture and Media Krešimir Partl and Advisor to the Head of the City Office for Culture, Nikola Stojadinović.
State Secretary from the Ministry of Culture and Media, Krešimir Partl, gave an introductory speech before the start of the expert work and commented on support measures aimed at covering the entire value chain of creativity, production, distribution and participation in order to preserve the system and enable development in next period.
Both great producers, Arto Halonen and Rick McCallum, commented on the importance of building studios in Croatia!If there was a studio in Croatia at the time I made the film, I would certainly have shot it entirely in Croatia, said Halonen in his panel, while McCallum emphasized in his presentation that we would have to adjust prices within realistic limits, because Serbia is more acceptable in prices of services but that the construction of studios is also necessary. Both producers emphasized that we have excellent film workers and that they have no negative experiences from filming from Croatia, and McCallum even bought a house on one of our islands. Location managers from the Location Manager Guild Intl. (LMGI) explained how much the cost of filming has increased due to compliance with epidemiological measures and the COVID protocol on the set and the numbers are amazing; for a project that takes 80 days to film, the cost caused by Covid measures is as much as $ 15 million. All the organizers of film festivals agreed that online editions of festivals or live festivals with social dostancing are simply not what the festivals should be and that we should wait for better times, and until then use the tools that are offered. Mia Pećina Drašković, Head of the Zagreb Film Office, says similarly: The conference and its viewership was great considering the conditions we had! The program was more focused on filming in the new conditions, but the panelists were really the world’s greatest industry experts. I can’t help but imagine what it would be like if everyone came to Zagreb, but we hope so next year!
As we said at the beginning, since the first edition the conference has been held in partnership with the Croatian Audiovisual Center, which also helps in the program work: The cooperation with the Zagreb Film Office is perfect and I thank them for their courage to organize a conference this year! The program is extremely interesting and touches on various topics, but also looks to the future, said at the beginning of the conference the director of HAVC Chris Marcich. The conference addressed a number of burning topics, and currently they are filming in the Covid era, the organization of film festivals, the importance of building a film studio and deficient occupations in film. The second edition of PROFilm Days ended with a workshop on one of the deficient professions – film make up and a message of hope that in 2021, in the third edition, we will go live!
Arto Halonen is an internationally award-winning fiction and documentary film director and
producer, known for the strong socially conscious stance he takes towards his subjects.
As a tribute to his work, Halonen received the nation’s highest annual cultural award, the Finlandia
Prize in 2005, from the Minister of Education and Culture. Halonen was also given the Helsinki
Culture Award in 2010 and he was the third filmmaker in history to receive it. He won the award
soon after the critical and box office success of his first fiction feature, Princess. The film became one
of the most financially successful Finnish feature films of the last decade and it also won multiple
Halonen’s second feature film, A Patriotic Man, premiered in 2014 and its distribution rights have
been sold to 25 countries. The renowned US critic Harlan Jacobson chose the film for his prestigious
Talk Cinema tour for private subscribers, and the film was well received by the U.S. audience and
Halonen’s documentary films, such as White Rage (2015), Shadow of the Holy Book (2007) and
Karmapa –Two Ways of Divinity (1998), have won significant awards all over the world. Shadow of
the Holy Book was also nominated for the European Film Academy Award for Best Documentary of
Halonen won the Humanitarian Award of the European Union in 1998. In addition, he was given the
Finnish National Mental Health Prize and the Civil Action Prize of the Finnish Federation for Social
Welfare and Health, making him the first person in the cultural field to receive the prize. Halonen is
the founder and first festival director of Helsinki Documentary Film Festival, DocPoint. It became the
biggest documentary film festival in the Nordic area and one of the top documentary film festivals
Halonen’s most recent feature film, Murderous Trance aka The Guardian Angel, is an international
collaboration. The psychological thriller has already been sold to 60 countries worldwide and it
entered cinematic distribution in the US in the end of 2019. In January 2020, the film was awarded
as Best Feature Film at Gold Movie Awards in London. Josh Lucas was awarded as Best Actor for his
role in the film and Halonen himself was nominated for Best Director at the same event
Film producer Rick McCallum is best known to the general public for his long-standing collaboration with director George Lucas on several of his projects, including the television series ‘Young Indiana Jones’ and three sequels to the popular ‘Star Wars’. Famous producer Rick McCallum is a guest of the second edition of the PROFilm Days film conference. McCallum has produced films with famous filmmakers such as David Hare (Strapless), Neil Simon (I Ought to Be in Pictures) and Harvey Fierstein, whose HBO film ‘On Tidy Endings’ won four CableAce Awards. McCallum was also the producer of the music video ‘Undercover’ for the famous band ‘The Rolling Stones’, which MTV named the best music video of the decade.On the set of ‘Dreamchild’ he met Star Wars creator George Lucas, who a few years later hired him as a producer on the mega project ‘Young Indiana Jones’ which was filmed in 35 countries around the world! The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded the series with 11 Emmys and 25 nominations. McCallum continued his collaboration with Lucas; produced by Radioland Murders (1994), for which Lucas was executive producer.During production, Lucas showed McCallum plans for three new Star Wars films. To test digital technology, McCallum produced revised versions of Star Wars; The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi – each version has proven extremely successful at the box office. Gathering an extraordinary team in front of and behind the cameras, McCallum produced the following three films that Lucas wrote and directed; Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (1999), Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005). The Star Wars produced by McCallum has grossed more than $ 3 billion worldwide and two of them have been named among the 10 most successful films in history. Recognizing his contribution to films, CinemaExpo named McCallum Producer of the Year in 1999. Today, McCallum is a co-founder of the production company Film United, which has become one of the leaders in Central and Eastern Europe with a base in Prague. In Croatia, he filmed the historical television series ‘Borgia’ created by Tom Fontana, a three-time Emmy winner, known for his work on the series “Homicide” and “Oz” watched in our country. Also, a few years ago in Opatija, he filmed the third season of the crime series ‘Borders of Crime’ and then told the media that he had only positive experiences from filming in Croatia.
CEO / Olsberg•SPI
Jonathan has worked in the screen industries for 37 years as producer, distributor, sales agent and, since 1992, executive chair of the international creative industries consultancy Olsberg SPI. The firm is a leading adviser on public policy matters for governments as well as business issues for corporations.
He is responsible for SPI’s work with international clients and travels frequently to established and emerging markets. Over the last 12 months these have included Australia, New Zealand, USA, Argentina, Russia, Abu Dhabi, Sweden, Italy, Estonia, Kazakhstan and Costa Rica, among others.
Jonathan’s first career was in investment banking, on Wall Street and the City of London. He’s a member of the European Film Academy, BAFTA, the British Screen Advisory Council and the UK’s Creative Industries Federation.
Los Angeles, California, USA
Mike Fantasia has been a location manager for 30 years and has worked on over 35 feature films in the United States, Canada and Europe. He is a founding member of the LMGI, has served on the Board for over ten years and is in his third and final year as its president. He has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 2018.
Markus Bensch (54 years old) lives in Berlin and joined the film industry in 1992. Markus worked in the location department as a location scout , location manager and supervising location manager. His best known works are The Bourne Supremacy (2004 ), The Reader (2008) , Hanna (2011) Bridge of Spies (2015), and A Hidden Life (2019). He was accepted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2020.
Los Angeles, California, USA
Originally from Wales, Ilt Jones has lived in Los Angeles for 32 years and has been a Location Manager for 27 years. He has visited, shot and scouted 45 of the United States, and he has scouted or shot on every continent except Antarctica. He has worked on both TV and Features, including 90 episodes of the X Files, 4 Transformers movies, 2 Chris Nolan projects and 4 Marvel films, amongst others.
John Rakich has been a Location Manager for more than 20 years, working all over Ontario Canada. He has a wealth of experience from long and short format features, television series for studios and streaming services, and he’s an expert on sustainable tax incentives, international co-production and the economic benefits of location-based filming. He sits on the Directors Guild of Canada Ontario board as their current Location Caucus Representative as well as being the 2nd Vice President of the LMGI.
A location manager of 15 years, supervising on movies like Wonder Woman and The Little Mermaid, Georgette Turner quickly retrained and came back to work as a Covid production manager on one of the first shows out of the gate after the UK lockdown.