One of the three best and most spectacular open-air festivals in europe (The Guardian 2005.).
Founded in 1954 as the Yugoslav Film Festival, the Pula Film Festival is the most long-lived national film festival in the world. Thanks to a large number of visitors attending screenings in the Arena, where the Festival has been taking place from its establishment, this is at the same time the national programme with the largest number of visitors per screening in the world (about sooo, whereas the total number of visitors at the Festival amounts to 78000).
Opened on June 24, 1954, the National Film Festival in Pula was launched by the chairman of the cinematographic house in Pula, Marijan Rotar. Already in 1955 president Tito took over the patronship of the Festival. From 1958 to 1974 the Festival was organized from Belgrade, after which the management returned to Pula and remained there to this date.
In 1960, when the documentary and short film festival was founded in Belgrade, the Pula Festival develops the character of an exclusively feature film festival. In 1970 Sophia Loren attends the screening of The Battle of Neretva together with president Tito. Bulajić's spectacle revives state interest in film production, especially in war themes. The next year, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, playing Tito in The Battle of Sutjeska, visit the Festival.
In 1976, as the guests of Jadran film, the leading film company at the time, director Sam Peckinpah and actor James Coburn visit the Festival. In 1991, due to the beginning of the war, the Festival council decides to cancel the Yugoslav Film Festival as a sign of protest against violence.
Since 1992 the Croatian film festival has been taking place in Pula. During that period, films directed by Vinko Brešan, Zrinko Cgresta, Branko Schmidt, Ognjen SviIičić, Arsen Anton Ostojić, Dalibor Matanić but also by veterans like Krsto Papić, Tomislav Radić and Rajko Grlić were shown in the Arena before reaching renowned international festivals.
Since 2010 the Festival has included the minority co-productions and the Croatian short film competition programmes. In 2009 the first Croatian Film Focus took place with 20 participants comprising international festival selectors and journalists.
Complete program at www.pulafilmfestival.hr