One of the most spectacular open air festivals in Europe, the Pula Film Festival, was first inaugurated as an international film festival in 1953 on the initiative of Mr. Marijan Rotar. It was the main film event in Yugoslavia from 1954 to its disintegration. Numerous journalists and film artists including stars like Orson Welles, Sophia Loren, Sam Peckinpah, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Yul Brinner and others visited the Festival. During the last fifteen years the Festival has attracted many foreign visitors including: John Malkovich, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kinglsey, Jeremy Irons, producer Branko Lustig and directors Philip Noyce and Jiri Menzel.
Vespasian's Arena, which has been hosting the festival since its beginnings, has given it the status of one of the three biggest and most spectacular open-air festivals in Europe. It can seat up to 8000 visitors at the screenings under the starry sky.
Zlatna Arena (The Golden Arena, work of Dimitrije Popović) is traditionally awarded at the festival. A number of other official awards are also presented at the Festival.
The Pula Film Festival screens Croatian and International films of all genres and organizes workshops for students of final years and ABD (all but degree) undergraduates of film schools.
AWARDS IN THE INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM are:
The International competition Jury grants the following awards:
Golden Arena for the best film
Golden Arena for the best director
Golden Arena for the best leading actor/actress
Three special awards are given for the best film in the International programme:
- Critic's Award
- Audience Award
- Young Cinephiles Award
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