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Biography

Rajko Grlić at Arena, Pula (Croatia), before the screening of the

Rajko Grlić at Arena, Pula (Croatia), before the screening of the 'Border Post', 2006, photo: Roberto Orlić

1947

Rajko Grlić born September 2nd in Zagreb, Croatia, formerly known as Yugoslavia. Grlić’s mother, Eva Grlić, born Eva Israel, was a journalist and writer. His father, Danko Grlić, was a philosopher and Professor of Aesthetics at Zagreb University.

1963

Break (Cigla): first short amateur film. In a three-year period Grlić made six of these amateur films and received more than twenty awards at amateur Yugoslav film festivals.

1965

Grlić graduated after two years of attending the "Radio and Television Journalism School" in Zagreb. During this time he worked for approximately two years as an anchor on a youth TV show on "TV Zagreb".

1966

Graduation from high school in Zagreb.

1966 - 1968

As an actor Rajko spent two years with SEK, the Students Experimental Theater, performing in two shows, Ars longa vita brevis and Viet-Rock. He traveled with these productions throughout Yugoslavia, Italy, Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and Turkey.

1966

Grlić began to study Philosophy at Zagreb University.

Pass (Prolazak): first completed professional short film both as a director and a screenwriter. Produced by Zagreb film.

1966 - 1970

Grlić published several short stories and poems in Zagreb literary magazines: "Umjetnost i mi," "Razlog," and "Telegram."

1967 - 1971

Grlić becomes a student of Film Directing at "FAMU," the Academy of Art Muses - Faculty of Film and Television, in Prague, Czech Republic, formerly Czechoslovakia. At FAMU, in Elamr Klos’s class he made four short films and two television productions. MFA received as a Director of Feature Films.

1968

We From Prague (Mi iz Praga) was his first professional television documentary released as director and screenwriter. Produced by TV Zagreb.

During the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia, Grlić was a member of the FAMU strike committee.

1969

All Men Are Good Men in Bad Society (Svaki je čovjek dobar čovjek u rdjavom svijetu): a one hour television documentary written and directed by Grlić. Produced by TV Zagreb and banned from public exhibition.

1970

All Eat Each Other (Sve jedno drugo pojede): a short film written and directed by Grlić. Produced by FAS Film, Zagreb. It received the TV Belgrade award for "The Best Yugoslav Short Film 1971," as well as six others awards. It was shown in competition worldwide at several major short film festivals including Oberhausen, Bilbao and others.

1971

Preface (Predgovor): written and directed by Grlić, this half-hour film was also his thesis project. Produced by TV Belgrade.

Praises (Pohvale): a six-part television docu- mentary written and directed by Grlić. Produced by TV Zagreb and banned from public exhibition.

1972

Party Game (Drustvena igra): Grlić co- wrote (with Srdjan Karanovic) his first script for a theatrical feature film. Film directed by Karanovic. Produced by Film Danas, Belgrade, and premiered in Quenzin de Realisatuer at the Cannes Film Festival.

1972 - 1974

Two years spent at the Academy of the Drama Arts in Zagreb as a Professor of Film Editing and Directing.

1974

If It Kills Me (Kud puklo da puklo): directed by Grlić and co-written with Srdjan Karanović and Alex Koenigsmark. This first feature film was produced by Jadran film and Croatia Film, Zagreb.

Tell Me a Story (Pricaj mi priču): short film written and directed by Grlić. Produced by Adria Film, Zagreb.

Drinkable Water and Freedom (Pitka voda i sloboda): a short documentary film produced, written and directed by Grlić. It was banned from public exhibition.

1975

The Reckless Years (Grlom u Jagode): a ten-part television mini-series. Script co-written with Srdjan Karanović, who also directed it for TV Belgrade. In many surveys it was among the best and most popular Yugoslav television series ever produced. It won the European UNESCO award, the CIDALC for the best script at the Portoroz TV Festival and was the Yugoslav representative at many international TV festivals including Monte Carlo.

Wild Stories (Žestoke priče) was a six-part documentary television series he wrote and directed. It was produced by TV Zagreb. Critics voted one part of the series, Pleterje, one of the best Yugoslav documentaries ever made. It was shown at numerous festivals and sold to many TV stations around the world.

1977

Grlić became the Chief of the Script Department and member for the next fourteen years of the Art Council of Jadran Film, the largest Yugoslav film company. At that time Jadran Film was co-producer for many major American and European films such as Sophie’s Choice and i as well as several TV series including The Winds of War.

The Fragrance of Wild Flowers (Miris poljskog cveća): a theatrical feature film Grlić co-wrote with Srdjan Karanović (who also directed the film). Produced by Centar Film, Belgrade. At the Cannes International Film Festival it won the European Critics award FIPRESCI for directing and writing. The film was distributed in many countries, including the USA by New Yorker Films.

Bravo Maestro: the second theatrical feature film directed by Grlić and co-written with Srdjan Karanović and Alex Koenigsmark. Produced by Jadran Film and Croatia Film, Zagreb.

Zagreb: a short documentary written and directed by Grlić. Produced by Filmoteka 16, Zagreb.

Rajko Grlić and Srdjan Karanović, Cannes, 1978

Rajko Grlić and Srdjan Karanović, Cannes, 1978

1979

Love Life of Budimir Trajkovic (Ljubavni zivot Budimira Trajkovica): a theatrical feature film Grlić co-wrote with Goran Marković, directed by Dejan Karaklajić and produced by Avala Film, Belgrade. The film was the top-grossing film at the box office that year in Yugoslavia.

1980

Petria’s Wreath (Petrijin venac): a theatrical feature film for which Grlić served as a script consultant. The film was directed by Srdjan Karanovic and produced by Centar Film, Belgrade. It was recognized as the Yugoslavian film of the year, won the "Big Golden Arena" award in addition to many other Yugoslav and international awards. New Yorker Films distributed the film in the US.

1981

The Melody Haunts My Memory or You Love Only Once (Samo jednom se ljubi): a theatrical feature film he directed, and co-wrote with Branko Šomen. Produced by Jadran Film, Zagreb. The film was banned from public exhibition in Yugoslavia for six months.

Erogenic Zone (Erogene zone): a theatrical feature film for which Grlić developed the story. Directed by Dejan Karaklajić and produced by Avala Film, Belgrade.

1982

Retrospective in Valencia, Spain.

1983

Retrospective in Amsterdam, Holland.

Guest of U.S. State Department (Washington D.C., New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles).

1985

In the Jaws of Life (U raljama života): Grlić’s fourth theatrical feature film, based on a book by co-screenwriter Dubravka Ugresić. Produced by "Art film" Beograd and six other production and distribution companies. First feature made in the former Yugoslavia without any government support.

At the Columbia University Film Department, New York, Grlić served as Artist-in- Residence for four months courtesy of a Soros Grant.

Retrospective in Minneapolis, USA.

Hard to Swallow (Jagode u grlu): a theatrical feature film for which he helped develop the story. Directed and written by Srdjan Karanović and produced by Centar Film, Belgrade.

1986

Drinkable Water and Freedom II (Pitka voda i sloboda II): a short documentary film written and directed by Grlić. Produced by Filmoteka 16, Zagreb. The film won the "Special Jury" award at the Belgrade Short Film Festival and the "Big Bronze Dragon" at Krakow Film Festival, Poland.

Retrospective in La Rochelle, France.

Retrospective in Munich, Germany.

Three for Happiness (Za sreću je potrebno troje): Grlić’s fifth theatrical feature film, co-written with Dubravka Ugresić. Produced by Jadran Film, Zagreb.

1987

Grlić served as Dramaturge for the opening ceremony of the "Univerziada ‘87," Zagreb.

Fairy Tale About Zagreb (Zagrebacka bajka): a short film created for the Eurovision opening ceremony of "Univerziada ‘87."

Retrospective in Paris, France.

Retrospective in San Francisco, USA.

Early Snow in Munich (Rani snijeg u Munchenu): a theatrical feature film directed by Bogdan Žižić and produced by Jadran Film, Zagreb. Grlić helped develop the script.

1988 - 1991

Along with producer Mladen Koceić, Grlić established Maestro Film, Inc., a Zagreb- based film production company.

Retrospective in Montpellier, France.

The Mayor of Montpellier, France proclaimed him a Citizen in Honor of Montpellier.

1989

That Summer of White Roses: Grlić’s first first theatrical feature film in English starring Tom Conti, Rod Steiger and Susan George. He directed and co-wrote the feature with Borislav Peki, whose novel provided the basis of the script. Produced by Jadran Film, Zagreb, EMY International, London and Maestro Film, Zagreb.

Retrospective in Trieste, Italy.

Rajko Grlić and Tomislav Pinter on the set of 'That Summer of White Roses'

Rajko Grlić and Tomislav Pinter on the set of 'That Summer of White Roses'

1990

Grlić became a full time Professor of Film Directing at Academy of Drama Arts, Zagreb.

Consecration (Magija svijetla): a short documentary film for which Grlić was the executive producer. Directed by Bruno Gamulin and produced by "Maestro Film", Zagreb. The film won the UNESCO "Golden Award" in France and three awards in Yugoslavia.

Award (Odlikovanja): a short documentary film for which Grlić was the executive producer. Directed by Arsen Ostojic and produced by Maestro Film, Zagreb. The film was recognized at the Belgrade Short Film Festival.

1991

Parizi, Istria: a short film for which Grlić was executive producer, director and screenwriter with Ivo Stivičić, Ivan Kušan, Dušan Jovanović, Goran Stefanovski and Kevin Scott. Produced by Maestro Film, Zagreb.

Virgina: a theatrical feature film for which he was the executive producer. Directed by Srdjan Karanovic and produced by Maestro Film in Zagreb, Centar Film in Belgrade and Constelation Productions in Paris. The film was chosen among the 10 Best European films for 1992. The film won the "Felix" award (the European equivalent of the American Oscar) for Best Supporting Actress and the "Prix Special" at the Festival de al Baule du film European, France and the "Grand Prix" at the Valencia Film Festival, Spain.

Grlić recognized as one of the 56 founding members of European Film Academy of Film and Television in Brussels.

Charuga (Čaruga): Grlić’s seventh theatrical feature film for which he was the executive producer, director, and co-screenwriter along with Ivan Kusan. Produced by Maestro Film, Zagreb; Viba Film, Ljubljana; and Croatian Television, Zagreb.

Real Charuga (Stvarni Čaruga): a one hour television documentary for Croatian public television HRT, Zagreb. It was banned from public viewing.

Served as an artist-in-residence at the UCLA Department of Film and Television, Los Angeles, USA through a Fulbright Grant.

1992

Retrospective in Salt Lake City, UT.

Three of Hearts: a theatrical feature film for which he served as the script editor. Directed by Yurek Bogayevicz and produced by New Line Cinema, Los Angeles.

1992 - 93

Grlić appointed a visiting Professor at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, Graduate Film Division, running the Master’s Class in Film Directing.

The Denver International Film Festival sponsored a tribute to his films and honored him, "In Recognition of Outstanding Achievement in the Art of Film."

1993 to the present

Named Ohio Eminent Scholar in Film, Ohio University, Athens, OH.

Work initiated for the first interactive film school, How to Make Your Movie.

1995 - 2001

Founder and Director of Imaginary Film Academy, Groznjan, Croatia, and Athens, Ohio, USA. During these seven years, more than two hundred and fifty students from thirty-one countries and around forty film professionals attended the school.

1996 - 1998

Selector for the Balkan Film Festival at the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.

1997

Grlić served as Advisor and Researcher for Gale Research International Ltd. and St. James Press Dictionaries; Directors, 2nd Edition, and Dictionary of Films, 3rd Edition.

Grlić served for four years as one of five board members of the Soros Documentary Film Fund, New York, the largest USA Documentary film fund at that time.

1998

How to Make Your Movie: an Interactive Film School: CD-ROM for which he served as writer, director and producer.

1999 - 2009

Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Motovun Film Festival.

Rajko Grlić at Motovun Film Festival

Rajko Grlić at Motovun Film Festival

1999

Drinkable Water and Freedom III (Pitka voda i sloboda III): a short documentary film written and directed by Grlić. Produced by Factum in Zagreb and awarded at the Croatian Film Festival.

2000

Josephine: Grlić’s second feature film in English. Produced by Indigo Filmproduktion Gmbh, Munich.

2001

Croatia 2000 - A Winter to Remember (Novo novo vrijeme): a theatrically released feature documentary film. Grlić was co-producer and co-director along with Igor Mirkovic for Motovun Film, Zagreb.

For the first time in ten years his feature films where allowed to be publicly shown in Croatia. Retrospectives in Pula and on Croatian public television HRT, Zagreb

Grlić was decorated by the President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Stipe Mesić, with the highest Croatian decoration to be given to an artist: "The Croatian Star with the figure of Marko Marulić."

Script: a book for which Grlić was a contributor. Published by the Film Foundation, Ljubljana.

2002

Boulder (Stina): a documentary film written and directed by Grlić. Produced and distributed by Gama Studio, Zagreb

Face to Face: a book and exhibition for which he served as editor and curator. Published by Erlewine Design, Athens.

Diaries: a book to which Grlić contributed. Published by Radio Liberty Europe, Prague, Czech Republic.

Retrospective at the Belgrade Cinematheque, Serbia, awarded the "Golden Star," for lifetime achievement in the field of film, given by the Belgrade Cinematheque.

Retrospective at Wexner Center, Columbus.

2003

Happy Kid (Sretno dijete): a theatrically released documentary feature film for which Grlić was executive producer. Directed by Igor Mirkovic. Produced and distributed by Gerila Production, Zagreb.

Motovun - the Book of Genesis (Motovun: knjiga postanka): a book co-authored by Grlić, Igor Mirkovic and Nikola Žinić. Published by MFF, Zagreb.

2004

How to Make Your Movie 2.0: expanded and upgraded version.

2005

Roberto & Paolo: a documentary feature written and directed by Grlić. Produced by Schnabell Produktion GmbH, Frankfurt for ZDF, Germany. It was shown on many TV stations and distributed in USA by the National Film Network.

2006

Border Post (Karaula): a theatrical feature film directed by Grlić, and co-written with Ante Tomić. Based on Tomić’s book. Produced by Refresh Productions, Sarajevo, eight other European productions companies, and the Eurimages Fund.

Border Post - Nothing Can Surprise Us (Karaula - Nista nas ne smije iznenaditi): a book co-written with Ante Tomić, where Border Post’s script and novel are published in one volume by Fraktura, Zagreb.

2008

How Ohio Pulled It Off: one-hour documentary film. Grlić was co-producer. Directed by Charla Barker, Matthew Kraus and Mariana Quiroga. During the American Presidential race ’08 it screened on many TV stations in Europe and America. Produced by Ohio Filmmakers LLC. Distributed in the USA by the Documentary Channel.

Revolution I Love You: 1968 in Art, Politics and Philosophy: a book with a contribution by Grlić. Published by by Miriad, Manchester Metropolitan University.

2009

Honorable Full Time Professor of Film Directing at Art School, Ljubljana and Nova Gorica University, Slovenia.

2010

Films of Rajko Grlic - Movies About Love, Sex, Revolution, War and other Consequential Things, a book edited by Ruth Bradley and published by Erewine Design.

Ten Years After - Co-Scriptwriter and Co-Director with Igor Mirkovic A 30-min long documentary film about the last days of the presidency of Croatian President Stipe Mesic. It was done as a follow up to documentary feature "Croatia 2000" and produced by M Film and RTL TV. 

Just Between Us (Neka ostane medju nama): Grlić’s eleventh theatrical feature, co-written with Ante Tomić. Produced by Mainframe Production, Zagreb; NP7, Zagreb; Yodi, Beograd and Studio Maj, Ljubljana and the Council of Europe’s co-production support fund - Eurimages. Premiered in March 2010 in Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia.

Retrospective in Athens, OH, USA and organized by Athena's Cinematheque.

Rajko Grlić, Nataša Dorčić, Ksenija Marinković and Daria Lorenci on the set of 'Just Between Us'

Rajko Grlić, Nataša Dorčić, Ksenija Marinković and Daria Lorenci on the set of 'Just Between Us', Zagreb, 2009, photo: Nikola Predović

2016

The Constitution (Ustav Republike Hrvatske): Grlic’s twelve theatrical feature, co-written with Ante Tomic, produced by Inter film - Zagreb, In Film - Prague, Revolution Production - Skopje, Sever & Sever -Ljubljana, HRT - Zagreb, Film & Music Entertainment - London, NP7 - Zagreb   and the Council of Europe’s co-production support funds – Eurimages and Media. Premiered in October 2016 in Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia.

The Constitution (Ustav Republike Hrvatske): Hena com, Zagreb Published film script as a book.

The Constitution (Ustav Republike Hrvatske): Kerempuh teeter, Zagreb premiered theatrical production based on the film script.   
 
Every Good Story is a Love Story (Vsaka dobra zgodba je ljubezenska zgodba): Documentary feature film co-directed with Matjaz Ivansin and co-produced with Daniel Hocevar for Vertigo, Ljubljana and NP,7 Zagreb with support of Ohio University and Slovenian Film Fund.  

Retrospective in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Photo gallery

Rajko Grlić and Živko Zalar on the set of  Bravo Maestro
Rajko Grlić and Živko Zalar on the set of 'Bravo Maestro'
Rajko Grlić, Tokyo, 1987
Rajko Grlić, Tokyo, 1987
Rajko Grlić, New York, 1993
Rajko Grlić, New York, 1993
Rajko Grlić and actor Davor Janjić on the set of  Charuga
Rajko Grlić and actor Davor Janjić on the set of 'Charuga'
Rajko Grlić and Slobodan Trninić on the set of  Border Post
Rajko Grlić and Slobodan Trninić on the set of 'Border Post'
Slobodan Trninić, Rajko Grlić and Ivo Hušnjak on the set of  Just Between Us  <em>© Nikola Predović</em>
Slobodan Trninić, Rajko Grlić and Ivo Hušnjak on the set of 'Just Between Us' © Nikola Predović
Radko Polič, Matjaž Ivanišin and Rajko Grlić while filming  Every Good Story is a Love Story  <em>© Saša Huzjak</em>
Radko Polič, Matjaž Ivanišin and Rajko Grlić while filming 'Every Good Story is a Love Story' © Saša Huzjak
Rajko Grlić and Ante Tomić on the set of  The Constitution  <em>© Hà Kin</em>
Rajko Grlić and Ante Tomić on the set of 'The Constitution' © Hà Kin
Rajko Grlić, Ksenija Marinković, Nebojša Glogovac and Dejan Aćimović on the set of  The Constitution  <em>© Saša Huzjak</em>
Rajko Grlić, Ksenija Marinković, Nebojša Glogovac and Dejan Aćimović on the set of 'The Constitution' © Saša Huzjak

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