Stipe Božić & his films arrive at Cinehill


One of the most esteemed alpinists, presenting the best of his documentarist oeuvre, to be an honorary guest at the festival bringing together film and mountaineering

In the words of Stipe Božić, one of the most successful Croatian and international alpinists who summited the three highest peaks in the world, as well as the highest peaks of all seven continents, “Nature teaches us humanity and how to be true to who we are. Up in the mountains, you realise people worry too much about trivial matters and become slaves to material things. Up there, there is no reason to lie or mess about.” This summer he will climb up Petehovac, a mountain above the town of Delnice – the new home of the popular Motovun Film Festival. Božić’ documentaries are a lasting testimony of the human effort to reach the top, the best of which will be shown at Cinehill, taking place from 24 – 28 July.

It has been exactly 45 years since Božić’ first ascent to the top of the world – in 1979, he recorded his first shots on Mount Everest. He recalls those days and says alpinism was different back then, because there was absolutely no way to buy food or rent accommodation from anyone throughout their entire journey. They had to do absolutely everything by themselves, accompanied by an army of about 750 porters who worked on that first expedition. They often went up paths where no human foot had trodden before, so for that first ascent they chose the side of the mountain that no one had climbed before, they were pioneers in the true sense of the word.

“It was the happiest moment of my life. Everything in my heart changed, I felt like the emissary of all my friends and all the rest of Earth’s inhabitants who had ever dreamt of reaching the top of the world. Humans often die and seldomly win out there. I think a mountaineer has to a be a tad crazy to take up a challenge like that”, Božić later wrote.

As part of an international expedition, he reached the North Pole on skis, and one time descended 1,395 metres down the underground Luka’s Cave on the Velebit mountain. If we consider the height difference between Luka’s cave and Mount Everest, Božić also holds a kind of world height record. In addition to pursuing his greatest passion, this respected alpinist is also a writer, photographer, cinematographer, film director, and motivational speaker.

Cinehill will be an opportunity for viewers to be reminded of his cinematic oeuvre. He recorded kilometres of footage using a professional film camera, bringing the remotest corners of the world closer to the viewers. He directed more than 120 documentaries belonging to several documentary series, and participated in many international film festivals. In 1999, his film Reticent Wall won the Silver Gentian for Best sports Documentary at the Trento FF, while the Dhaulagiri Express was awarded at festivals in Italy, Slovakia and Austria.

These two films, as well as the documentary series Deserts of the World, will be shown at the first fully mountain-bound edition of Cinehill. The screenings will be accompanied by interesting lectures, while one screening will be held inside the magical forest park Golubinjak, a popular destination for Croatian climbers.

On his travels, Stipe Božić took many accomplished photographs which he exhibited in group and solo exhibitions. He is also the author of numerous newspaper articles, featurettes and books. Just recently at the Brdo knjiga festival in Samobor, he presented his new book Planine (Mountains), co- published with his colleague Alan Čaplar on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Croatian Mountaineering Association.

“You can go anywhere and climb to any altitude, descend to any depth, but if you haven’t brought back a story with you then it’s all in vain. Once we are gone, the only thing left behind will be the stories, and this story is a unique in the world”, said Božić before a full auditorium at the festival where Cinehill was also presented.

In the year that marks the 150th anniversary of organised mountaineering in Croatia, Cinehill is opening its doors to welcome all the interested mountaineers by offering discounts on cinema tickets that can be obtained by presenting their little green mountaineering booklets, as well as special tours led by the Croatian Mountaineering Society Petehovac for anyone interested in getting to know the hiking trails around Cinehill new home.

The festival that succeeded the Motovun Film Festival is supported by the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, the Tourist Boards of Kvarner and Gorski Kotar, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, and in cooperation with the City of Delnice and the Municipality of Lokve.

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