In Cultura Veritas
These short films about four local museums from Croatia and Slovenia were produced as a part of the project In Cultura Veritas, a European Union cross-border cooperation aimed at active protection of cultural heritage in the cross-border area of the Zagreb County (Croatia) and sub-regions of Obsotelje and Kozjansko (Slovenia)—the region where viticulture, that companion of civilization, has merged with the countryside, history, culture, and life of the people. By presenting this winegrowing tradition in an innovative way along with cultural heritage will help to create a tourist destination and ensure its sustainability. The project activities are carried out by six project partners: the Development Agency Sotla, the Municipality of Šmarje pri Jelšah, and the Institute of Agriculture and Forestry Maribor from Slovenia; and the Zagreb County (lead partner), the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies and the Museum Documentation Center from Croatia. The project is implemented with the support of the Cooperation Programme INTERREG V-A Slovenia – Croatia 2014 – 2020. The expected outcomes of the project are an increase in the number of visitors of the four museums included in the project and the cultural heritage of the sub-region, strengthened capacities of the key stakeholders, development of a new tourism destination and a comprehensive promotional campaign for the cross-border region with a rich cultural history and a long winegrowing tradition. Special emphasis was put, among other activities, on the production of the four videos following the workshops that the Museum Documentation Center (MDC) organized with the curators of the four local museums situated in the project area: the Museum of Samobor, the Museum of Sv. Ivan Zelina, the Town Museum of Jastrebarsko, and the Baroque Museum in Šmarje pri Jelšah. During the workshops, the MDC team identified tangible cultural heritage—the museum objects and documents referring to famous historical figures and events; and intangible cultural heritage—traditions, performing arts, local crafts, stories, and legends connected to the history of the cities and their centuries-old winegrowing tradition. The findings were amazing and, to the general public unknown stories, that gave us an idea of combining storytelling with new technologies instead of making a generic promotional video presentation of the museums and their permanent exhibitions. In the Museum of Sv. Ivan Zelina, we found out that Ludwig van Beethoven was drinking wine from Zelina, which the Countess of Erdödy and owner of vineyards had sent to his home in Vienna. As a friend of Beethoven, she was one of the women believed to have been his “immortal beloved”—an unnamed woman Beethoven mentioned in one of his letters. In the Town Museum of Jastrebarsko, we discovered museum objects from the Villa Horvat, a summer retreat visited by celebrities like Charlie Chaplin and Isadora Duncan. In the Museum of Samobor situated in the region with a tradition of winegrowing dating back seven centuries, we connected the veneration of wine with the oldest Croatian glassmaking industry. The Baroque Museum in Šmarje pri Jelšah (Slovenia) built at the foot of the 18th century Calvary, preserves original and restored almost 300 years old wooden sculptures from the Calvary Chapels, one of the most picturesque pilgrimage trails in former Inner Austria. During the workshops with curators, we found out that Matej Vrečer, the parish priest who constructed the Calvary, being from the winegrowing region he was a proud owner of a remarkable wine cellar. According to legend, during a period of drought, the chapels’ walls were covered with plaster mixed with wine instead of water. To tell these stories in sixty seconds, we needed an innovative approach, so we chose Eclectica—a film & TV production and post-production company from Zagreb that is working with the youngest generation of Croatian filmmakers and artists. The director Judita Gamulin decided to use different techniques and latest technological innovations, drone shots, parallax 3d photos, animated photos, fictional documentaries, and animated sketches done by a young painter, illustrator, designer, and street artist Mislav Lešić. His art brings to mind Dürer’s woodcuts and the features of the peasant festival prints that were the “promotional videos” of the 16th century having the broadest possible audience spanning various classes of the society. We believe that the chosen approach that combined storytelling, the concept based on “great stories” in which historical figures and sites, museum artifacts, and specifics of local traditions intertwine with historical legends and the innovative visual vocabulary, has created exciting promotional films that can be appealing to all the generations of museum visitors.