The master of ceremonies, Mr Nikola Racan (and Delta) ladies and gentlemen.
Photography, introduction & captions:
Most beach holidays tend to follow the same drill: relax on the beach, drink cocktails with silly names, try some local food, maybe read a few pages of that book you’ll never finish and Instagram a picture of the sunset. All of that stuff is great of course, but perhaps like me, you find yourself hitting the post-sunset, post-dinner wall and asking yourself: “What the fuck do I do now?” Well, my friends, there’s a small fishing village called Fažana in northern Croatia that holds the answer. Because once the sun is down and the food digested, it’s time for Vladimir Film Festival to begin.
This annual gathering of skateboarders, filmmakers, photographers, writers, poets and cheap booze enthusiasts has become a staple for many, and for good reason. The four-day program features an eclectic mix of films, exhibitions and speeches from people all over the world, shown in some genuinely awe-inspiring locations in and around Fažana and its neighbouring city, Pula. So, as long as the organisers of this amazing event continue to summon the super-human levels of enthusiasm, energy and patience required to make it happen, I’ll be packing my snorkel, swim shorts and somewhat begrudgingly, my skateboard and heading to Fažana to enjoy the best beach holiday that isn’t a beach holiday on earth.
In addition to the DIY (revamped in time for last year’s VX edition of the festival), there is a new skatepark a short cycle / skate down the coast from Fažana, at Hidrobaza . The accessibly-sized obstacles should make this one a favourite for the aged and the hungover for years to come.
Joe O´Donnell doing something as odd as you’d expect.
The first night of screenings in the beautiful main square of Fažana.
Al Hodgson shortly after screening his new OWL project, Villagers Chapter #3.
Stu Smith and Dave Morgan hosting their stalls at the seafront skate market in Fažana.
The Kasarna mini ramp session absolutely went off on Friday night, as is tradition. Toby Thorpe, backside tailslide.
Dave Morgan, frontside rock.
Conor Charleson at Kasarna.
The fortress infinity wall session is a bit of a Vladimir staple at this point, but it’s always sick to see new approaches and unseen tricks. Anja Paternoster, bert slide.
Aref Koushesh, frontside grab nose bash.
Approximately three seconds before this picture was taken, Marcus (Craven) had fallen into a large bush just out of frame.
At the top of Fort Forno during a stunning sunset, we were treated to poetry from Mátyás Ricsi, a spoken essay from Spencer Legebokoff, a book reading from Olly Todd as well as a speech by photographer Jacob Dellacher about his fantastic Polar exhibition inside the fortress walls.
Connor Kammerer diligently logging events at Fort Forno.
Olly Todd reading excerpts from his book, Out for Air.
Tibor Rep once again cooked up an absolute storm for the hungry masses.
The Hera Skate exhibition inside the fortress.
A really impressive looping projection of Rich Hart’s new project Super L8.
Tibor Jakulic, Delta and an enormous projector on an unseasonably cold evening in Barbariga.
For safety and fun, several smaller crews who had cycled out to the fortress decided to create a 20 or 25-person strong convoy for the journey home. The mass of head torches and lights made it a genuinely beautiful sight on the pitch-black roads. It’s probably the closest thing to a Critical Mass that Fažana has ever seen.
Jordan Thackery, Bennett grind, Pula.
Mikey Patrick, 360 flip, Pula.
The audience for the SANTS4EVER video by Marcos Lozano at the Bowling Space in central Pula.
Patrik Wallner‘s fantastic photography exhibition The Decaying Stars, which lined the walls of the Bowling Space.
Immediately preceding Patrick Wallner’s new Cuba edit El Flujo and First Push, a documentary about skateboarding in Pakistan, we were treated to quite a drastic change of vibe courtesy of two punk bands.
I think it’s fair to say that the weather for this year’s festival was suboptimal. Regardless, the Fažana waterfront was still the perfect place to be in between showers if you like hearing skateboarders complain about sharp rocks while trying to swim out the previous night’s intake of Ožujsko.
The car park directly outside Nikola Racan’s house was host to a large impromptu session on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, after testing positive for Covid, Nikola was quarantining inside, which I imagine made all the fun we were having on his DIY obstacles quite a torturous experience for him. Mikey Patrick, melon.
Joe Paget, frontside bluntslide.
Nikola Racan addressing the audience, which, due to a huge storm, had gathered in his childhood school’s gymnasium while he quarantined in his house a few hundred metres away. Somehow he still managed to bring the hype before Brett Nichols’ Broadway And Pathways 2 closed the festival with a bang.
The audience at the school gymnasium on Sunday night.
In the past, the Vladimir pub quiz has seen a few disagreements between gobby (usually English) smart-arses and an exasperated quizmaster, and this year was no exception. The prolonged disagreement about whether it was Dwayne Coleman or Matt Hay in Tall Boy who skated to the same song as Colin McKay took the whole thing to a new level of extremely specific comedic farce.
Daryl Dominguez, backside smith grind in inappropriate footwear.
Daryl Dominguez, Fort Benedetto.