It has been thirteen years since the halting beginnings of the Film Programmes in the "good, old Cinematheque" in Kordunska Street. Some were happy, some less so, hard, easy, but still all of them a joy to remember. Those were the first steps of the long-time planned Film Center based on the idea of the now late Vjekoslav Majcen, Hrvoje Turković and Vera Robić Škarica. In the process of putting this long desired project on paper they were joined by Mate Kukuljica, and it was boosted into implementation by the late Ladislav Galeta, as well as people from the former City Department for Culture Andrea Zlatar and Vladimir Stojsavljević, and the Minister of Culture Antun Vuić and the Assistant Minister Biserka Cvjetičanin.
In the autumn of 2001, I joined them as the Programmes’ manager and on October 16 we screened our first film (with an indicative title) Idiots by Lars von Trier. By the end of 2001, we held the Programmes only once a week, but yet by the end of that year we had had 28 screenings of national and international film classics. What followed was a series of director, national, genre and in memoriam retrospectives, whose number of viewers grew more and more. To date the champions among them are the retrospectives of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, the retrospective of Spanish films by Almodovar, Amenabar, as well as great masters of the seventh art such as Bergman, Fellini and Visconti, who always seem to attract some new audience and are adored by the old one, especially when seen on the big screen for the umpteenth time… We entered March of 2004 with all those grand directors, actors and films and moved into the, then severely damaged, premises of the Tuškanac cinema, which was formerly known as the iconic cinema Sloboda, frequented by lovers of films and especially westerns. If we did not have photographs from that time, we would doubt even our own memories: it seems barely possible, that we managed to turn the ruins which we found there into a relatively decent and comfortable "good, old cinema". After three years in Kordunska Street, the first program on the edge of the Tuškanac forest happened on March 16, 2004 (on the same date, the 16th, as in 2001), and the Film Programmes were officially opened by the mayor Milan Bandić.
Very soon the screening became a daily occurrence, the number of retrospectives and films increased, and different film festivals discovered this film theatre as their first or second home. Furthermore, the number of audience increased, we introduced membership cards so the most loyal viewers became the members of our cinema, and some, like the late Tom Gotovac, always sat in the same row, on the same seat, as well as the legendary ticket taker from Cinematheque Božo Cerin in his fourth row on the right... This is well known and remembered.
All of this would not be possible without the financial help of our founder the City of Zagreb, the Department for Education, Culture and Sport, the constant and rich cooperation with the Croatian Film Archive, the support of the Croatian Audiovisual Center, ant the help of foreign cultural centres and embassies. During our first year in Kordunska Street we started the cooperation with the French Institute, the Goethe-Institute, the Italian Cultural Institute, the Embassies of Sweden, Poland... it was the beginning of a wonderful friendship in socializing with films by Bresson, Corneau, Rohmer, Zanussi, Bauer, Gluščević, Dovniković, Papić, Lang, Malle, Pilat, Vadim, Wenders, Fassbinder, Herzog, Stiller and Sjöström, Zaluski, Ferreri… Our circle of friendships continues to grow, including or valuable associates from the Embassy of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Portugal, Spain, Germany, India, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, China, Hungary, Finland, Israel, Korea, the Iranian Cultural Centre, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the British Council… and the Yugoslav Film Archive, Jadran film, Croatia film, Zagreb film, Discovery Film, VTI, MG film, and two enthusiasts from the only museum in the world dedicated to only one film: Karin and Gerhard from the Viennese museum The Third Man…
Therefore we once more have to thank all our associates and friends, all professional and amateur film lovers who have in different ways participated with us in the creation of these programs in the last ten years. Many of them enriched the content of our 38 program booklets with their texts, but it is better not to name all of them individually on this occasion because someone might be inadvertently forgotten… But those who are no longer with us, and who have left an extremely significant trace in this first Tuškanac decade, must never be forgotten, so the late Vjekoslav Majcen, Ladislav Galeta, Zoran Tadić, Ante Peterlić, Ivo Škrabalo, Mato Kukuljica, Tom Gotovac, Joža Štajner and Vedran Šamanović are forever with us. To all of them we thank profoundly.