EFP Shooting Star Marija Skaricic

By Goran Ivanisevic

    European Film Promotion's (www.efp-online.com) Shooting Stars includes on of Croatia's leading young actresses, Marija Skaricic (Škaričić), born in the seaside town of Split, Croatia, on 6 August 1977. EFP's Shooting Stars will be presented at a series of events on 12-14 February at the Berlinale.

    {mosimage}Skaricic developed an affection for film a little girl filmed by the family's 8mm camera, and as an adolescent when she prefered watching films alone. She attended the drama studio at City Youth Theatre in Split, and managed (on her third attempt) to gain admision to the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb, where she completed her formal training in 2003. Since 2001, she has performed in professional theatre productions at the national theatres in Split, Rijeka and Zagreb.

    Marija says that she did not choose to act in film, but that film choose her. She appeared in several small roles before getting her first leading role in the awarded black and white film A Wonderful Night In Split (Arsen Anton Ostojic, 2004). The role of heroin addict in that film earned her the Heart of Sarajevo award for Best Actress at the Sarajevo Film Festival, and the film was awarded with the Special Jury Award by the jury chaired by Mike Leigh. She prepared for the role with the help of a specialist doctor and by meeting cured addicts in Split.

    The following year she appeared alongside Zrinka Cvitesic and Leon Lucev in the romantic comedy What Is A Man Without A Moustache? (Hrvoje Hribar, 2005), the most popular Croatian film in last decade with over 140,000 admissions.

    In 2006, she was awarded another Heart of Sarajevo for her performance in the award-winning Swiss-German film Fraulein by Andrea Staka, while the film got the Best Film Award. Fraulein previously won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival.

    Her recent films include Burhan Qurbani's debut feature German film Shahada and Zvonimir Juric's short Yellow Moon, both premiered in competition of the 2010 Berlinale. Yellow Moon (also part of the Zagreb Stories omnibus) got the Best Short Award at the Sarajevo Film Festival.

    For her latest role of a single mother escaping from a violent husband with her young son, in Dalibor Matanic's Mother Of Asphalt, she won the Golden Arena for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 57th Pula Film Festival as well as the Best Actress Prize at FIPA in Biarritz, while the film got the Fipa d'or prize for best film.

    The Shooting Star jury noted "her impressive technical command manages to encompass a wide range of emotions, from the fragile to the intense. A classically versatile actress, capable of both elegance and edginess." Skaricic is particulary strong in the roles of emotionally wounded women, yound mothers and wives. She has the capacity to transmit emotions to the viewer with few words, and speaks without artificiality.

    Asked on her acting metod, she says: "I do not have a fixed one - I use various methods and they change as I do. I believe the basis of my acting is to be relaxed and firmly present in the moment."

    The director of her latest film, Dalibor Matanic, says that "she was an introverted girl during her studies. However, she recently liberated herself, and became one of the best young actresses. She prepares for a role thoroughly, investing a lot of effort even in the smallest details. Therefor I did not doubt for a second who to call to act the main role in my film."

    She is a freelance artist, and therefor says that she can rarely refuse an offered acting job. "I cannot live out of air for the sake of art," she says. She teaches acting as an assistent professor at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb, where she is adored by students. Presently she is preparing to act in the theatre production of Euripides Medea in Zagreb.