“Here, the cleaning lady and the director are both workers”
Croatia, 2005. A machine tools plant is taken over by its workers. It turns into the only successful example of a factory occupation in post-socialist Europe. Ten years after this revolutionary turning point, the rebellious employee behind the occupation now strives to prevent a production shutdown. Sustainability depends on the sacrifices of the workers protecting their livelihood from the threats of a ruthless economy. For 5 years, director Srđan Kovačević follows the inside story of the people who struggle to keep the once prestigious factory running. A decade later, the question remains: can the slogan “Factory to the Workers” be kept alive, or is it just a utopian dream?
I belong to a generation whose coming of age was strongly marked by the process of Croatian postwar privatization, the transition of commonly owned resources into private hands. I’ve witnessed the shutdown of many factories which kept whole families fed. ITAS was a different example: the only factory in ex Yugoslavia (and Europe), in which the workers organized, physically took over and managed to continue the production. My initial intention was to show the good example, to share the knowledge with the hope that such endeavours can pave the way to a mor fair economy. But my daily presence among workers made me realize that the story is much more complex.
Capitalism as a system is still the frame within which all alternative forms of production have to survive. The workers are torn between the loyalty to the idea of self-management and the need for bigger incomes that ITAS can’t provide, while on a bigger scale ITAS is an outsourced plant for big German companies, and is stuck in its peripheral position. Factory to the workers aims to show the complexity of capitalist economy, which determines alternative organisational models far more than a romanticised view is ready to admit.
Writer, Director, DOP: Srđan Kovačević
Producers: Sabina Krešić, Luka Venturin
Editors: Damir Čučić, Srđan Kovačević, Iva Kraljević
Sound Design: Ranko Pauković
Color Corection: Color bureau: Branko Linta, Magdalena Ptiček
Design: Šesnić & Turković
Production Company: FADE IN
Supported by: Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC), City of Zagreb
2022. „Maslačak“ 13. Underhill Film Festival, Best regional film
2022. „Grand prix“ na 31. danima Hrvatskog filma, Best Croatian film
2022. 31. Dani Hrvatskog filma, Best Croatian documentary film
2022. Crossing Europe Film Festival Linz, Best documentary film
2022. Award „Oktavijan“ Croatian Society of Film Critics for the best Croatian documentary film
2022. Trieste Film Festival 2022- Best feature documentary film
2021. Motovun Film Festival- FIPRESCI best documentary film
2021. Liburnia Film Festival – Best documentary film
Sheffiled Doc/Fest (svjetska premijera 2021), DocLisboa, Sarajevo Film Festival, True/False Film Festival, Motovun Film Festival, Liburnia Film Festival, Subversive Film Festival, Cottbus Film Festival, Trieste Film Festival, Dok.Fest Munchen, Crossing Europe Film Festival, 31. Dani Hrvatskog Filma, Beldosc, Underhill Film Festival