Once Upon a Youth


Thirteen years after the unexpected death of his best friend, the filmmaker tries to reconstruct his life and their relationship, using only the photographs and video materials which his friend shot back then. A film about the lost generation of Croatian youth at the end of the ’90s, who are trying to find their identity in the aftermath of a devastating war.

Director’s biography

Ivan Ramljak (born 1974) is a film critic, director and an independent curator. Since 2013 he has been curating a short film program called Short Tuesday at The Tuškanac cinema in Zagreb, and since 2016 he has been the artistic director of Tabor Film Festival. So far, he has directed nine shorts and one medium length film, four of those in collaboration with Marko Škobalj. His most successful film so far was the short documentary Islands of Forgotten Cinemas, 2016, which was screened on more than 40 international festivals and won 6 awards, including the FIPRESCI prize for Best Eastern European dox at goEast Film Festival in Wiesbaden. His first medium length documentary Home of the Resistance had a world premiere at Cinéma du Réel in 2018 and has been screened on a dozen international festivals since then. Once Upon a Youth is his first feature documentary.

Festivals and awards

Best Balkan Documentary – Dokufest 2020
Grand Prix – Dani Hrvatskog Filma 2020
Open City Documentary Festival 2020


Once Upon a Youth (doc.)
Director: Ivan Ramljak
Country: Croatia
Year: 2020
Runtime: 78′
Language: Croatian
Cast: Ivan Ramljak, Marcela Skobal, Nevena Caklovic
Production: Academy of Dramatic Arts Zagreb
Website: www.facebook.com/ojednojmladostifilm/
Balkan Horizons