On the Water

Documentary feature / 2018.

DirectorGoran Dević
ScreenplayGoran Dević
CinematographyDamian Nenadić
EditingVanja Siruček, Jan Klemsche
Sound designMartin Semenčić
ProducerHrvoje Osvadić
ProductionPetnaesta umjetnost
Croatian distributionRestart
World distributionPetnaesta umjetnost
SupportHrvatski audiovizualni centar (HAVC), Grad Sisak
Watch onlinehttps://dafilms.com/film/10725-on-the-water
Watch onlinehttps://vimeo.com/ondemand/onthewater


Rivers may be simple geographical entities. But beyond that they are eloquent micro-milieus where history and stories have accumulated. The rivers Save, Kupa and Odra flow through the centre of the Croatian industrial town of Sisak. They were and are the lifelines of the city and the region. The rivers may appear like pastoral havens today, but the countless narratives of the past emerge more openly there than anywhere else.

Most of the river dwellers’ and users’ lives around which Goran Dević structures his film are linked to the events of the Yugoslavian civil war and its ethnic and social conflicts. Even though it was more than two and a half decades ago, this historic period seems like a parallel reality which throws its shadows over the protagonists like a permanent trauma. “On the Water” is a poetic and political study about the changeability and constancy of people and spaces in which the dividing line between the two is permanently blurred.

In this touching documentary, Goran Devic captures poetic visuals of his hometown in Croatia that was once a thriving multinational community. Critics proclaim “On the Water” as one of his best achievements and the jury of the DOK Leipzig honoured him because it ‘’beautifully shows that despite the trauma and the scars of war, humanity and survival transcend’’.

Year: / 2018 / Format: DCP / Duration: 79′ / color / Orig. Title: Na vodi

About director

Goran Dević

was born in Sisak, Croatia, in 1971. He studied law, archaeology and film art at Academy of Dramatic Art, University of Zagreb, Croatia. His filmography includes several documentaries and short films. Teaches documentary film at the Academy of Dramatic Arts. He is the author of award-winning documentary films: On The Water (2018), The Steel Mill Café (2017), 65+ (2016), Two Furnaces for Udarnik Josip Trojko (2012), Don Juan: Excuse Me, Miss (2010), The Flood (2010), Happy Land (2009), Three (2008), I Have Nothing Nice to Say to You (2005), Imported Crows (2004) and others. Film The Blacks (2009), which he codirected, was his feature film debut also woon grand prix Ljubljana Film Festival Slovenia 2009; grand prix Festival autorskog filma Serbia 2009; FIPRESCI award Cottbus Film Festival Germany 2009; special award for directing Cottbus Film Festival Germany 2009; Golden Arena for directing Pula Film Festival Croatia 2009;

Retrospectives of his documentaries were screened at Arsenal Berlin, Crossing Europe Filmfestival Linz.

Festivals and Awards

  • International Festival for Documentary and Animated Film DOK Leipzig 2018 – Special Mention
  • Free Zone Film Festival 2018
  • Human Rights Film Festival 2018
  • DocAviv – Telaviv 2019.
  • Croatian Film Days 2019 – Best Cinematography (Damian Nenadić)
  • International Film Festival UnderhillFest 2019 – Special Jury Mention
  • Liburnia Film Festival 2019 – Best Directing (Goran Dević); Best Sound Design (Martin Semenčić) 
  • International Documentary and Short Film Festival DokuFest 2019 – Special Jury Mention
  • DOKUart – Documentary Film Festival 2019
  • Minsk International Film Festival 2019
  • Eastern Neighbours Film Festival 2019
  • Dokumentarni net 2019. Best Directing (Goran Dević), Best Camera (Damian Nenadić) i Best Editing (Vanja Siruček, Jan Klemsche)