Factum is the leading Croatian independent documentary production. In the twenty five years of its existence it produced more than 80 documentaries, shown at more than hundred festivals.
The Imaginary Academy was envisaged in the mid-nineties as a unique film and educational project. It was supposed to create a certain space of freedom of cinematic opinion and creativity in an environment of rigid and state-controlled cinema, not only in Croatia, but the entire region as well. The best proof to that fact was that former president Tuđman in one of his speeches attacked the Academy initiators for decroatising Croatian culture.
The project was launched by Rajko Grlić, Nenad Puhovski and Vjeran Zuppa, who were soon joined by Karpo Godina, Branko Ivanda, Lew Hunter, Yvette Biro, Lisa Bruce, Ademir Kenović, Igor Koršič, Robert Nickson, Sergej Pristaš and over fifty world-acclaimed professionals who worked with the participants on their projects. Institutionally, the Imaginary Academy was established by the University of Ohio from Athens and Centre for Dramatic Art from Zagreb (CDU), with the Academy of Dramatic Art later on.
The Imaginary Academy was initially envisaged as a place of development of film projects by the most talented young filmmakers from the entire regions and Eastern Europe. The working principle was mentorship and individual work. In the beginning the Academy organised workshops in screenwriting, production and multimedia. The sessions took place in the Istrian town of Grožnjan (CDU and IOD Croatia even renovated a special house for the workshops) and Athens, Ohio.
In 1997 the Academy also started a documentary workshop, initially led by Nenad Puhovski and Karpo Godina, and later by Branko Ivanda. It was the only workshop that really made films. The mentors proposed the participants a wide array of topics, and throughout the workshop (two to three weeks) they made additional research and a film. Naturally, there was a possibility of proposing other topics, as well.
While other workshops lasted only a few weeks, the existence of Factum, which at that time was also part of CDU, made it possible for the documentaries to be produced at their natural pace of a few months. After the filming session in Istria, Factum continued with the post-production and distribution. Sometimes the films were completed in the participants’ native country, sometimes they joined forces and edited the films outside Croatia and wrapped them up in Zagreb, especially if a project was made on a 16mm tape.
From 1997 to 2001 nineteen documentary films were made. Some of them, like Years of Rust or Think Pink won awards at the Days of Croatian Film for best Croatian documentary, as well as a host of other awards. An added value of the workshop is also the fact that it included many famous today’s documentarians and filmmaker including Ahmed Imamović, Diana Groo, Igor Mirković, Dalibor Matanić, Tomislav Rukavina, Stanislav Tomić, Andrej Korovljev, Zrinka Matijević, Nebojša Slijepčević, Aldo Tardozzi, Fatmir Koci, Levan Koguashvili etc.
In changed political and social circumstances and relationships between the founders, in the mid-2000s the Imaginary Academy changed its structure, leading to the discontinuation of its documentary workshop.