Stipe Ercegović, a film director and the president of the Tin Ujević Croatian Community of Belgrade offered a screening of his films Tko je bio Mate Brničević? (Who Was Mate Brničević?) and Sumpetar: ljubav duha i kamena (Sumpetar: The Love of Spirit and Stone) to audiences in Dugi Rat. A native of the nearby settlement of Krilo Jesenice, his work treats the Podstrane region.

Stipe Ercegović, a film director and the president of the Tin Ujević Croatian Community of Belgrade offered a screening of his films on the 21st of July to audiences in Dugi Rat. A native of the nearby settlement of Krilo Jesenice, his work treats the Podstrane region.
One of the two films screened, Tko je bio Mate Brničević? (Who Was Mate Brničević?) tells the story of another resident of Ercegović’s native village that led one of the largest mutinies by navy sailors in these parts. The mutiny began in February of 1918 at the 5th Fleet, stationed at the marine base in the Bay of Kotor. There were six thousand mutineers on forty ships seeking better living and working conditions and an end to the First World War. The mutiny did not spread outside of Kotor – the mutineers fail to remain united and units faithful to their Austrian overlords arrived in three days time. They fired a few rounds of artillery fire upon the rebel ships whereupon they were captured by Austrian Royal Marines. Some five hundred sailors were imprisoned, forty of which were court martialled. The authorities wished to see them all sentenced to death – upon an intervention from Vienna it was decided that only every tenth would be executed. These were the leaders of the rebellion: the Czech František Raš and the Croatians Antun Grabar, Jerko Šižgorić and Mate Brničević. The earthly remains of Mate Brničević were taken to his native village between the two world wars and laid to rest in a tomb created by sculptor Ivan Rendić. His coffin was seen off in Kotor with all honours, and equally received with all honours in Split and Krilo Jesenice – “He dies not who falls for the homeland”.
The second film, Sumpetar: ljubav duha i kamena (Sumpetar: The Love of Spirit and Stone), tells of the sacral architecture of the village, for the most part encapsulated in the local church dedicated to St Peter the Apostle, erected some one hundred years ago thanks to the efforts of the then parish priest Don Frane Ivanišević, a Catholic priest who also left his mark on the culture scene of the period.
This is not, however, all that we can expect this year from the very active leader of the Croatian community in Belgrade – unofficial estimates put the size of the community at some seven and one half thousand members, but this figure is not nearly accurate as it does not take into consideration the fact that there are some twenty-three thousand born to parents of mixed ethnicity.
The organisation is preparing a lexicon of prominent Croatians in Belgrade throughout history. The renowned Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović left his mark in this city, as did sculptor and one of the founders of the Art Academy Toma Rosandić. Also noteworthy are Tin Ujević, Bartol Kašić and Antun Gustav Matoš, about whom Stipe Ercegović is shooting his next film and for which he has already received funding from the Serbian culture ministry. The lexicon will also include composer Josip Slavenski, after whom a number of music schools in Serbia have been named and in whose honour a gala concert is to be staged at the end of the year at the Vuk Karadžić Culture Centre on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of his death, an event that will also feature performances by students of a number of Croatian music schools. Among contemporaries the lexicon is also to feature poet Ljiljana Crnić, actors Aljoša Vučković and Aleksandar Alač and many others.

Text by: Branka Bezić Filipović