Filming of the “Death of the Little Match Girl”, based on a Zoran Ferić novel, will start next autumn. Film will be directed by Goran Kulenović, who also, along with Ferrić, worked on the script. This crime thriller project was presented at Rab Film Festival today.

The project is currently in final stages of pre-production, and already has confirmed some memers of the cast: Ozren Grabarić, Jelena Lopatić and Borko Perić will be leading it. Opening night is expected in springtime 2021.

“The more crime there is in Croatian society, the less of it we see in the films”, said Ferić, adding that the novel “Death of the Little Match Girl” was, among other things, a result of a nostalgia he feels for the island of Rab, which is his summer oasis for over 30 years.

Goran Kulenović said that with this film he want to find out if a genre film – of a specific islandy lifestyle of mid 90ies , with war going on, and a topic of a murder investigation of Romanian transsexual prostitute – will be a bait for Croatian, regional and international audience. They expect that the trump cards of the film will be “brilliant Ferić details” with a lot of black humour and bizarreness.

Producers Ivor Hadžiabdić and Antun Bahat also expect good results, considering the success of English and Scandinavian crime films.


In a bleak autumn plagued by war, the newly divorced pathologist Fero returns, for the first time in years, to the island of Rab, where he spent the better part of his childhood. Fero has come to attend the funeral of his friend Globus’s daughter, but is soon drawn into the murder investigation of a Romanian prostitute, led by his friend Mungos, the chief constable. While they are trying to find the murderer among the familiar faces of the islanders and the number of suspects is quickly growing, a big mistake from their youth is casting an ever longer shadow over Fero and Mungos. Fero gets in touch with Franka, the object of his old unfulfilled love, who is now in a relationship with an older writer. Driven by those ghosts from his past, Fero continues the investigation on his own.

The ending is unexpected and shocking.


The film Death of the Little Match Girl is a combination of a genre film (a mystery thriller) and an intimate and generational drama, but it is also a depiction of a particular island community in two very specific time periods (the golden age of tourism in the early 1970s and the tourist ‘wasteland’ in the early 1990s). Just as we have paid attention in the screenplay to delicately interlace these levels, it is important, in directing as well as in the visual approach to the film, to strike a balance between what is stylised, ‘unhinged’ in the story and what should be depicted in a more naturalistic, almost documentary, way; the elements of the one and the other are present in all three, already mentioned, levels of the story. If we were to look for a short and catchy phrase to describe this film, we would call it a ‘Mediterranean noir’. It abounds with the elements of noir: a murder investigation that triggers the story of an intimate drama of a hero tormented by his past; an unfulfilled love; a depressed (semi)-urban community hiding dark secrets behind its lovely façade; a gallery of unusual characters, who, as the story unfolds, reveal a different side to them; cynical humour in combination with unpleasant or even eerie scenes…

  • Original film title: Smrt djevojčice sa žigicama
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Duration: 110 min.
  • Status: Late stages of pre-production owing to the funding by HAVC and Croatian Radio-Television
  • Filming period: 15 October 2020 – 15 November 2020
  • Locations: The island of Rab and other locations
  • Written by: Zoran Ferić, Goran Kulenović, based on the novel of the same name by Zoran Ferić
  • Directed by: Goran Kulenović
  • Cinematography by: Mirko Pivčević
  • Production: Livada produkcija d.o.o.
  • Produced by: Ivor Hadžiabdić, Antun Bahat
  • Confirmed cast: Ozren Grabarić, Jelena Lopatić, Borko Perić