Pula Film Festival

Pula Film Festival: A Cinematic Experience in a Historical Setting

Top Highlights

  • Starting From July 15 to July 23
  • Oldest Croatian film festival
  • Located in the iconic Pula Arena, a Roman amphitheater
  • Opportunity to view Croatian and international films
  • Grand awards ceremony – the Golden Arenas
  • A unique blend of cinema, history, and culture

About the Pula Film Festival

If you’re a film buff and a history enthusiast, the Pula Film Festival is tailor-made for you. Located in the breathtaking Pula Arena, the festival brings together the magic of cinema and the rich history of the Roman amphitheater. Established in 1954, it stands proud as the oldest Croatian film festival. Over the years, it has evolved, incorporating international films, thematic programs, and retrospectives. Attendees can immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere, surrounded by the ancient walls of the Pula Arena, all while enjoying the best of Croatian cinema and more.


  • Name: Pula Film Festival (Croatian: Pulski filmski festival)
  • Established: 1954
  • Location: Held in the Pula Arena, a Roman amphitheater in Pula, Croatia.
  • Timing: Usually in July or August.


  • The oldest Croatian film festival.
  • Features film screenings open to the public.
  • Hosts the annual Croatian film industry awards, known as the Golden Arenas. These are the premier national film awards in Croatia, analogous to the American Academy Awards.

Golden Arena Awards:

  • All local feature films produced in the preceding year are showcased at the festival.
  • All participants in these films are eligible for a Golden Arena award in their category.
  • There are no pre-announced shortlists of nominees. Awards are directly given at the ceremony.
  • Some past editions have also presented runner-up awards known as Silver Arena.
  • The jury consists of esteemed film critics, directors, actors, and other industry professionals.

Historical summary:

  • Initial Years (1954 – 1990):
    • Originally named Festival of Yugoslav Film.
    • Quickly became the central event for the Yugoslav film industry.
    • The first national awards were given out in 1957.
    • Modeled after the Academy Awards, it celebrated the beginning of a new season for movie enthusiasts.
    • The Yugoslav film industry saw a boom in the 1960s, leading to the foundation of several film production companies across the country.
  • Interruption and Resumption (1991 – 1994):
    • The festival was halted in 1991 due to the Yugoslav war and the subsequent dissolution of Yugoslavia.
    • It resumed in 1992 under the name Filmski festival u Puli, focusing exclusively on Croatian films.
    • The 1994 edition was canceled.
  • Name Changes and Expanding Horizons (1995 – 2001):
    • Renamed in 1995 as Festival hrvatskog filma (English: Croatian Film Festival).
    • Due to a decline in Croatian film production and the festival’s diminishing popularity, it began screening foreign films in 2001.
    • In the same year, it was renamed Festival hrvatskog i europskog filma (English: Croatian and European Film Festival).
  • Modern Era (2001 – Present):
    • In addition to Croatian films, the festival started including an international program, thematic programs, and retrospectives.

When to Visit

The Pula Film Festival is usually held in the summer, specifically in July or August.

What is There to See

Beyond the film screenings, the festival also features the annual Croatian film industry awards ceremony. Furthermore, the setting itself – the Pula Arena – is a sight to behold. With its historical significance and architectural wonder, it provides a unique backdrop for the film viewings.

How Long Does a Visit Take

Given the rich array of films and events lined up, visitors typically spend multiple days at the festival, immersing themselves in the cinematic experience.

Local Tips & Tricks

  • Make sure to book your tickets and accommodation in advance due to the festival’s popularity.
  • Engage with the locals to discover offbeat film recommendations and hidden gems in Pula.
  • Engage with the locals to: Get recommendations for lesser-known films that might not be getting as much international buzz.
  • Find out about after-festival events or parties.
  • Don’t just stick to the festival. Pula is rich in history; explore the city’s Roman architecture and the beautiful coastline.

Opening Hours

While specific times may vary depending on the day and the screenings, the festival generally starts in the late afternoon and continues till late night.


Ticket prices vary depending on the seating and the films chosen. Check the official Pula Film Festival website for the most accurate pricing and package deals.

Contact Info

How to Get Here

  • Location: The Arena Pula Amphitheatre is situated near the entrance to Pula and close to Riva.

Where to park

  • Given the landmark’s central location, there are several parking options available.
  • For the best parking spots, please consult the “where-to-park” section. This guide provides a detailed overview of all recommended parking locations.


What is the Pula Film Festival?
The Pula Film Festival is an annual Croatian film festival established in 1954. It’s the oldest Croatian film festival and is renowned for its screenings in the historic Pula Arena, a Roman amphitheater.
When is the festival held?
The festival usually takes place in the summer months, typically in July or August.
Where is the festival located?
The main screenings and events are held in the Pula Arena, a Roman amphitheater in Pula, Croatia. However, there may be other associated events around the city.
What types of films are shown at the festival?
The festival showcases a mix of Croatian and international films. All locally produced feature films made in the preceding 12 months are screened, and they automatically qualify for the Golden Arena award.
How can I buy tickets?
Tickets can usually be purchased through the official Pula Film Festival website or at the venue. It’s recommended to buy them in advance due to the festival’s popularity.
Are there any awards presented at the festival?
Yes, the annual Croatian film industry awards, known as the Golden Arenas, are presented at the festival. These are the main national film awards in Croatia and are often compared to the American Academy Awards.
Can I attend the festival if I don’t speak Croatian?
Of course! While the festival showcases many Croatian films, there are also international films, and many screenings offer English subtitles. Additionally, Pula is a tourist-friendly city, and many locals speak English, especially in areas associated with the festival.
What else can I do in Pula during the festival?
Beyond the festival, Pula offers a rich history and beautiful landscapes. Visitors can explore Roman architecture, local museums, and the stunning coastline of the Adriatic Sea.