Branko Istvancic  
Film and TV director
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 Wellman / Bunarman

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Original title: Bunarman
English title: Wellman
Italian title: L'uomo del pozzo
German title: Der Brunnenmann

HRT, Croatian television
2003, Documentary / Documentario
Duration 30 minutes, DIGITAL BETA, color
English subtitles
Sous-titres anglais

Script/Sceneggiatura DAVOR SISMANOVIC
Camera/Fotografia TVRTKO MRSIC
Editor/Montaggio ZDRAVKO BORKO

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Synopsis MS Word download 30 KB

The main character of the documentary film "Wellman", Antun Gabajcek - Nuno, is one of the last practitioners of an old and dying profession. When requested, he digs water wells, but without the use of machinery. He exclusively uses tools that require hard physical labour. He is not working in this manner because he is capricious or stubbornly insists on tradition. He simply does it because there is no other way to do the job properly. In this film, the well man is fortifies the sides of a well with bricks to help the water flow and enhance its quality. Major physical effort is required to achieve that, as well as sophisticated methodology, an original strategy and many hand-made tools. This is precisely why Gabajcek is a good character for a documentary. This documentary search for the answers to the question how can such a troublesome way to earn a living produce such a unique and wonderful person.

Synopsis (Italiano)
Antun Gabajcek - Nuno é uno degli ultimi professionisti di un'attivitá ormai in declino. Quando é necessario, scava pozzi senza l'uso di macchine. Non lavora cosi per capriccio o perché legato alla tradizione, ma perché non c'é altro modo di fare il lavoro in maniera appropriata...

Synopsis (French)
Antun Gabajcek - Nuno - est un puisatier comme il n'en existe plus guére en Croatie, ni meme ailleurs. C'est avec une baguette qu'il détermine l'emplacement du puits, avec une simple pelle qu'il le creuse, avec un seau qu'il le vide et avec l'amour du travail bien fait qu'il le tapisse de briques. Du creusement d'un puits comme un des Beaux Arts, ce film célebre le labeur humain et la passion d'un homme qui aime ce qu'il fait.

Synopsis (Germany)
Man nehme eine Wünschelrute, finde die geeignete Stelle und beginne zu graben. Kreisrund, einen Meter im Durchmesser. Man grabe tief und immer tiefer. Vier, sechs, acht, zehn Meter, bis das Grundwasser in den hohlen Zylinder dringt und man Wasser in einem Brunnen hat.

Croatian Film Festival 2003
International Grand Prix for Documentaries - URTI 2003
Sarajevo Film Festival 2003
International Film Festival Kalamata - Greece 2003
Festival Internazionale del Cortometraggio Siena - Italy 2003
DaKINO International Film Festival - Romania 2003
cortoimolafestival - International Short Film Festival 2003
Bilan du Film Ethnographique, Paris, France 2004
Zanzibar Internationa Film Festival 2004
International Short Film Festival Hamburg 2004
Parnu Intl. Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival 2004
Corto per Scelta Italy 2004
Liburnia Film Festival 2004
Dokufest documentary and short film festival Prizren 2004
Festival dokument ART Germany 2004
The Mediterranenan Festival of Documentary Films 2004
ZINEBI Bilbao Film Festival 2004
International Festival of Ethnological Film Belgrade 2004
Belgrade Documentary and Short Film Festival 2005
IMAGINARIA International Short Film Festival, Italy 2005
Libertas Dubrovnik Film Festival 2005
Agrofilm 2005
Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival 2005
Tehran Short Film Festival 2005
DokMa 2005
Worldfilm 2006
Mediterranean Environmental Award 2006

Matsalu International Nature Film Festival Estonia 2007

Delta film festival Italy 2008
Spring Water Festival Vienna Austria 2009

International Relations Department
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Phone: + 385 1 6343691
Fax: + 385 1 6343692



Bunarman insert from Branko Istvancic on Vimeo

Awards / Premi

Best Director Award
at the Croatian Film Festival Zagreb in 2003

Oktavijan Award of Croatian Film Critic's Guild Best
for the Best Documentary in Croatia in 2003

Best Director
Award at the DaKINO film festival in Buchurest Romania in 2003

Special Award for the best documentary / Premio Speciale per il Documentario Festival Internazionale del Cortometraggio in Siena Italy in 2003

Special Mention for using the direct, significant documentary style / Menzione d'onore a per l'uso dello stile documentaristico diretto ed essenziale Corto Imola Film Festival Italy in 2003

Special Prize of the Jury
Delta film festival Italy in 2009

THE WELLMAN is not only a documentary about an old craft that gives us an intriguing look into the techniques used to find water and to dig a well, but it is also an ode to human labor. Structured with almost no words, the driving force of the film is the image, created with very unobtrusive camerawork. Eliminating all that could burden the essence of the narrative, the author emphasizes the hard labor the main character performs, as well as the passion of a man who loves his job.
Rada Sesic
Sarajevo Film Festival 2003

When you have brilliant, though on the first sight, not slightly spectacular theme, and you are familiar with the film profession as "internationally recognized" documentary director Branko Istvancic, you don't need laud openings in order to attract the attention of the viewers. I assume that I am not the only one who was surprised, that I was watching for 10 minutes at someone digging a hole, and anxiously waiting to see what will happen next. Without text in OFF and hardly any conversation on the terrain, with just occasional guitar theme of the Kreso Blazevic (member of ex "Animators" band), and the man digging deeper and deeper. Than he climbs up, and makes the wall of the bricks in the perfect circle around the wail. All that just, by hands and eyes. Miracle, I tell to you.
Sandro Pogutz, Slobodna Dalmacija

The protagonist at first was coming down for 15 minutes in the total silence, digging the wail, and than the next 15 minutes he way climbing up, and that was it. The wail was finished as well as the documentary. In the half hour of the film, followed by the sound of the wheels we can hear only 3 sounds very similar to growling: "Up", "Down" and " Easasier, for fuck sake". What an master piece.
Drazen Matosec, Feral tribune