Weekend.16 Has Begun – Experience the Best Regional Festival This Weekend

Emica Elveđi / Pixsell

The 16th edition of the annual Weekend festival, the highlight of the year, began with a bang, featuring spectacular parties and a rich schedule of enlightening panels and lectures in the bustling halls of the historic Rovinj Tobacco Factory. As the largest regional festival for the communications, media, and business industry, this year’s event, generously sponsored by Adris Group, has gathered over 200 panelists and speakers, including preeminent regional and global experts. Rovinj has once again transformed into a vibrant hub for networking, trend-spotting, and top-notch entertainment, underscored by a sensational DJ lineup that includes Greg Wilson, Ian Pooley, and Antonio Zuza, powered by Jutarnji List & Peti Kupe. Alongside DJ Bondža, they electrified the Rovinj crowd and entertained till the break of dawn, marking the grand opening of Weekend16. Friday’s agenda is filled with immersive entertainment, thought-provoking lectures, and panels addressing timely topics and dynamic shifts in all facets of the creative business.

Zvonimir Barišin / Pixsell

“Even after 16 years, the sight of our festival-goers’ radiant smiles never gets old. This weekend, our focus is on the transformative power of AI. It also marks the debut of our HR.Weekend. I warmly welcome everyone to our most exciting Weekend program yet,” stated Tomo Ricov, the program director of Weekend. The festival Director Boris Kovaček promised an array of distinguished speakers, compelling panels, and unmatched entertainment at the iconic Adris Tobacco Factory.

Photo Mario Pavlović

During the TV Survival Kit panel, RTL host and creative producer Antonija Blaće, HRT host and producer Joško Lokas, and Nova TV host Mia Kovačić, moderated by Petar Štefanić, collectively affirmed the enduring relevance and high credibility of television, especially during times of crisis. The Love is in the Ear panel underscored the emotive power of sound. Advertising legend Ralph van Dijk from the Cannes Lions Festival led a packed hall on an exploration of the mysterious world of sound, highlighting its capacity to embed brands into both individual minds and collective consciousness.

David Silverman, a renowned consultant, producer, animator, and director of the legendary series “The Simpsons,” held an audience spellbound with his engaging talk. In the panel titled  The Simpsons Phenomenon, Silverman, in conversation with Danijel Bilić, shared intriguing insights about the cultural impact of the show and the story behind the famous exclamation, “DOH!” He also confessed that his favorite character to animate is Krusty the Clown, whose offbeat humor and unique characterization he finds especially enjoyable.

Emica Elveđi / Pixsell

The spotlight was on culture during the panel discussion How Much for Some Culture? This session delved into topics such as the potential of trap music replacing classical music and strategies to transform the culture of Croatia and the region into an export-worthy product.  The distinguished panel included Predrag Grubić, the Director of Corporate Communications at Adris Group; Iva Hraste-Sočo, the Intendant of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb; Matej Meštrović, the only Croatian pianist and composer to have had a world premiere at Carnegie Hall; Vesna Karuza Podgorelec, an HRT editor; and was expertly moderated by Prof. Dr. Božo Skoko. The panel concluded that preserving cultural identity and tradition is crucial while fostering a cultural industry capable of garnering international acclaim. Grubić underscored the contemporary dilemma by noting, “We live in an era overly focused on packaging often at the expense of content.”

The business-oriented side of the Weekend Media Festival also shines a spotlight on successful Croatian narratives. Two dynamic leaders, Ivan Belišić, the Chief Operating Officer of Sofascore, and Nikola Dujmović, the Founder and CEO of Span, shared their inspiring business journeys in conversation with moderator Damjan Rudež, the Director of the Sunset Sports Media Festival. In the panel discussion aptly titled How to Remain Independent? they delved into their decisions to maintain autonomy in their respective businesses. “How to resist selling out? The answer is simple – just don’t do it,” the panelists concluded, leaving the audience deeply impressed with their unwavering commitment to independence.

Friday will also feature business topics, with the panel The Good, The Bad, and The Wolf hosting the original Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, live from Miami, sharing all the secrets of business and sales. Speaking about the world of fashion and luxury business will be Tanya Golesic, the CEO of the Mackage brand and the most powerful Croatian figure in the global fashion industry. In a one-on-one conversation titled Rules of the Luxury Market with Jelena Veljača, she will reveal how to create and build a luxury brand. An unmissable presentation will be on the power of negotiation by Dr. Eugene B. Kogan, the Founder and CEO of Kogan Global Advisory, an award-winning Harvard expert in negotiations and power dynamics, under the title I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.

The Weekend will also host the esteemed war photographer Jan Grarup, famed for his insightful portrayal of war zones and natural disasters. Grarup will not only share his unique philosophy on photography but also discuss the challenges he has faced in capturing some of the world’s most harrowing scenes. In his presentation, Photography – the Most Powerful Storyteller, he will delve into the profound responsibility entailed in visually narrating the most difficult human experiences. Aljoša Bagola, a lauded Slovenian creative director and author, will draw upon his personal experience with burnout to address the age-old question – what is true happiness? Concluding the first day’s lineup of panels and presentations, Friday’s schedule will feature Deus Machina. This talk will be delivered by Korado Korlević, a leading Croatian astronomer and founder of the Višnjan Observatory. Korlević will offer his insights into the influence of artificial intelligence on humanity and explore the evolving dynamics of the human-machine relationship.

Every Friday may not be exceptional, but Weekend’s Friday surely is! To ensure that it’s not just business topics that define it, Weekend.16 has prepared a plethora of entertaining content. Alongside the Zagreb Art Singularity: When AI Meets Creation, the first exhibition created by artificial intelligence and organized by Aco Momčilović, the co-founder of the Global AI Ethics Institute, the evening atmosphere will be heated up by Dino Antonić and the DVP band, as well as DJ Robert Mareković at the “Tulum velikog Perice“. The undisputed highlight of the night will be a performance by Grše, the popular rapper who is sure to have the Rovinj audience echoing his hits like “Mamma mia” and “Sip.” DJ Bondža will once again orchestrate an electrifying ambiance that extends into the early morning hours, perfectly concluding the second night of Weekend. This sets the stage for another day brimming with insightful lectures and stimulating panel discussions.

You can find more details about last night’s party and the entire Weekend program here, and you can stay updated on all the news through the official Facebook,  Instagram and Linkedin profiles of the Festival.