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Zagreb Film Festival Golden Pram and Golden Lion to Slovenia

Every country in the region of ex Yugoslavia today has its own characteristics, recognizable by its style and aesthetics. And each one appeals on a certain type of audience. But the things that all ex Yugoslavian films have in common are serious lack of finances and a past civil war as theme.

 

Jan Cvitkovič is an established film director from Slovenia, who already won Golden Lion Award in Venice on Mostra 2001 for his feature film, "Kruh i mliko". Cvitkovič’s film "I know" was recently awarded with special award of a jury on Sarajevo Film Festival 2008. And as one of the most talented film directors in region of ex Yugoslavian countries, not only by his films but also by his work as an actor and screenwriter (by education an architect), he is often guest of Zagreb Film Festival  www.zagrebfilmfestival.com. But this time festival presented his, this time short film as the, as he claims, most complete work of his entire career, no matter of the budget.

  

***

 

On Zagreb Film Festival you had your short film "I know" can you tell us something about film?

 

-This is the first film in my career I consider complete. I have always wanted to make a film so complete. For this film I think this is the case. If I would have the possibility I wouldn’t change anything, I wouldn’t add or remove anything. Film is simple, it has an internal power and some special atmosphere inside, that is, on its own way, a bit hermetical. So this film on its own becomes a small mini universe. I like that a lot. It’s actually, first film that I can see several times, and every time I see it, I see it on a better way. Like when you hear song and you don’t like it that much, then you hear it couple of more times and you like it more and more, better then the last time. It’s a good start for film, and favorite song you play every day. At home I have DVD player so I can play the film any time I like.

 Does it mean that you prefer short or long form better?

-Never mind, I did shorts and feature films. This script for "I know"  I did couple years back. And then, I’ve forgot all about it. Then my friends remanded me on it, and pushed it a bit far. I said that we can not afford making another film and have no possibilities, but then, they’ve offered to do everything for free and so on. We did the film, all without any money, we had no money at all. Everyone worked without money. We borrowed all equipment and shot film in a farm next to my house. This enthusiasm gave us a great film.  What about film that won Golden Lion in Venice, did you had money for it?

-Even then everything happened the similar way. I had money for a short film and with this money I’ve made a feature film. I had a lots of problems in Slovenia because they wanted a short film. I didn’t wanted a short film. Film was negatively accepted with Slovenia authority. As far as that film concern, only when when we went to Venice Festival and some other festivals with it, we had a great success. We won awards and so on. So this film "Kruh i mliko" was more the result of a case, more then some special plan. Other film "Od groba do groba" had a normal budget, that film I did in normal circumstances, with normal budget. That film went on lot of festivals and won awards. Do you think that for short film it is easier to get finances?

-Its actually even worse. After film "Od groba do groba" that went out in 2005, political situation have changed in Slovenia. People that came to power completely destroyed cinematography, that was at the time, in great power. So last 4 years I made nothing. And I have got non of the support from the state. Everything I made, I made with my friends. Last film that I have made was last week in Italy with Italian money. That is too a short film.  Do you think that Slovenia film really exist?

-Slovenia film was in total upraise from the beginning of 21st century, but as I said, there’s a new political current on power, that totally destroyed Slovenia cinematography. I think that we will quickly recover and start again. Now it will be better for sure, then it was in a last few years any way.  Do you think that future of film lies in coproduction with region of ex Yugoslavia or with surrounding countries such as Austria?

-I’m not such a great fan of coproductions. That is when 4 or 5 partners are involved. I rather prefer when film is done by less people, maximum 3 even 3 is too much. Otherwise, its a great mess, in such case people start making demands, and we take cast or director of photography from other productions. Then you start to have hybrids, I usually like to know to who I’m working with.  What type of audience your film attract?

-When I do film I never think about audience. I even think that it doesn’t exist. I do not know any film director who would do film for that or this audience. But some people like to mention it. I personally do not know any who would do that. I even thought this is impossible. I only have one criteria and that is when I do work to impress myself. Because if I impress myself I will for sure find someone else in the audience. Its a number of people who are like me and they will understand. It is the only criteria that I have, I do not think about audience that I’m targeting.  How the Slovenian audience reacts?

-If you asking about people in Slovenia that I have had contact with and quarrel, then it is normal they do not like me. But ordinary people like my films. I hear reactions, I see reactions, they send me reactions, emails, they send messages, the rating of my films was ok in Slovenia. These are not some massive hits but I’m very pleased with reactions of ordinary people.  Who you would like to work with in the future?

-Like I already said, I just did film in Italy. I have always wanted to make such film, and I can not wait to see a complete material. In film there are only 3 characters, man, woman and a child. As far as scenography everything was shot outside and without words. We wanted to make the simplest possible film and at the same time the strongest one.That was my aim. Something about cinematography of ex Yugoslavian countries?

-I have never seen too many Serbian films, I rarely watch films. But there is something I mind in Serbian films, everything is based on dialogue. Always on words, more and less directors do not use film language. Films are less in using picture, music and atmosphere. Everything is based on what A or B person say. And everything is based on a catches far too much. That was very in in 80s, much less in 90s and now it is totally out. As far as me concerned I think that Serbian film should focus more on a movie language. -Croatian film is in a great upraise. It is similar with Slovenian film before the political right currency. Croatian film has a great support by the state, unlike Serbian film. -And Bosnian film is very strong judging by its success, by auditorium for instance, I like "Armin", then " Mellon Route".  But in general, I think that this region of ex Yugoslavia goes the right way.  

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