Last night, in the packed Nathional Theatre, premiere of the first Bosnian and Herzegovinian feature animated film BIRDS LIKE US by Faruk Šabanović and Amela Ćuhara took place.
About this great success, film in general and plans for the future, we talk to producer of the film Adnan Ćuhara.
First BH feature animated film is out, congratulations! What was the hardest part of this pioneer work?
From the start, everything was new – in the country in which there is no academy for animation, no people who had any experience in animation. We made two short films that the whole team practiced on. We set the expectations high, we had to learn constantly because techniques and technologies change constantly. It is as if somebody started working in nuclear energy in Bosnia…
Every stop is important, little victories and little defeats were all new experiences for us, but all of that lasted for very long time, it was exhausting… All important feature animated films take long time to finish. Two years of preparations and development and three years of production are behind us.
Lots of different partners and collaborators joined you during the process at least for a shorter period. In which way that dynamics and bigger number of people involved influences the final look of the film?
It was hard to organize everything when great number of people are working on the project and everything is connected – if one person is late, 5 departments will be late because of him… That is the way of work in pipeline production, because it takes a very long time until one frame is finalized. And there are thousands of frames.
When we managed to work in harmony and become quicker we finalized the project :)
Film is inspired by book of poetry by Farid ud-Din Attar, but in the original birds are looking for a spiritual leader, film concentrates on struggle of one family to survive in hostile system and it finds a way to make it change in the end. How important is this difference, is it even necessary in the world we live in today?
What is divine and spiritual, and is part of all of us is the soul. Soul needs freedom and love to be happy. The only way we can influence the world is by changing ourselves.
There is a line in a song by Peter Gabriel that plays during the credits of the film: "We have to make the world a better place for those who will come when we leave." That is such a beautiful message for everybody ready to hear it.
Several different aesthetic influences can be seen in the film. From the beginning, it is obvious that the big part of the inspiration comes from Eastern culture, but as the film goes on more and more elements of Western, consumeristic society are visible. How important is this combination for the idea of the film and why?
We were inspired by the real gem of the East and we wanted to share it with the West and the whole world. We wanted to build bridges between East and West. I think Peter Gabriel and Timoty Bruzon managed to do it beautifully, they added something special to the film with their music and managed to connect East and West.
The film is a demanding, it has some darker parts, so it seems like it would fit older audience better. Who is your targeted audience and what do you think about a common attitude that animated films are for children only?
More than anything else, we wanted to make a good film and I think we managed in doing it. And film is not for children only or for grown-ups only. There is something for everybody. And children today are lots more mature than before and they understand things. We shouldn’t underestimate them.
Film was made in two versions from the start – with foreign and with Bosnian and Herzegovinian actors. Is there a big difference between these two versions and what does having two casts from two parts of the world bring to the film?
Jeremy Irons is Jeremy Irons :) English version is the original version with three Academy Award Winners and great group of actors. At the same time, we are very proud of the Bosnian version, because the actors we chose were great and it was great working with them. Both versions are great and when I think about this question it is very important to me to have the original version for the world distribution, but at the same time it is crucial to have the version in Bosnian for our children and our language, because most of the films we get here are synchronized in Croatian or Serbian and made with their actors.
What is in store for BIRDS LIKE US after the screenings in Sarajevo? Do you have any idea how the distribution and festival life should look like in following period?
We have been invited to multiple festivals and that’s that about the plan for the following period. No distribution deal has been signed yet. We got two really good offers and we are waiting for the third one. We are privileged to be able to choose. We will know more after the summer holidays.
What is the next thing we can expect from Prime Time?
SCREAM FOR ME SARAJEVO, that won three awards last year, will be distributed worldwide after a year of traveling the world and the festivals.
We developed an animated series TINDILI preschool program (26 episodes) ready for production.
WA FIRST DREAM won an award at the biggest Gaming Industry Events and we are developing it and talking to the investors. And, of course there is a distribution of BIRDS LIKE US.