Two of your films will be screen at the Festival this year; one is Serbian made in co-production with Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other one is Macedonian. As a scriptwriter, you work mostly abroad. What are the differences, plus and minuses of working at home compared to working on the other side of the border?
Yes, I would say I’m lucky to have the opportunity to work with colleagues from other environments. I’m not sure I feel “our countries” as being abroad, but de facto those are foreign countries. Of course, I would be happy if I was able to work more in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the fact is that a very small number of films is shot here and there is not a lot of work. In atmosphere like that it is especially difficult for scriptwriters. On the other hand, it is really interesting to work with people from different environments, maybe even a bit more inspirational, as we have different attitudes towards the same problems. Pluralism of worldviews is very important for all arts, for film, too.
How important are co-productions for Bosnian and Herzegovinian cinema?
Very important. In situation when we have no proper law for Audio-visual sector, no adequate film centre and unregulated financing, it seems that the only possible way to make films is entering co-productions. And that is not an easy path, either. Especially when you are not a partner of equal strength to the others, which is the fact with Bosnian and Herzegovinian film productions most of the times because of beforementioned reasons. At the same time, it is a blessing, too, because we get to work with colleagues from other countries. Sometimes, it can be a difficulty because of complexity and length of the process. But, for now, that’s the only certain path.
Both GOD EXISTS, HER NAME IS PETRUNIJA and STITCHES deal with women who live in corrupted, worn out societies, but still manage to fight to reach “justice”. Do you think that putting an accent on female perspective can be a potential key for pushing our predominantly patriarchal societies from limbo they got stuck in?
In the history of humankind, women have been the most oppressed group of people. And it lasts for thousands of years. To be a woman today is great responsibility because we finally came to the position from which we are able to change our own status, to talk loudly and clearly about it, to problematise it. I think that women today have both possibility and ability to change things for the better, not only for us, but for the whole society, including men. Both films are focusing on women like that.
Both films are based on real stories. What are the differences between working on true stories and on original scripts and is the responsibility of scriptwriter bigger when the script is based on real-life-stories?
It depends on the story. For example, while working on PETRUNIJA we didn’t think a lot about the true story, nor we did any research. The newspaper article about a woman who won the Sacred Cross and who was proclaimed crazy so the men could have it back, was just a starting point for fiction. With STITCHES, situation was completely different. We started with the theme, but the stories I stumbled upon while researching were so unbelievable, that I realised I need one true story as a base for organising the story of the film and the material. In STITCHES, I had a great responsibility towards a woman on whose story we based the film and her opinion about the film was very important to me.
I have to admit, when writing, I often rely on real-life stories. I really believe that real life is much more powerful than fiction.
Scandal with stolen babies has shaken Serbia pretty much at one moment, but as we can see from the film also, the case is still unsolved. Did the film help in any way with the case or at list with the public understanding of it?
Not really. But film gave voice to those who were fighting for truth for years. And that is very important: giving voice to disenfranchised, silenced, to the ones who are fighting, and nobody even knows about them. Giving the voice to those in need – that’s the purpose of art.
If you could choose only one thing because of which people should watch STITCHES, what would that be?
This is a story of a woman who is fighting for truth despite of everything. I believe we are all hungry of truth and justice and that is the reason to watch STITCHES.
At CineLink, Sarajevo Film Festival’s Co-production Market, you are presenting the new project you are developing with Teona Mitevska. Can you tell us something about it?
Yes, we are working on the film with working title THE HAPPIEST MAN IN THE WORLD or LESSONS IN LOVE that has been inspired on my experience of being wounded in Sarajevo during the war. Film is dealing with contemporary Sarajevo, love, forgiveness and future. With this film, I’m returning a bit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.