Most of your films is somewhere in between Canada and Bosnia and Herzegovina, do you think that living on two sides of the boarder helps in your creative work and what are the downsides of that position?
Just being in a position to make work is the real challenge regardless of how the filmmaker is positioned. As for being between two countries, it can be problematic in terms of how funders perceive you and your work, how one defines Canadian or Bosnian in this case. On the plus side this position provides for many creative paths, as filmmakers always feel like they need to have an anchor, a home to make work that feels authentic. Filmmakers in these between spaces are finding that this between space can sometimes be their anchor, probably because their informative years were marked by a rootlessness due to various political, social and economic factors.
STONES SPEAKERS are approaching economic situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in a bit different way – by dealing with tourism. What did you come to while researching this “escape” into tourism?
Tourism in Bosnia is often used like many other divisive tools in the country to subtly or sometimes not so subtly divided regions and play on particular narratives. These narratives are mainly concerned with mythologies that will help to entrench their socio-political positions or for economic gain or for a combination of the two. Many of these sites are not interested in reconciliation, it’s the differences that make them interesting to international tourists. However, the danger here is that each tourist provides a very different picture of Bosnia which is not based on reality.
How did you choose the four cities you will focus on in the film?
These sites were chosen by their popularity in recent years and media attention and to a lesser extent the regional and ethnic differences in those cities. I met many tourists who had visited these sites and who took many of the things they saw at face value. This provided the inspiration to look into them.
Film is full of political commentary, but you decide to stay aside and let everybody tell what they feel like without giving your commentary. Why did you decide to do that?
In Bosnia one of the things that is lacking is dialog and connections between communities. By allowing everyone to speak in their own vacuum I was hoping for the friction of how this country is contextualized to provide the basis of how one can try and think of a shared narrative and if that is even possible.
What effect these, contradictory commentaries have on the foreign audience?
Some people were fascinated how a country like this can function, with so many different takes on everything, but they were moved how beautiful it is at the same time. Some found the formal approach challenging and didn't read into the frictions as much but saw it as an experimental travelogue. I do not want to define for audiences what the film is. It was my hope to have them also tell me.
At the moment, you are preparing your third feature TABIJA. Can you tell us something about that project?
All I will share is that it is a love story between two young people from two radically different parts of Sarajevo.