Your film comments our reality, the situation in the culture, media and the society in general, in a satirical way, using irony and grotesque. What was the starting point for the script of “Grande Punto?”
It was probably my own experience of reality, of various glum and less glum situations and facts. The principal characters long to purchase a Grande Punto, but they must rely on a credit from a bank. It is a metaphor about the conditions in which my friends and collaborators live.
In this film, the art colony is situated in the underground, culture is forbidden as if it were a drug, while the surface is occupied by the positive news coming from the Sunny TV; however, in the end it is the artists who stage an uprising. In reality, does art really possess this kind of power?
Of course. If I did not believe it, I would not be doing what I am doing. People often observe art as something dubious or something irrelevant for the society, but it is very important for a society and for the mankind in general. Nevertheless, art is not sufficient to change a society. What I want to say is that we should all try to improve ourselves in some way. I think that the only way up is to improve ourselves.
Concerning the style and the type of humor, with occasional exaggerations, who would you single out as your role model among the well known authors?
One of my cinematic role models is John Waters, perhaps his film “Cry Baby” which I saw as a child, unaware of the notion of the film aesthetics and similar things, but it certainly had an impact on me. Also, during the studies where I got to know the work of certain theatre authors such as Eugene Ionesco or Dušan Kovačević, I liked this idea of a certain balance, of showing very serious things in a tragicomic way. This is where the overdose of humor comes from. Essentially I do not think that everything is so dark that certain topics must be shown in a thoroughly serious manner. This is my attempt to show them in a fun and appealing way, to please both the audience and myself.
You made your debut feature with a micro budget. How did you manage?
The budget was almost nonexistent. We compensated for the lack of money for production by relying on the enthusiasm of all the people involved. For instance, what would be handled by a single person in normal production conditions, here it was a shared responsibility of five or more people - everyone helped according to their abilities.
However, even without the budget you still managed to attract famous names to the project, including Sergej Trifunović. How did you succeed in that?
To tell you the truth, I was surprised myself. We had an excellent collaboration and their support. Practically all of them said yes immediately when they heard what the film was about. Besides Trifunović and Slobodan Ćustić there are also the actors from “The State Job.” There are also famous musicians - Zoran Kostić Cane of “Partibrejkers,” Dušan Kojić Koja of “Disciplina kičme,” and since I am a Novi Sad native certain bands from Novi Sad also got involved - “Atheist Rap,” “Ritam nereda,” etc. Quite simply, people identified with this slightly different overview of our not-so-joyous reality and they wanted to be a part of the project.
This is a fiction film, but certain scenes are animated. Why did you choose this combination of genres?
Initially I envisioned the scenes in which the character “Phantom of the Library” sends his messages to the people in the form of a comic book. While working on the film, I enrolled in the Master Academic Studies, and my professor Aleksandar Davić suggested that I should also film these scenes. Then I decided to use animation and I enlisted my colleague from Novi Sad Endre Ajendi to take care of them. I should also mention the contribution of the guys who made the comic book - Milan Levnajić and Aleksandar Ilić
In this film, one of the “recopies” for fighting against the uncultured is to switch off the electricity so that people could not watch television. In reality, you yourself work at the Radio and Television Vojvodina. How does that fit it?
Yes, it is an interesting paradox. The media manipulation is very dangerous even at this micro level that I work at because television is very appealing. And the film itself as a medium is also manipulative for the audience, but it is not a bad manipulation necessarily. Since I was a child, and later a student, and now that I am a professional, I have always thought of the film art as a place of escapism, as a fairytale. I love to watch films which have god a fairytale like atmosphere, but even when a film is “realistic” - once you enter the cinema venue and the lights go out, you let yourself be taken to another world for an hour or two, you enter a different reality.
What does the premiere at FEST mean to you?
It is a big deal for me as an author debutant, but also for the entire numerous film crew. I think that it is great that FEST has introduced the Microwave selection thus enabling us to present to the audience the films which in normal circumstances would not get an opportunity to be shown on the big screen.