The cast and crew of the Serbian film ‘Where the Road Leads’ (Ovuda će proći put) presented this film to the journalists of the 51st FEST. Director Nina Ognjanović spoke about her debut, as well as actresses Eva Ras and Jana Bjelica, who plays the main character, actors Zlatan Vidović and Svetozar Cvetković and producer David Jovanović.
According to the young director, premiering at FEST is a big deal for her, because growing up in Belgrade, she regularly went to FEST herself, and this festival is the best place to show films because ‘the FEST audience trusts FEST’.
Nina Ognjanović's film comes to FEST after its world premiere at the Slamdance Festival in the USA, where it was awarded twice.
‘The American audience understood the film, identified with it. That was my fear before going there, but it turned out that the human experience is the same everywhere’, said Nina Ognjanović.
As she told the FEST journalists, she had the idea for the film before enrolling at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. Then she waited a few years. Meanwhile, the idea of exploring the feelings of a young person who, if she does not really know what she wants, knows what she
does not want, became even more interesting to her. A stranger (Novi) who comes to a small town presents itself as an opportunity that the main character does not know how to use. One of the roles, Rajka, went to Eva Ras, who admitted that the multi-day filming on Stara planina (the Balkan Mountains) in Topli Dol had been tiring for her.
‘It was very difficult for me, but I am glad I shot this film because I proved that at this age this actress can still do it. We had night shoots, we shot in the dark, and in one shot I was supposed to run uphill and downhill, but even at this age I did it like a world champion and did
everything right’, Eva pointed out. It was a special challenge for the lead actress Jana Bjelica to portray the fractures in the young person she plays as she makes a big life decision.
‘The character I play, Novi, is a metaphor for a change that the environment is not ready for. Novi was a lifeline for Jana, but he did not fulfill his promise. Like all men he is a bit fickle. He is a victim of the fact that people are not ready for change’, said actor Zlatan Vidović about his role. According to producer David Jovanović, the crew enjoyed filming ‘Where the Road Leads’. Since working far from civilization, they were more focused on each other, and they created a kind of team game of their own.
Svetozar Cvetković expressed his satisfaction that this film also has its domestic premiere at FEST, recalling that the last three films he worked on as a producer had their premiere right at this festival.
‘FEST is the best time of my life. The best memories that exist from a time in secondary school when something called glamor was born and when everything was honest and true, from the people who came, through the films that were shown here, to that slogan ‘Larger than Life’. Because FEST was larger than life and a guide to all festivals in the region that were born, some of which became very significant’, said Svetozar Cvetković, emphasizing that now everything is different, but that FEST survives.
He said that the films cast and crew had received a warm reception at Stara planina, where they had been filming. According to producer Jovanović, although the film ‘Where the Road Leads’ was co-produced by the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade, Radio Television of Serbia and Film Center Serbia, even if he had gone to his native village, he would not have had the kind of help provided by the inhabitants of Stara Planina and Topli Dol. Nina Ognanovićs film is about a girl Jana who is not satisfied in her environment and sees a stranger who comes to a small village as her way out.
You can see the film ‘Where the Road Leads’ on Monday 28 February in MTS Hall at 12 p.m. as part of the Main Competition programme of the 51st FEST.