One of the members of the jury of the Main Competition Programme, Croatian actor Toni Gojanović (The Border Post, Success), expressed his expectations before the start of the 50th edition of the Festival.
What were your first impressions after watching the list of films for the Main Competition Programme?
- This is a really impressive, carefully selected list of international films that we will see this year at FEST. As a member of the jury, I am currently in the process of watching films, and I will be able to make the right judgment only after watching all the titles. What I can already say is that I was pleasantly surprised by the excellence, diversity of genres, stories and aesthetics from different parts of the world. A real refreshment compared to the standard blockbuster offer in cinemas.
The artistic director of FEST, Jugoslav Pantelić, noticed during an informal conversation that you were a partner of actress Verica Nedeska in ‘Karaula’, who is competing for the best actress in the film ‘Sisterhood’ this year. Are you sure you will remain an objective judge? Joke aside, how difficult it is to ‘judge’, that is, evaluate your colleagues?
- Verica Nedeska is an incredibly talented actress. I had the pleasure of working with her many years ago in my, still, favorite film, ‘The Border Post’.
However, it would not be serious of me to judge films and roles by personal sympathies and acquaintances.
We are here to enjoy good stories and performances that manage to touch the soul. I think it's a matter of attitude. Looking at the bigger picture, I think that giving any kind of recognition to an individual who has pushed boundaries or made a significant step forward in some kind of profession with his work, leads us all forward. The opposite case leads, to put it mildly, to mediocrity.
What is the most important thing for you when watching a film? The theme it deals with, the script, the acting, the directing, the visual experience, the atmosphere, the originality of any kind, something completely different ...?
- Works of art are difficult to dissect, analyze and disassemble. For example, when I look at an art painting, I look at it as a whole. I cannot separate the stroke of the brush on the canvas from the whole to which it belongs. It's the same with films. How many fantastic acting achievements have never been given the opportunity to reach a wide audience or be noticed by critics, because the whole to which they belonged was bad. A good acting interpretation is lost in a bad film. Film is a complex mechanism worked on by many artists who aim to tell us a story. There is no recipe for a good film. I’m sure every director wants to make a good film. Likewise, every screenwriter wants to write a screenplay that will be remembered, every actor hopes to play a role in which he will be able to show his talent. After the filming process is over, the post-production process starts, often a long one, when some other talents take over the material and give it their all. At the end of the process, you get something that is the product of a synergy of a lot of talent and sometimes it happens that everything falls into place and we get films that become classics ... masterpieces. It's a long and uncertain journey and the longer I work in film, the more I am fascinated.
What kind of films do you like to watch in private, do you have a favorite filmmaker?
- Depends on the mood. Sometimes you want a top dish from the best chef and sometimes you enjoy a hamburger. There are so many favorite filmmakers, but it seems almost impossible to single out just one name.
How do you feel about coming to your first FEST?
- True, this is the first time I will visit the Festival and I am really looking forward to it. Being a part of something that has such a long tradition as a member of the jury of the Main Programme is a real honor and I am grateful for the trust shown. I think that FEST has long outgrown the borders of Serbia and that it is one of the most important film addresses in the region. The first 50 years are just the beginning and I hope that the Festival will continue to grow and gain more and more importance from year to year.