Simple stories, important topics
by Vladan Petkovic
- At 26, the promising Slovenian director has made a generational debut feature, shot over 14 days for €180,000.
Nejc Gazvoda is a 26-year old Slovenian author, screenwriter and director whose feature-film debut A Trip [+see also:
film profile] world-premiered in Sarajevo competition and went on to numerous festivals, winning six awards at the Slovenian National Film Festival in Portoroz. It will be released in the territory on January 19, 2012.
Cineuropa: What were the biggest challenges and obstacles you ran into during the course of production?
Nejc Gazvoda: Film was shot in 14 days, we didn't use artificial light, we had enough money for camera car just for one day so I needed to think about every shot. Shooting in the car was very hard because of the restricted space and it took loads of time. I couldn't make many wide shots, because we would have other people in them and it would take time to move crew equipment around. The only way to make a movie with very little money is to be totally prepared. Guerrilla film-making doesn't mean improvisation – it means being prepared for every little thing. I actually had scenes written for different scenarios – for bad weather, if the car broke... I just wanted to make a movie and there was no way anything would stop me. In case of rain, we would film in rain – not wait for it to stop.
Your three actors are fantastic. How well did you work with them?
We went to film and theatre academy together, so I knew their work and their abilities. All three are very talented and even though the story was written even before I knew them, I wrote characters and dialogues thinking about them. We had many rehearsals, we talked about characters, about situations in film. They knew their characters very well – I asked them to think up their last name, favorite food, favorite music... they knew what characters do for a living, what their parents do... None of these things are in the film, but it was important for them. I wanted to give my actors as much information and support as I could. I am glad that this comes out in the film.
How did you decide to make this film about these topics?
I wanted to make a film about my generation, about our problems, a film with lots of emotions, a character-driven, simple story about important topics. My short story from my first book [Nothing Escapes the Squirrels] had all these ingredients, so it was an easy task to choose it. I have no problem choosing my topics, I think there is so much to tell about in this world, especially now.
Is the protagonists' outlook on life typical for most of Slovenian young people of that age, which is also your own age?
I think what most of Slovene youth is feeling now is that we can't change anything. Problems in Slovenia are rooted so deeply that it is impossible to dig them out. We were always a polarized nation, especially since World War Two, and our politicians are still talking about it, even though this is not my generation’s problem. The only way to succeed is by having good connections. There are no jobs and apartments are insanely expensive. Most of my friend live with their parents. We have no trust in our law system and I think we just do not care much about Slovenia anymore, because the generation that is supposed to lead us doesn't care about it too.
What is your next project?
A love story. I want to make a film with almost no light and minimal crew, character driven, again. With A Trip I learned that I don't need 90% of the stuff people tell you is basic to make a movie – if you have great actors, a good story and you know what you want to tell, people will enjoy and will not care about other things. I want to have freedom as a director, I want my actors to have freedom and not think about light and lenses and microphones – they just need to be in character and act and do their magic. And I want to be there when that happens.