by Vladan Petkovic
- Cineuropa met up with Montenegro's Producer on the Move, Ivan Djurovic, of Artikulacija Production, to discuss his projects, as well as the current situation in Montenegrin and Balkan cinema
Montenegrin producer Ivan Djurović started his career in 2001 when he founded the production company Artikulacija Production. In 2005, he produced Nikola Vukčević's A View from the Eiffel Tower, and two years later, The Ascent by Nemanja Bećanović.He followed these local efforts with co-productions such as The Hourglass by Szabolcs Tolnai in 2007 and From Zero to Hero by Srdjan Dragojević, now a box-office hit in Serbia. He has three films in post-production at the moment: The Kids from Marx and Engels Street by Vukčević, Croatian director Antonio Nuić's Life Is Like a Trumpet,and Macedonian veteran Stole Popov's To the Hilt.
Cineuropa: Please tell us something about your project The Kids from Marks and Engels Street.
Ivan Djurović: The Kids from Marks and Engels Street is the first new feature film by Nikola Vukčević in almost ten years. We made sure to be meticulous in making this film, so it took a while, but it is now practically finished, and we are waiting for the right moment to premiere it. We are also in no rush because a film in a country with a population of 650,000 cannot be particularly lucrative, so we are not going for profit, but rather to get the most out of what we have made.
However, its interesting regional cast, featuring stars from the worlds of both acting and music, and its subject matter dealing with the 20 years of transition, including a little bit of nostalgia, a bit of melancholia, but also romance and humour, will give it strong potential for good box-office results across the former Yugoslavia.
What are your next projects?
My next feature film is Odyssey by director Andro Martinović. We got the first award for it in the Ministry of Culture’s competition, and the project was also at the Sarajevo Film Festival’s co-production market, CineLink, in 2011. It was presented by my colleague and last year’s participant in Producers on the Move, Sehad Čekić, but I think everyone will be interested to see how radically we have changed it as a result of the small budget, and we firmly believe it’s for the better. I think this is one of the best scripts I’ve ever read, and I am sure we will manage to express what we wanted to say with this film.
How do you see the current situation in Montenegrin and Balkan cinema?
I see the future of Balkan cinematography actually as a common market where the regional choice of cast and crew won’t only be interesting in itself, but will actually be the best solution for a film. That seems to me to be the only logical thing, especially when we take into account the similarities between the languages we speak, a large part of our joint history and, above all, the common cultural space. In support of this, we need to create a strong regional film fund, and I think what we all do together at the South-Eastern Europe Pavilion in Cannes is, in a way, a precursor or an introduction to that. I believe this could be an umbrella fund, even in its relation to national funds, because that way, if it’s conceived properly, it could be financed not only by the member states, but to a large extent by the European film funds.
As for Montenegro, I’m not sure how strongly the situation in regional production affects the national one. Certainly it does, but sometimes it seems illogical compared to the size of our national cinema. Coincidentally, in a tough year of crisis, we had three national feature films come out. But then, just as we thought things were getting better, this year we had no feature films.
However, we are increasingly present in co-productions, in contemporary film trends and at international festivals. I have high hopes for the new film law, of which I’m one of the authors, and which should be voted on soon and should finally start three key things for Montenegrin film: establishment of a film centre, a film fund and tax incentives.
What do you expect from Producers on the Move?
I’m delighted and honoured to have the chance to hear diverse experiences from both more experienced and younger colleagues because every single project is unique and challenging, so it is always good to hear something that might help you at some point, or at least warn you. I hope that this 15th festive gathering will be beneficial for our project and that I’ll return enriched – not only with new friendships, but with business partnerships as well.