by Vladan Petkovic
- Adis Ðapo, the first producer from Bosnia and Herzegovina to be selected for Producers on the Move, has worked on some of his country’s most acclaimed films including Death in Sarajevo
Adis Ðapo is the first ever Producer on the Move from Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the country's Association of Filmmakers became a member of the European Film Promotion only last year. As a junior producer in Sarajevo-based SCCA/Pro.ba, he worked on some of his country’s most internationally acclaimed films, such as Danis Tanović's Silver Bear winners An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker [+see also:
interview: Danis Tanović
film profile] and Death in Sarajevo [+see also:
interview: Danis Tanovic
film profile], and Aida Begić's Children of Sarajevo [+see also:
interview: Aida Begić
film profile] (Special Distinction of the Jury in Cannes' Un Certain Regard in 2012). He was also the production manager on Begić's 2008 Cannes Critics' Week Grand Prize winner, Snow [+see also:
It seems that whenever your company makes a film that has international potential, it exceeds that potential with awards at the biggest festivals. But I am still curious about Faruk Lončarević's excellent With Mom [+see also:
interview: Faruk Loncarevic
film profile] (2013), which went almost completely unnoticed. Do you have an explanation?
This is actually something that comes up a lot in my conversations with one of my colleagues, producer Amra Bakšić Čamo. Was there something we could have done differently, was the timing wrong, do festivals expect a certain kind of subjects from the Balkan cinema… You get the idea. Honestly, I wish I had some way of explaining it, as I think With Mom was a good film, but I guess we’ll never know.
You are currently working on three projects: Begić’s A Ballad, Igor Drljača’s Tabija, and Alfa, Una Gunjak’s first feature film, whose film, Chicken, won the European Film Award for Best European Short Film.
I’ll start with Tabija, as it has been in development the longest. It’s a story about the impossible romance between two Sarajevo teens from very different backgrounds. It is the most successful Bosnian project in development ever, having won the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award at Rotterdam's CineMart, the CineLink Excellence Award in Sarajevo, and it was selected for Cannes Cinefondation Atelier. Unfortunately, this hasn’t translated into support back at home and we are yet to receive production funding. So we’re a bit stuck at the moment, but we’re looking for alternatives.
A Ballad is a contemporary reading of a medieval ballad, a story about love in post-apocalyptic Bosnia and Herzegovina, where myths and reality intertwine. The budget is around €1 million. France is already attached as a partner through Les Films de l’Après-Midi and we’re still looking for other potential co-producers.
Alfa is at an early stage in development. It’s a coming-of-age story with a twist. On a mission to get out of their defunct homeland, the relationship between a mother and a daughter turns toxic as they both start questioning their expectations and sacrifices. The story is set in Italy with a projected budget of €1 million.
Despite institutional and budgetary shortcomings, Bosnia is still regularly producing films that reach international festivals and achieve significant success. But what about the situation at home? Do you think that the chronic lack of cinemas can be solved, and how?
Actually, the problem with cinema attendance comes from the lack of diversity in film production, which in return comes from the lack of production funding. So it’s a bit of a vicious circle. The Bosnian film fund's annual production budget is under €1 million. Feature films get supported with between 20-30% of the budget, so the gap has to be financed from co-producing countries. And foreign co-production funds tend to support projects of high artistic value rather than market appeal. So we end up with author-driven arthouse dramas, a cinema of prestige, which doesn't work in the local market (they don’t really work that well in the international markets either, but that’s a different story).
At the moment we’re lobbying for a completely new law for the audiovisual industry. It combines some of the best practices from the region and the EU. The goal is to minimize film production's dependence on the state budget, which is at the moment absolute, and significantly increase available production funding. Unfortunately, from the government we only get promises and no action.
What do you expect to get out of Producers on the Move?
I’m mostly interested in the networking part of the programme, as it is a pan-European selection.