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SARAJEVO 2020 CineLink Industry Days

Srđan Vuletić • Director of The Otter

"The film deals with self-acceptance and the process of reinventing yourself, an empowering story that will be relatable to a larger audience"

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- Bosnian writer-director Srđan Vuletić tell us about The Otter, winner of the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award at this year’s CineLink Co-Production Market

Srđan Vuletić  • Director of The Otter
(© J. Alibegović)

Coming-of-age project The Otter is the upcoming feature from Bosnian writer-director Srđan Vuletić, winner of the €20,000 Eurimages Co-Production Development Award at this year’s CineLink Co-Production Market (read the news), at the Sarajevo Film Festival’s industry section CineLink Industry Days. Written by Stefan Bošković, the project is being produced by Ivan Đurović for Montenegro’s Artikulacija Film. Cineuropa talked to Vuletić to further explore their project and their next steps following the award.

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Cineuropa: Could you offer us a short overview of your upcoming film The Otter?
Srđan Vuletić: The Otter tells the story of Hana, a 16 year old girl who is supposed to have the best day of her life as the boy she is in love with invites her to a lake trip. But that very morning, her father dies, and her sympathy is not exactly what she thinks it is. In its essence, this is a contemporary coming-of-age story.

In your statement, you mentioned that the screenplay inspired you because it tells a contemporary post-Yugoslav story. Which were the elements in that coming-of-age story that inspired you?
Actually, I was attracted to the script because it doesn't feature any of the post-Yugoslav cinematic mainstays, such as war, post-war traumas, transition period, social and political corruption, etc. None of that. Instead, it deals with self-acceptance and the process of reinventing yourself. Our project is an empowering story that, hopefully, will be relatable to a larger audience. I also believe that in the post-COVID world, empowering stories such as ours will be even more important, for obvious reasons.

How helpful will the Eurimages Co-production Development Award be for your project?
First of all, winning this award is a strong sign that we are on the right track, and that will help us further. Secondly, we did have important meetings during the CineLink at the Sarajevo Film Festival, and I expect that thanks to the award we will have some more people from the film industry approach us.

What were your expectations of the Sarajevo CineLink Co-Production Market and what was the online experience like? What else are you looking for now?
We actually got our initial feedback during the MIDPOINT Intensive Montenegro programme, and it was quite encouraging for us. Then, we presented the project at When East Meets West in Trieste, and the response we received was very positive and enthusiastic. Moreover, the producer of the project, Ivan Đurović also received the Marché du Film Producers Network Award there. For CineLink, we had to submit the full script in order to participate, and for us it was great to see that we didn’t miss any steps in the development of the project. The online version of the Co-Production Market was interesting, and it was executed really well. Although I missed mingling around and talking to random people, as I guess we all do. Anyway, we are looking forward to following up all inquiries, delivering the material and then, after having everything in hand, begin our application process for different funds. I also think that we would like to have another co-producer on board, from a stronger market, to join forces with Ivan and his company Artikulacija film in Montenegro.

Do you have any plans for your project afterwards?
Our immediate plan is to apply to the Film Center Montenegro call whenever it opens. We'll first wait for the reply on that, and if it's positive, we'll process further afterwards. On the creative side, Stefan and I are writing a new draft that we'll distribute to interested sides. I am confident that the readers will be surprised. In a positive sense.

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