Jasmila Zbanic, (b. 1975), Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Director and Producer at Deblokada. Recent documentary: Red Rubber Boots.

What documentaries will you be making in the future?

We at Deblokada are working on three documentary films. New Old Bridge is about the reconstruction of the Old Bridge in Mostar. We are documenting the process of the bridge reconstruction, and concurrently documenting the film crew and me go through the same experience asking “Is it at all possible to ‘reconstruct’ ourselves?”. The second film involves digital research about young people from Sarajevo who were wounded during the war. I record their memories of those extreme moments of injury and work on that. The third film is a compilation of the huge collection of home-video material from the time of the Sarajevo siege. For me, this film is an X-ray of a specific human experience.

To sum-up our work: it is obvious that we are still dealing with the war and post-war experience. This need comes from our necessity to tell the stories we have gone through, but not really worked over, and to make the research of our own emotions and thoughts, questioning the new reality. One might say that we use documentaries as a tool to overcome what is recognized as “trauma” (though I dislike this word). Well yes, but to me this post-war period of making documentaries is like learning about the world as a newborn, exploring life and world for the first time. This time with the weapon: camera.

Who is your biggest inspiration? Which documentary traditions do you approve of? What would you like to renew?

My inspiration comes less from films and filmmakers and more from people I meet and their energy. It is them who make me go through the walls. Films come as a luggage, or sandwiches for the trip. To mention some of the main dishes, desserts, appetizers… I would take Kiarostamy, Macmalbaf, Lars Von Trier, Lozinski, Makavejev …with their documentaries, fictions, documentary-fiction or fiction-documentary pieces.

When I receive the reply from festivals saying, “Sorry, your film is a documentary and is not eligible for our festival,” I feel sad for this superficial and traditional approach to films. In the era of new technologies when we examine time, space and reality with new tools, Films are only Films: important, meaningful, creative … Not separating them helps both documentaries and fictions, to take maximum creativity and responsibility towards the audience and film as an art.

Do you work internationally? Do you see it as positive / as a pure necessity?

In Bosnian the word ‘Deblokada’ means breaking the siege, a word frequently used during the Serbian siege of Sarajevo. Now, the aim of Deblokada is to break the sieges that are around us. Also, we work in a country where the film system is not functioning (no money, law, laboratory, equipment or market). Working internationally is our positive necessity but certainly it is in the nature of film (picture moving through our eyes, going directly through the nerves and then, it depends: to heart, to liver, to sexual organs…with no stops, no barricades).

Which media do you think you will produce for (TV, cinema, the Internet)?

Internet is timeless, spaceless, and personalityless and it is wonderful to imagine placing a film on it with no clue when, where, who will watch it. Cinema is timelimited, spacelimited, very human and it is a joy to produce for it. I think the two of them could live parallel and compatible…and it will be nice to produce for both. (TV has power. Since it already exists, why not?)


Linda Västrik, b.1972, Stockholm, Sweden

Director. Graduation documentary Dad and Me has travelled to numerous festivals around the world.

What documentaries will you be making in the future?

I do not know about the future nor do I know about the reason for the future.

What is you biggest inspiration?

PJ Harvey, Fransesca Woodman, Bruce Gilden, Brian Weil.

Which documentary traditions do you approve of?

Still photographers as Nan Goldin, Fransesca Woodman, Araki, Brian Weil,

Robert Frank.

What would you like to renew?

I want explore my own life.

Do you work internationally?


Do you see it as positive/ as a pure necessity?

It is extremely positive.

Which media do you think you will produce for (TV, cinema, the Internet)?

I will produce first of all for cinema and cityrooms.

Gunnar Dedio, b.1969, Rostock, Germany

Producer. Established Looks Medienproduktion in 1995.  Documentary producer. Recent documentary: Fit for Jesus

What documentaries will you be making in the future?

If it is a good story I don’t want to exclude anything. Our next films are: Executioners (about the last European executioners), King of the air (about the falcon hospital), El Negro (a colonial story told by a mummy), Cobra in the kitchen (about the anti-poaching unit of the Botswana Defence Force), Hawaii-Marathon (about marathon swimmers)… The only focus is a good story and attractive pictures.

Who is your biggest inspiration? Which documentary traditions do you approve of /What would you like to renew?

My biggest inspiration is not someone but something: good fiction films. I believe in “factual beats fiction”. To make such films I have to use the tools technically and dramatically adopted by fiction. I want to tell good stories, not to pretend to be objective in a situation where this is a boring lie. In German the word for lens is “Objektiv”. That’s where the lie starts.

Do you work internationally? Do you see it as positive/ as a pure necessity?

More than half of our output is made internationally. We have a branch of Looks in Germany and one in Botswana. Our next steps will be to Tanzania, Poland, Lebanon. The newest production is a Spanish-German-Botswanian Co-production (“El Negro”). I love to learn how to see the same thing from another side; I like to enlarge my horizon and I prefer to raise a bigger budget but keep some rights. And the grass seems always to be greener on the other side of the fence, so I jump from the German fog into the African sun and from the dryness of the desert back to my fertile homeland. That’s why I work internationally.

Which media do you think you will produce for (TV, cinema, the Internet)?

All of them. I don’t think that the name of the media and the way of the distribution will have a big influence in defining what is a good story and what is not. The way of financing will change, the thinking and the contracting.

Maria Leonida, b.1969, Athens, Greece

Documentary director. Currently project manager for Lynx SA. Recent Documentary: Tough Pose

What documentaries will you be making in the future?

My framework is very common to that of most documentarists: people and their world. I don’t know what documentaries I will be making. Things progress and I follow my point of view in life as this develops. I hope that life and myself will be able to surprise me as it has sometimes happened so far.

What I know are the subjects and matters that bother me now. I can see two different kinds of stories prevailing. The very personal, unique and thus common to everybody’s experiences of life, from birth to death, and on the other hand our last resorts of seeing what is happening on this huge-small planet on which we happen to find ourselves. Coca-Cola is everywhere but there are still differences in our cultures and experiences. This is why studying our mentalities, actions and reactions at home can be interesting to others far away.

Who is your biggest inspiration? Which documentary traditions do you approve of / What would you like to renew?
Two titles that come to my mind are State of Weightlessness by Polish Maciej Drygas and The Medellin Notebooks by Colombian-French Catalina Villar. Of course there are several others that also retain their juice and weight in my heart and mind. Those two however are very important for me because of the way the personal and the political come together. In each of them, quite different in style, directorial approach serves the subject very well, is delicate, particular and strongly emotional – but not sentimental – at the same time.

For me there is no particular issue of approving of a tradition. I am much more for approving or liking particular works. Often works that follow a particular tradition are generally less strong.  It is about experimenting and going further than the given. Next to the subject, what I am very much interested is the form of documentary. My aim is the combination of content and form and how reality joins poetry. The essence of documentary is to allow the observation of life to transform into something else.

Do you work internationally? Do you see it as positive/ as a pure necessity?

I am very keen on working with good producers, meaning producers with a creative concern and proposals, and as this is not very common in my home country, so far, it may be possible to find such people abroad. I understand co-production as a positive element when there is need for joint forces from more than one country.

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