Stone face (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Sandra Mlađanović

2023 July 9

Stone face (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Sandra Mlađanović

-Who is Sandra Mladjanovic?

It’s very difficult for me to explain myself in front of a large audience. I perceive myself as very complex, and I would try to approach the audience chronologically, maybe that’s the only way I can express myself. Essentially, I am a visual artist who lives and works in a very small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina called Doboj. There is Sandra before the age of seven and after the age of seven. I would divide that time into before and after the war in Yugoslavia and the dissolution of Yugoslavia. I don’t have formal education in the film industry, I’m just a lifelong fan of film and music. The COVID period brought me the most magical experience, which was diving in Egypt with a complete sense of the sea and the force of the sea. I secretly studied philosophy, but I didn’t complete it formally. I love stories that don’t have an ending and live on their own in time.

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

The COVID period has been the most traumatic experience for me after the civil war in Bosnia, which lasted for four years. My inner anxiety was awakened again, wondering how long this situation had to last and why. I even think that unconsciously, I escaped under the sea to avoid the disaster that had taken over the planet, even wider than the war in Bosnia. For many years, I expressed myself through photography, digital images, and other media, but they couldn’t embody the idea that had sound, image, and a more layered story. I looked for short forms, and the film I present to the audience is dedicated to a friend from Britain who is no longer with us in the physical world. He did not survive a lung transplant. It’s always a struggle for truth, which philosophically speaking, has no happy ending, and somewhere in that experimental practice, I give myself an answer and serve as a mirror of the existing reality. One accidental event was crucial for me to even dip my toes into the world of film. I submitted my first underwater film to the Underwater Film Festival in Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2021, and won the first prize for the best domestic film. That was a trigger for further thinking about film creation.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

I am not from the world of directors, screenwriters, and other film professionals, but a great influence in my life until the age of seven was the director Emir Kusturica with the film “Time of the Gypsies” and the story of people on the margins. I realized then that life is an uncomfortable story that must be lived no matter what happens to you. I knew early on that there is no free will in man, which may have been more influential for my upbringing. One thing is certain, that film in relation to the time in which it is lived and created leaves an indelible mark on the spirit that can live and exist in those who deal with the spirit, truth, situation… Also, Kusturica is not the only director I would mention, he is just from my country. I respect the work of Lars Von Trier, Tarkovsky, Bertolucci, Fellini, Pasolini, Paradjanov, and other great names from the world of cinema. I remember visiting Sicily in 2016 and the village of Savoca, where the famous Vitteli bar from “The Godfather” movie is located, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. I love to find a famous film location and relive a piece of it.

-What would you change in the world?

I don’t know how much I’m able to change anything, because so many times in my life I was unable to influence anything in an objective way. Change would be a great idea of control, and I am afraid of conditions that aim for control. My great life pain is that we are all one, and that’s my Achilles heel that I regularly succumb to.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

I believe that the film industry won’t go far for me. I will preserve the values that I consider important, so an object or idea that doesn’t interest me won’t be too significant. The world is changing, and virtual realities, changes in film technology, entertainment, and commercial content follow it, but I know they won’t be significant for me. I will look for personal material that interests me in life, and everything else can go by me.