Talking behind the scanes with Ivana Pakusic manager of the Sarajevo City of Film, one of the most ambitious short film projects from the Balkans.

What is the main goal of the Sarajevo City of Film Project?

To encourage and motivate young film authors from the region of South-Eastern Europe to collaborate and to enable the shooting of films that would be a quality reference for their further work.

This year you have chosen 4 projects for realization. What were the selection criteria?

A good story and the possibility to shoot that story within 3 shooting days, with a micro budget at disposal.

Was there any connection between the various projects or did every team work on its own?

The main connection, of course,  is the city of Sarajevo where all the films were produced at the same time. Every team had a maximum of 3 days for the shooting, worked with the same production team and same equipment, and had the same budget on disposal.

Do you have a favourite project of this year’s entries?

Every film is different and has its merit, but being included in the production process  as well as in the process of organising the project itself (from the call for entries to the distribution of the films) doesn’t leave me too much room for an objective perspective of the films. I don’t have a favourite project but I honestly believe that each of those 4 films will find its audience.

The SCF brings together talents from South-Eastern Europe. Did any of the previous co-operations have a follow-up?

There are some co-operations that started during the Talent Campus or the Sarajevo City of Film and continued afterwards. For example, Nives Zemba from Croatia and Dženan Medanović from Bosnia and Herzegovina are currently developing a feature documentary that is supposed to start shooting in September. Nives and Dženan met during the Sarajevo City of Film 2010 where Nives participated in the project as a producer and Dženan was one of the scriptwriters of the film Frigidance (Frigidance, 2010, dir: Kelmend Karuni).

The Sarajevo City of Film Project is somewhere in between film school training and the “real” film industry. Do you plan to serve as a first step for young talents?

Yes and No. Yes – for those who aren’t experienced in working in professional conditions and aren’t used to have a complete production team at their disposal.

No – for those who have already had that experience. These authors recognise the challenge of making a quality film by accepting all requirements this project has (working with an international crew, with a limited budget and having a maximum of 3 shooting days).

Whether or not authors have already experienced professional filmmaking, the Sarajevo City of Film serves them as a training and networking platform.

The SCF is a follow-up to the Sarajevo Talent Campus. Is there a similar relationship between the SCF and the Competition programme? Have you already had SCF alumni presenting their films at the festival?

We have had SCF alumni in different festival sections and programs. Sonja Tarokić who directed “Smart Girls” (Pametnice, 2010, co-dir.: Hana Jušić) is a director of the film Red (Crveno, 2010) which was selected for the Short Competition Programme of the 16th Sarajevo Film Festival. The same year, another participant of the SCF project, Dane Komljen – who directed the film Bodily Function (Tjelesna funkcija, 2011) – had his film “I Already Am Everything I Want To Have” (Ja vec jesam sve ono što želim da imam, 2010) at the same competition programme.

We also have some participants who started to develop their first scripts for feature films and got into selection for the Cinelink programme (Sarajevo Film Festival co-production market): Karoly Ujj-Meszaros who directed “Alena’s Journey” (Alenino putovanje, 2008) as a part of SCF 2008 and Nikola Ljuca who directed the film “Scenes with Women” (Scene sa ženama, 2011) as a part of this year’s edition of the SCF.

Tell us a success story of the SCF Project!

64 Talent Campus Alumni, 18 shorts produced in 4 years, over 100 world festivals (including the International Film Festival Rotterdam where “Liberation in 26 Pictures”  (Oslobođenje u 26 slika, 2009, dir.: Marko Škobalj and Ivan Ramljak) was screened) and 10 awards.

In the industry, short films are a bit on the side, mainly because of financial reasons. Do you think it is possible to make money with short films?

Since there is no theatrical distribution for short films developed yet, for now, I don’t think it is possible to make money with short films.

But I believe in securing money for subsequent feature films by making good and quality short films. If there is a successful short which helps the author to present him- or herself as a good and creative director, then it will be easier for him/her to get the funding for a feature film, and then, with the feature film, there is a possibility of making some money.

What do you think about the relationship between short films and the Internet?

I think this connection is natural considering the fact that beside film festivals there is rarely any other time or place where you can see short films. With short films on the Internet you have the access to a huge archive of great films, which is very valuable both for film professionals and short film fans.