Biljana Tutorov • Producer, director
"The challenge is to make films that are more authentic"
- We talked to Serbian producer and director Biljana Tutorov, working for Wake Up Films, after being selected for EFP’s 2018 Producers on the Move
Serbian filmmaker Biljana Tutorov broke out internationally when her first feature-length film When Pigs Come [+see also:
interview: Biljana Tutorov
film profile], world-premiered in Sarajevo's documentary competition last year and produced through her own outfit Wake Up Films. She is currently working on two films directed by Croatia's Jure Pavlović, known for Picnic, winner of EFA for Best Short Film in 2015, and a multi-platform projects with four European women directors - Aunts. We talked to her after being selected for European Film Promotion’s 2018 Producers on the Move initiative at the 71st Cannes Film Festival.
Cineuropa: Which is the film you are most proud of and why?
Biljana Tutorov: I'm proud of my When Pigs Come, which I directed and produced, and which just had its North American premiere at Hot Docs in Toronto. I had to produce it myself because in Serbia I couldn't find a producer who wanted to do it. Out of very modest means we made a film which in half a year went around twenty festivals and won awards.
Through a story of an apparently ordinary Serbian family, it speaks about the actual misuse of democratic system in establishing of a new regime in Serbia, ruled by people who used to be very close to Slobodan Milošević. His former minister of information is now our president, and he is very obviously supported by the EU and the international community. Everybody seams to have conveniently forgotten about his past. We were not afraid to show this, and when you have in mind that in Serbia practically all the media are controlled by the government, it's a very brave film.
I'm happy to see that it speaks to people in USA, France, Italy, Poland etc. who recognise the same symptoms in their societies.
What are the challenges and merits of producing in Serbia, especially in the documentary field?
The merit of producing in Serbia is that in a very condensed territory and small country you can find many talents, great film professionals, experienced, high-end technicians, modern studios and breath-taking landscapes. So time is used efficiently, and with good food and wine, and people in the industry who are open and warm, there is always a good atmosphere for work.
In recent years, Film Centre Serbia has made an extraordinary effort to establish a transparent system for project selection and regular funding competitions, support for professional training, promotion of Serbian filmmakers, increased tax rebates, etc.
The challenge is to convince the regional and local funding bodies to invest in film, to make films that are more authentic instead of aiming to please international funds and festivals, to match the European budgets, and to harmonize the crew fees with fiction film production.
What are your expectations in Cannes as one of the "Producers on the Move"?
I see it mainly as an empowering support providing transition towards the next stage of my career, where I will be doing more challenging and ambitious international projects. I hope to meet new colleagues and discover new opportunities. And it's always good and great fun to be in Cannes, to see films and meet up with old friends, and talk about films.
What are your next projects?
I have a new film in post-production, as director and producer. It's a music documentary which takes us into the intimacy and trance of music-making, but I would like to keep the title secret.
I'm involved with two films directed by Jure Pavlović, one of the most talented young European directors: documentary The Lost Dream Team about the last six days of Yugoslavia told through the story of the last national basketball team which won the European gold medal for a country which ceased to exist three days earlier, and fiction film Matriarch, which is now in post-production.
As a creative producer, I'm developing a film and a multi-platform project with four great European women directors questioning the representation of femininity in film and art in general, called Aunts.
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