Marina Gumzi • Producer, Nosorogi
"Independence is the healthiest attitude"
- Slovenian producer Marina Gumzi has been selected by the EFP as one of the 2020 Producers on the Move, and we talked to her on this occasion
Since 2012, writer and producer Marina Gumzi has been working with the Ljubljana-based production company Nosorogi, where she produced Matjaž Ivanišin's 2017 FID Marseille entry Playing Men [+see also:
film profile] and Gregor Božič's Toronto 2019 title Stories from the Chestnut Woods [+see also:
film profile], which she also co-wrote. She has been selected by the European Film Promotion as one of the Producers on the Move, and we talked to her on this occasion.
Cineuropa: What would you say drives you in filmmaking?
Marina Gumzi: My tastes and interest are all over the place. People tried to describe me with diametrically different labels so far – experimental, pop, radical, hipster, intellectual, nostalgic, progressive, strange… which doesn’t really sum up to anything. Now that I’m in my wise mid-thirties, I came to the conclusion that independence is the healthiest attitude, for most things in life, and the one that can provide the most fun.
Besides this, I’m more and more interested in not suffering too much – not as a filmmaker nor as a spectator. It is this painless independence, which I guess could also be called curiosity, that drives me. Can one be curious about curiosity? Does this mean I’m drawn to paradoxes? I certainly adore paradoxes, yes! In any case, I’m not really comfortable with taking anything for granted, at least not in art. Creative conventions bore me to tears. I condemn them as a threat to evolution.
Can you tell us a bit about the films you are currently working on?
I work on a tiny slate of hand-picked projects that I take on my micro eclectic boat because in some way they suit my life. To mention two:
Together with Gregor Božič, currently a student at Le Fresnoy, we’re developing the feature-length essay documentary The Jungle Film Project. Gregor is a very curious film director and an excellent cinematographer, who has also been passionately researching old and autochthonous fruit varieties for more than a decade now. Shot on 16 mm, the film will try to put into images the idea that, while fruits were inspiring kings and poets throughout the history and were considered as gift from gods and/or nature, under the neoliberal global economy, they became a fabrication of the promise of the taste - a buyable mirage.
The second project is Little Trouble Girl, the first feature by Urška Djukić, a recent Cinéfondation resident. The story that we are writing together is set in Slovenia in early 2000s and follows a teenage girl - a choir singer, who is experiencing strong sexual desires but is impeded by the rules of her Catholic environment. We’d like to work with a real girls choir and mix fiction with documentary approach. I myself have sung in the girls’ choir for twelve years, so this setting is extremely dear to me.
How do you see the current production situation in Slovenia? What do you think about the international visibility of Slovenian films and interest of Slovenian audiences in local films?
This question always requires a premeditation about the degree of diplomacy that best suits the context. Let me try with a discretely concerned approach: since Rok Biček’s Class Enemy [+see also:
interview: Rok Biček
interview: Rok Bicek
interview: Rok Bicek
film profile] (2013), Slovenian filmmakers, especially the new generation, have been working astonishingly well. Slovenia is about half of Berlin in terms of population, and our film culture, historically, isn’t anything to die for. Yet, all of a sudden, a gang of very different filmmakers appears, all under 40, who have their films regularly presented at festivals such as Venice, Locarno, Toronto, etc. Moreover, two young Slovenian female filmmakers developed their projects in Cinéfondation residence in the course of one year, which is unique. These filmmakers aren’t stylistically unified, nor are they following any narrative line, yet they are strong, each and all together. Six films that won the best film award at the national festival in the last seven years were debuts, and one was second film.
Doesn’t this say it all? The new wave inspired the reconsideration of the proverbially sceptical attitude about national cinema among Slovenians, too. But there is a trick. The entire state supports for film wouldn’t suffice to make a sole average-budget French film. Young filmmakers have no reliable ground to develop their potential and they cannot work on the fuel of enthusiasm forever. So, honestly, I don’t know. Following the recent national political discourse and in light of current global situation, I’m not overly enthusiastic.
What do you expect from your participation in Producers on the Move?
The less one expects, the better it is - whatever comes. It’s all strange these days anyway: smiling into the glowing aluminium gadget, discussing financing plans in pyjamas and cocktailing with a bottle of wine on one’s own little balcony… Luckily, I don’t dislike strangeness.
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