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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Serbia / Slovenia / Netherlands / Bosnia and Herzegovina / France

Ivan Ikić in post-production with The Users

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- The Barbarians director once again has real-life people playing versions of themselves in this love-triangle drama set in an institution for intellectually disabled children

Ivan Ikić in post-production with The Users
Marijana Novakov and Valentino Zenuni in The Users

Serbian filmmaker Ivan Ikić broke out internationally with his first feature, Barbarians [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ivan Ikic
film profile
]
, which world-premiered and received a Special Mention in Karlovy Vary's East of the West section in 2014. Now he is finishing post-production on his sophomore feature, The Users, a co-production between Serbia, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and France.

The “users”, as the public health and social system calls them, are children who were born with intellectual disabilities, abandoned by their families and placed in specialised institutions where most of them spend their whole lives. The story of the film deals with three such teenagers who form an unlikely and potentially tragic love triangle.

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Ikić, who also wrote the script, says that he used the same method as he did for Barbarians, according to which documentary film influences fiction, and vice versa. In that film, the main characters were real juvenile delinquents from a small town in Serbia.

“The feature was shot in real locations at an existing institution, and actual users we found there play the main characters,” explains the director. “They then went through a workshop where they were gradually introduced to the characters they were to play, while the script was being adapted to their personalities.”

In addition to the three main non-professional actors, Marijana Novakov, Tijana Marković and Valentino Zenuni, the film also stars Croatia's Goran Bogdan (last seen in the Berlinale Panorama Audience Award winner Father [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Srdan Golubović
film profile
]
) and Slovenia's Maruša Majer (Volare [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Ivan [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Janez Burger
interview: Maruša Majer
film profile
]
). Barbarians DoP Miloš Jaćimović and editor Dragan von Petrović have returned to collaborate once again with Ikić.

The Users is a co-production between Serbia's Sense Production, Slovenia's Tramal Film, the Netherlands' Keplerfilm, Bosnia and Herzegovina's SCCA/Pro.ba, and France's Les Films d'Antoine. It was supported by Film Center Serbia, the Slovenian Film Center, Viba Film, the Netherlands Film Fund, the Foundation for Cinema Sarajevo, Eurimages and Creative Europe MEDIA.

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