I thank the writers of nice welcome back notes!
I appologize for promissing too much – like another text the very next day after the comeback. Time is speeding, it is not me who is slow:)
Many obligations are now on my timetable, so I am shorter with time then ever, it seams to me. That comes with a package of being “guerilla in culture” as I named it long ago. In one of my films, I claim its purpose. I owe one explanation here as well.
Culture is something usualy overviewed regionaly, nationaly, in decades or centuries, etc. Actually, there is always a necessity to give a reference directing us to have an idea of a context when we discuss or simply consume cultural/artistic production. A more general reference, that comes before who made the piece, and why. That more general reference belongs to a certain structure. Structures then have their ways of functioning, working, producing. There is no such structure that equaly favourizes all production. And there is a reason for that: structure has its interests, and an agenda comes out of those. Structure doesn’t allow random production, it sellects what it will support. In film production in Europe, state or regional, even city funds play a big role. That is because market is smaller for products in languages that are not global, so films do not earn as much as for example films in English. So states invest in that cultural branche. My country is so small, that no film that has been produced here for long 18 years or so couldn’t pay itself. So I can say I am sure that Serbian film production has depended on public funds. That imposes total control of the state, or authorities. In my evironement, the given structure is the Serbian state – that is. Films that come out with the support of public budget have been internationally judged as basically crap. Inside the country people watch domestic movies, but still regret the “good old days” when we had better movies. The impression one gets, when one overviews modern Serbian films, is that “the state just had a poor choice and chose what it could”… or, “time is needed to see things from a distance to be able to artisticaly digest them”, or “the authorities are too buisy, in crizes, in transition, noone pays attention to films, they are such as they are, life goes on, until better times when we will have better movies”… All in all, it looks like there is no cultural politics of our state, like things are spontanious and not organized. I in fact believe that that is precisely deliberately and carefully chosen cultural politics of the state! My state doesn’t want strong films, dealing with well detected and real problems or challanges. Instead, all the latest local movies are so general. Lose. Simple stories about simple, often miserable main caracthers.
Yet, there is a lot of us who are not favourized by the structure, so we are not produced by state. we are off the budget, but pay taxes to fill the budget. Among a lot of us, there is just very fiew of us, who see that there is a plan behind the national production. Very fiew who think about the structure we are in. When you think about it, and know it, you see yourself on the margine – as an author in your own country. But, you have intention to work. If you have that clear picture of the structure wanting easy, weak, unimportant films, that reveal nothing and raise no questions, but justify why things are the way they are (now who would remember such plot for longer then 20 minutes after seeing it?) even when they deal with the issue of recent wars, and if you want to make movies that are daring, that confront and treat real problems, that are strong, you know you will get no support from the public budget. And market is still not established – we need one step before we get to free market, before we can mobilize films to do what they are designed to do and that is pay themselves and bring some money.
That step is making films with no money. Impossible? No. Doable. That is guerilla in culture. I am making my film. Feature fiction film. But on video, sure. I am doing everything on it, and trying to make the shooting last as short as possible. First I made sure the script is doable fast. Then I found comarades to make a guerilla squad. Sure, we operate hard, in jungles, appart from one an other because we have other things to do to survive at the same time, like we have to eat during the process. Then I have to call call call all those who would join the battle/ the opperation. Then we all have different moments when we can do it… all followed with the risk of losing the logistic support in equipment that can only last shortly… so I call… trying to catch exact people I want on it, into same moment. No money in this. Organization. Hard communication. Fight. No sleep. Other obligations, work, work, work… Calls. Yes. No. In 2 days. yes. no. In 5. She cannot. In 3 she can, but he cannot. they both can in a week. but the director of photography cannot… I still call. I am putting up a possible plan. Sneaking into locations. I will make it! again! Like I did many times! with shorter films. But now, with this one! I am in the middle of a guerilla operation. When I start the film shooting, that means I have managed the plan. That means I am back to my profession – directing. And then instead of being exhausted, I get a strong will and an adrenalin hit, and I do my job! I am not in this war zone to get tired, but to get to do my job! Because I have something to say. And this is the only way. And it is worth it!
I must admit, now, that I will probably manage to post photos in close future. I have three weaks to make a plan and shoot everything. Still rewriting the script. Making it sharper in its style and expression. There I have to be sure I do exactly what I need to do.
This above is my explanation of guerilla in culture. Placing my product to public will be new guerilla action. The only not so combat part of the process is editing and postproducing, because it hapenes with only one person at the time and in one or 2 places. Piece of cake.
I do it because future obligates. Because it is not true that all filmmakers from Sebia are the same. Because there needs to be a record on us very few who have our rights to be from here and chose to belong to different culture, that we create!
Photos by: Jelena Markovic