This year on BOSIFEST arrived record number of more than one hundred films from all over the world. In front of this year’s selector, director Jelena Gavrilović is not an easy assignment. About how is to be on the other side, which criteria are crucial in the selection of films, about the importance of BOSIFEST as for the people with disabilities and for all those who love good film, we talked with a young director for our site.
As a director you are usually in situation where you are evaluated, how it looks to be on the other side?
It is a big responsibiliy, but it is a very interesting. I try to be strict and that the final selection is something beyond I can stand.
This year arrived a lot of films all over the world, forthcoming big job, but on the basis of watching movies so far what can we expect on the fifth BOSIFEST?
What may be common to all the films that I have so far chosen is that the main heroes have terribly interesting personality. All the movies I watched from the position of the audience and that’s why I tried to choose exciting films that hold attention with its emotion or issues raised by the viewer.
Based on what criteria you choose films that will go down in the official selection of the festival?
The most important criterion for me is a human approach to the subject or character, without pathetics, false admiration, I was looking for sincere and friendly relationship between the director and the actors. Beside that, it was important for me to see the film literacy and a director’s idea, imagination, ability of storytelling, and that at the technical level the film is properly accomplished. The biggest dilemma for me make the films that have a warm and strong emotion, bur unsatisfactory realization, or contrarwise-well produced films in which I feel the coldness and sterility. As I said, for now am staying strict and do not accept compromises, and still only pick movies that are successful on many levels.
What is the significance of the festival as BOSIFEST as for people with disabilities and for ordinary fans of the seventh art?
I think it’s important for both sides, exactly that particular meeting, calling on communication and learning. What I personaly feel is that most people generally know little about the problems of persons with disabilities, and because of this misunderstanding feel afraid of them and prefer to take refuge in the side view. In my opinion, the main aim of the festival as BOSIFEST is to reduce this gap, to point the similarities that exist among us, and not the differences. Also, I think that from the perspective of persnos with disabilities is significantly that the movies are showing the strength of the human spirit, and in this sense act as inspiration and motivation. I want that all the films which I choose have a positive approach to things, to point to the problem, but also how it can be solved-primarly on the personal, but also at the institutional level.
With what prejudice you usually meet when it comes to people with disabilities and their equal participation in an artistic process?
What I now know for sure is that something that is a disadvantage to one side, very easily becomes a big advantage on the other. I watched a documentary about Venezuelan blind photographer who makes a very interesting and authentic pictures in the dark using only their sense of touch. Also, the film that made the man who is after a serious injury and long recovery decided to walk through whole France and by the way recorded too interesting people. This is a view of the things that I've raced in the movies-we are not what we can’t do, but what we are able to do.
In a world where solidarity and empathy are increasingly suppressed and lost, films that we will have the opportunity to see at this year's Bosi festival, first of all, will point us to think about these basic values of human society. We'll see special films with special personalities, which are not different because of their disability but because of permanent struggle and celebration of life. That certainly makes them special and distinctive in a society that has fallen into apathy. In such society often dominates superficial view that disabled people are only those who do not walk. These films reveal that they actually walk in open spaces that often most people in society can’t even imagine. The courage in the phrase, topic, procedure, tapping the irrational, the openness of views where the society is handicapped by blind spots, all this features are characterizing this year's selection of films. They will shake you, run, hit, make you imagine, laugh, surprise. Expect the unexpected!
You will see a variety of films from all over the world. Different cultures, customs and social circumstances. You will meet different characters and their stories. You'll see the struggle, suffering, joy, sadness, optimism and above all the desire to live. You'll learn something, you will experience and identify with interesting personalities, you will love and understand them. Get closer to something that you avoided - see and discover - universally human being. Once again you will discover the vitality and life force. Indestructibility of life, because there is always hope. Come to see and understand.
So far I have had the opportunity to watch a lot of movies that have treated the topic of people with disabilities, and some of them have become real classics such as “Rain Man” or “My Left Foot”, and some were so pathetic to me that caused " yuck " feeling in the stomach mixed with disgust because of the greed of some producers to use someone’s troubles to make merchandise for sale.
But the movies that I've looked at in a very short time (with deadlines is always a big deal) for me were however much it may sound like common place is really a completely new experience. Some of them are so serious that the recording may be homework for many Serbian filmmakers and their "warm human story ". I am fascinated by the lack of pathetic and self-pity. Cheerful, courageous, explorative and some moments truly shocking. These are some of the movies I watched. Those low quality movies, which can’t be found in the official competition with their charm knew to compensate professional ignorance and limitations of the budget. A good and interesting festival is not only socially responsible.