Interview with director KRISTIJAN KRAJNČAN

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

When I was little my grandmother was supposed to babysit me, but she still had a job back then and left me in the apartment watching movies. I became a filmophile not by choice, but my love for movies never went away.

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

Not at all. I actually studied music, not film directing. It’s the environment that matters, not where and what you study. In my opinion every school has good and bad sides, but it’s entirely up to you to recognize it and steer among it.

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

Definitely to keep going. Lately I had to reexamine my reasons for making music and films. It can push you into a deep dark hole, especially if you are ruthlessly honest to yourself. But I am staying an optimist, I believe in the light at the end of the tunnel.

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

That a DOP can become your closest collaborator in all stages of production. We had to fight for the movie, but luckily at the end it all worked out for the best.

  • What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?

There is never enough money, as everybody in the film industry knows. But I learned that by making compromises you have to understand stronger what is your vision and your core idea, so at the end the film actually benefits from the restraints. You can’t stay rigid though; your vision has to constantly adapt while staying true to itself. I’m still learning how to deal with this paradox.

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

To let go of my favorite scene which inspired the script in the first place. But the film is better without it, so I have absolutely no regret in cutting it out.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

Honesty and being open. Listening to their ideas, always. When you click with somebody you know it, and you want to keep collaborating and expanding the creative process in the future. I think throughout the years and the films you slowly end up with a “small family-army” which hopefully trusts you to lead them into battle.

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

Not at all. Today there are so many bad films because the filmmakers don’t worry about their vision but about the audience appeal. I don’t want to underestimate the audience. I want to make an honest film and expose my inner self. That’s not easy. But I believe the audience responds to that, sometimes in bigger, sometimes in smaller numbers, depending on your taste. But the numbers shouldn’t be your worry. Kieslowski said he is happy if he can touch only one person with his film.

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

I used to watch so many films, now I had to slow down a bit to see who I am and what I want to do. I love it when I can sense a strong director’s vision and a personal approach to the film language. I think movies can be a great tool to expose our inner life, that’s why I also like moments in films when the reality starts to border on something else.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

Whatever strikes your fancy! The important thing is to stay true and to never stop asking questions!