“Documentary is an art form about the art of life”
Industry Report: Documentary
Ivan Perić • Producer, Kazimir
The Croatian producer, selected for the 2021 Emerging Producers programme, discussed his documentary projects and how he’s dealing with the current situation
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you understand documentary film as an instrument of social and political change?
Ivan Perić: I like art in general because it helps us realize we are not alone and that there is someone out there who feels and sees the world in a similar way like we do. Documentaries are special because it is an art form about the art of life. It captures moments that we live through and which are very short in time but these moments can later have an effect on moments that happen afterwards.
I think we live in the age of film and media. They can’t change the world directly, but they can affect individuals. They can broaden their knowledge and maybe inspire them to change some things in their close surrounding. Lots of things are happening in the world and many people are not aware of it. If they were aware of it they might do something about it. Documentary films can help shape people’s opinions and uncover what is going on beyond mainstream media. I think documentary films can be like poetry in motion.
How do you deal with the current pandemic situation as a producer? What are your main concerns (or opportunities)?
I have just finished working on an art environmental documentary Landscape Zero [+see also:
film profile] directed by Bruno Pavić. The film had its premiere at Ji.hlava IDFF, but unfortunately online. The film has been selected for other festivals as well, but we still haven’t seen it in the cinema. I feel that this situation with the pandemic has taken away a lot from the experience of watching films. I had to adapt like everyone else. At the moment I am developing new projects and mostly working from home than in the field.
My concern is that this has already affected the film scene, not just producers but the industry as a whole. I hope new days will bring the old normal. The situation has also brought new opportunities like being able to be at several places at the same time because everything is online, but now we also have more time to think and breathe which might help us to improve the projects that are still in the development.
What do you think is the future of the distribution of documentary films?
The future of films is partly in streaming platforms. I don’t like it, I would always rather choose to sit in an old uncomfortable wooden chair in an old cinema than to lie down in the Scandinavian bed and watch films on TV. It is not just the screen size, it is also the ritual of visiting cinema like a temple of dreams. The cinemas will always exist even if in the future most people abandon them. I’m sure there will still probably be some crazy guy who would take an old projector out and screen Fitzcarraldo on the monolith on the Moon.
What projects do you have underway (including in the area of fiction film and other projects)?
For the last four years I have been working on documentary film Discovering Gea. It is about a girl named Marija who explores the life of her great-aunt Gea, who was a professional photographer. This takes her to New York’s Westbeth, the world's largest artists' residential building. She's there to collect family things from Gea's apartment. Inspired by Gea, Marija decides to take more control of her life. I am the producer and co-director of the film with Alvaro Congosto from Spain. The film is a co-production between Croatia, USA and Italy. It is currently at the stage of postproduction and I am very excited to share it with the audience. I am also currently working on the development of other narrative and documentary projects.
EMERGING PRODUCERS is a leading promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the EMERGING PRODUCERS 2022 edition is 31 March 2021.
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