Antonita Alamat Kocijanovic is a Dubrovnik-born writer and director, currently based in New York. Her short film “Into the Blue” was nominated for a Student Academy Award, winning awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival, Oberhausen Film Festival, Festival de Premier Plans, Angers, among many other awards. She is a graduate of Berlinale Talent Lab, Sarajevo Talent Lab, La Femis Produce Atelier and Marcie Bloom Fellowship, and is a member of the Academy.
“Murina” is screened at the Directors’ Weeks at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. The festival takes place from July 6-17.
W&H: Describe the movie to us in your own words.
AK: Morena is sensual and violent, adults are coming of age, and a teenage girl among them struggles to find a savior and anchor among them.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
AAK: It was important for me to photograph both [evolution] And the limitations we face as we grow ourselves – that’s ‘Morena’ to me. It’s the way to give birth on your own. It passes through the storm and through deep underwater tunnels.
W&H: What do you want people to think after watching the movie?
Ak: The resilience, strength, and hope we all have like our younger selves – something that has deteriorated over the years. I want to bring people to this emotional place to recover. I would like them to restore that childish faith to the Unknown, the almighty nature, or some might call it divine.
W&H: What is the biggest challenge in the film industry?
AAK: It’s the same thing as in marriage: it’s the choice of partners and the topics that you will marry for the long haul. I always like to write a letter to myself ahead of time to look at the months into production when it gets tough, to remind me and get the initial love and affection I had in the beginning.
W&H: How did you get your film financed? Share some ideas of how the movie was made.
AAK: It’s hard to find money for any project, especially when it’s an independent character film; It asks people to be able to see your dreams and trust that everyone will respond to them. I was fortunate to own the Croatian Audiovisual Center which finances the filmmakers, the perks of the European system, and the producers who were willing to take the risk and invest their money in Morena.
W&H: What inspired you to become a director?
AAK: We grew up in Dubrovnik, on the streets of the Old Town, among the children, absolutely free, to play from morning to night, we always directed. It was the most imaginative time of my life. I think I started directing since the age of four.
W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?
AK: The best and worst advice I ever received was to be humble.
W&H: What’s your advice for other female directors?
Ak: Never do anything unimportant in the face of death. This is my advice to any exit.
W&H: Name your favorite female-directed movie and why.
AK: My favorite movie is “The Piano” by Jane Campion. It is sensual, subtle, and powerful. The film depicts a woman in many layers, [exploring her relationship to] Men, art and motherhood.
W&H: How are you coping with life during the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you maintain your creativity, and if so, how?
AAK: During COVID, I was pregnant, and it’s the biggest creature ever. This made filming and traveling for work more complicated. Patience, positive attitude and perseverance helped.
W&H: The film industry has a long history of underrepresenting people of color on screen and behind the scenes and promoting – and creating – negative stereotypes. What actions do you think should be taken to make it more inclusive?
AK: The most important measure to take is to fund underrepresented people. It is necessary to provide them with financial support.