The film shows the lives of her band and their efforts to put on a concert. Through the short documentary, Vanja Kovačević depicts the society she lives in and the generations that grew up in Serbia during the ’90; what they listened to, read, watched.
Vanja: Everyone involved, the members of the band and the crew, said they were happy to be a part of something you might define as “underground”. We practiced in an abandoned building in the industrial area and there we were, practicing and playing - because the music was important to us. This film is not about NATO bombing, Kosovo, war or politics. It deals with the people living in the shadow of it, people who can not make their living being musicians. They all have some other job, fighting to get by, with their chances limited as they can not even go abroad because of visa restrictions.
As a filmmaker from Serbia, are you confronted with similar problems?
Vanja: Apart from learning to play drums and doing the documentary, I was still working the whole time to pay the bills – editing commercials, promotional videos, some stuff for TV.
This film was supported by the Department for Culture of the Belgrade City Assembly, but being from Serbia, a non-EU country, we had no access to 70% of the EU film funds. We just couldn’t apply as we were not eligible. A colleague of mine tried to sign up on a web portal for documentary filmmakers where you make your own profile, upload your trailers or get in contact with other filmmakers, commissioning editors and world sales agents. He soon found out that as he was from Serbia he could not apply for free but would have to pay 250 euros to become a member.
During the making of this film, you fought in front of and behind the camera – as a girl who wanted to play drums and as a young female director in mostly male dominated film business.
Vanja: Directing is still predominantly a “man’s job” and very often on set the whole film crew is male. That’s a worldwide phenomenon - successful female directors are few and far between compared with the number of men. And here I am – a small, blonde girl who tries to be a director and editor in Serbia, making a music documentary and learning to play drums. My male colleagues that came to the set were very skeptical about the whole idea, acting as if this was just a game and not a serious project. They wondered why I was doing this instead of some TV series where I can earn some serious money. But then, when they saw the film, they were surprised, almost shocked. They became aware of all this effort I had put into it. Many of them said that they would never go into making their own film because they did not have the patience to be stuck into a project for three years as I did. And I would agree that it is certainly more difficult to pull all this through when you are a woman.