I had tremendous pleasure of talking to Slovakian director Mira Fornay on 29. Warsaw film festival. Mira came after winning Gran Prix - Golden tiger for her second feature “My dog killer” this year in Rotterdam. On Warsaw festival her film was screened in selection “Discoveries”, and herself was member of a jury in selection “Free spirit”, together with our Vuk Bojan Kosovčević. “My dog killer” is very powerful, story about a young skinhead, who is seeking way out of his trouble home, and lowliness.
Your first film „Fox” was screen In Venice and your second was screened in Rotterdam and you won Gran Prix Golden Tiger. When it comes to professional work how big of a deal was it for you to have films on those big festivals?
Mira Fornay: I think it’s more question for my producers, because they work with this information, so I think for their work, finding money for my next project is helpful very much.
For me was very nice especially because it was the jury that I liked, their work so it was real honor to get the prize from these people especially.
You we researching for your topic, about racism for three years, and you approached this theme from different prospective, different angle. We have main character who is quite venerable, and emotional mature. Why have you decided with this approach to tell a story through main character?
It was natural approach to me. For me to tell a story about violence of a group was not interesting, because there are a lot of films in such a direction. I was always close to outsiders and I like one strong character to follow. Maybe it will change, I do not know now. But in both films that I made, I have one character (him/her) that I follow. And I like simplicity. So I choose the simplest way to show the point of view of one of the guys which is of course not mature, otherwise he would join the “club” of racists.
Would you say it is a big problem in Slovakia?
Well, I didn’t make this film about Slovakian particular problem. I think we have this problem all around Europe – I mean racism and extremism, but I believe in films what tells a local story with universal theme. Of course there would be differences in stories from different parts of Europe – that’s obvious.
What do you think is the trigger for this kind of intolerance between people?
I try to answer this in film, but for me personally the basic point is that we allow those others to be intolerant and we do very little to change much it. The right- extremists are high peak of the mountain, but my film tells a story of society from what they are coming from. It’s just these guys are more visible. The whole society is still unfortunately intolerant. It is changing more and faster in the cities, but people living in smaller places are very conservative and jobless at this particular time, it’s very hard from them and they need to release anger on somebody. But we are moving slowly to some better results and changes regarding intolerance - at least there are discussions. You cannot change thinking of people from one day to another. It’s a lot of work and lot of hard work as your approach must have compassion! I think education is the direction we can achieve the best results.
Would you say it is independent film?
Regarding finance no. It was supported by Czech and Slovak film funds, Czech and Slovak State TV, but they way it was shot and produced, it is was very independent. It’s great that state support our films and it’s very necessary as my films would never make money back – its not entertainment genre movie at all!
Festival film or film for the cinema audience?
You always do film for people - audience. I do not have preferences where it should be screened, either on festival or in the cinema for me it’s the same and very good and positive. Of course I would be happy if it would have bigger audience in my country. What I have heard, because I’m not living there anymore, the situation in Slovakia is very bad, they are closing down cinemas. In general people just stopped going to the cinemas. We are talking here about money, it’s very expensive to go for all family to cinema, and they can hardly effort it.
After the Warsaw film festival, what is plan? Traveling on festival, some cinema distribution?
I think it’s going very well on festivals, and we are earning money from festival awards, which makes me very happy cause it helps me with my new project. Regarding cinema distribution it’s going to be screened in Czech and Slovakia, and also in Germany, small art house cinema distribution. And what is really nice is that German distributor approached me not the other way around. But I stopped travelling with my film as I must concentrate on my new film.