BELLSPIRATION CLUB – STEFAN STOJANOVIĆ: I was about 11 years old when I picked up the camera for the first time and experienced ecstasy (Part 2/4)

1) Movies! In a previous interview, you told us you were a screenwriter, a director… When did you enter that world of film? How did it all start and when did you realize that the camera is your love?

I entered the world of moving images very early and quite by accident. Although you know what they say about coincidences? The universe is rarely so lazy. I was about 11 years old when I first took the camera in my hands and experienced an ecstasy that introduced me to a completely new and magical universe, which I didn’t even know existed until then. It was the power to capture the light on the film, freeze the moment and experience it again, with new eyes. After I discovered that these moments can be completely stylized, adjusted. This meant that the stories and ideas that had only existed in my head until then, hidden from the world, could now materialize into something tangible, come to life from the words in the script through movement and sound and image on the big screen. And just when I felt that process, how ideas become reality, how dreams become reality, magic happened that would take the air out of the room every time. She made her heart flutter a little harder and her eyes laugh with the glow of the stars. I really played around creating those little worlds, characters, situations. It was a fluttering game, perfect in its simplicity, sincere in its intention. The game remained after all those years, because in order to create, we have to play, and in order to dream, we have to be children, at least from within, in those delicate parts of our mind. Soon the game became a hobby, a hobby became something that captured my heart and I had no choice but to create, shoot, imagine. At the beginning of high school, the first screening of one of my films in a real cinema followed. You know that big shiny screen, projector, red upholstered seats, the smell of popcorn and dreams. The whole package. It was a documentary about a peace camp that I participated in earlier that year. An opportunity to tell one important story. It was a special moment because then I understood what it means to share one world, one idea with people. Show something that the audience will react to, that they will discuss. That is the moment when we release the film into the world, and it is no longer just a thought in someone’s head, or an image on someone’s screen, it becomes a part of that great world.

2) Can you list some of the projects you have worked on that you would single out here for us – which you are most proud of?

There is definitely one of my first works, officially the first feature film I made “Violin”. A 45-minute film about the lost violin of Antonio Stradivari. It was one of the first big challenges to work in a large team of people, with actors and extras, in historic buildings. This film represents a turning point in the shift of focus from the film as a hobby to something much bigger and more serious than ever before. This was followed by many short feature films, documentaries that will be successful at festivals in the country and abroad. Voices of Refugees is certainly one of the larger projects I have directed in collaboration with the European Youth Forum in Brussels. We shot the film in 3 countries, we had the premiere in the heart of European democracy, in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The film was subsequently shown in 20 countries around the world. I am extremely proud of the projects I have accomplished working with colleagues from Germany and the United States in a series of short feature films, shot in the past 3 years. Certainly, I made the most films in my hometown of Sombor with the people I love. The project I would single out is the film “Paradox”, which was shot and shown during the summer of last year. It is a psycho-thriller that a small, but extremely hard-working and dedicated team of people worked on. Without a budget and ideal conditions, I was once again motivated by love and passion for film, a desire to tell and share a special story, and an immense need for creative expression, for new learning, self-discovery, and pushing boundaries.

3) I am a big fan of your work, and I believe your films will win Oscars and many other awards. What are your dreams about your professional life? Do you have specific plans?

I am currently in America, as a Fulbright Fellow I was given a unique opportunity to study for a master’s degree in film at Ohio University. Current concrete plans are to complete studies and meet people from the industry and the world of film. I am very much looking forward to future projects and collaborations. I am currently working on several screenplays for short and feature films and I am focusing on realizing these projects in the near future at the highest possible level. Accordingly, I hope to participate in more serious festivals. I dream far and wide and it has always been so, but I have recently learned that although we need to be ambitious, dream big dreams, we must never forget the beauty of that long journey, learning and pushing boundaries. All the beauty of life, both professional and private, is found in the moments and details and really in all those little things. Whether the crown of my work will one day be an Oscar or something else is less important at this point. What I do know is that I want to do what I love, keep growing, learning and enjoying it. And by the way, if I’m a little lucky, someone will feel something from my art, think something new, do something or get some new insight. And that will be the greatest honor and reward. Because when we do something authentic out of love, the sky really is the limit.