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Interview with Marko Šantić, Director of the Film Together

How did you become a film director?

Basically, I grew up in Rijeka and I was interested in acting and films, the desire to do films was growing in me. I made the decision when my father bought the camera and I started filming. Then I knew that I wanted to take the entrance exam for directing. I just did not know if I wanted to study in Zagreb or Ljubljana, but then I decided to take the exam in Ljubljana and I was accepted, luckily from the first try and so it rolled from there.

The film touches on a lot of important topics, it talks about guardianship, a girl coming of age, the loss of a family member and about same-sex marriages and the attitude of the society towards them, but what is the most important topic of the film for you?  

Same-sex parenting. That would be the main topic. This is a new topic, not only in the Slovenian film, but also in the Slovenian society, about which society is currently being informed, and how the society faces it and somehow breaks down some of its prejudices. Whether same-sex partners can raise children, that is the question. In this case, two men can provide all parental love to one child, however, there is only one parent in our film.

There is a scene in the film where a neighbor reports domestic violence to the girl’s grandmother and grandfather. Then the police get involved, which is why our hero loses custody of the girl. It turns out that, from all the possible problems that could have arisen, it was the tiniest thing coming from a man whom this situation did not concern at all, which eventually prevented a normal life to a healthy family. Is this criticism of society directed towards an ordinary man from this region that the problem is in them and their perception?

Yes. This encounter symbolizes, in fact, the lack of understanding of the environment and the interference in other people's lives. I think that this creates some problems in this region. There is always someone that wants to interfere with someone else’s issues, looking out of the window, over the wall, and looking at someone else’s plate. In fact, this is actually shown in this context. In the film they actually found a legal mechanism to separate their family and turn it into how they think their relationship should be like. It is quite subjective.

Is this film socially engaged then? You said at the conference that the advantage of this film is that it is actually a TV film, because the topic you deal with will reach more people. Was it its purpose to introduce people to this topic and inform them that such a problem exists?

Yes, definitely. It is an interesting thing about films that open up some topics for which society may not be quite mature. It was written about the same problems on portals one year ago, but people were divided in the end. This was the case with this film, when it was shown at the Slovenian Film Festival in Portorož. In fact, people have their own ideas of these problems, but no actual experiences with them. We wanted to approach this topic in an emotional way and to approach this family in a film manner as any other family. We tried to bring emotions into this mass of indifferent people or people who are against it, even though nobody causes them problems but they cause problems for others. So, we wanted to be engaged, we wanted to encourage thinking, and to give people an insider's view of the same-sex family.

Did you have a role model when it comes to the aesthetics of the film?

No. I did not think about it. Regarding authorial aesthetics, I decided to move away from some of my aesthetics of social realism, some gray images. I decided to show Ljubljana in a brighter tone, with bigger camera movements, I decided to show some architectural things that are not so much visible in the Slovenian film, because the city is really nice and has things to see in it. Besides, the main character is very sensitive and has an eye for detail and beauty. Through this aesthetics, I tried to show his sensibility. I did not want it to be gloomy. This affected my thinking about the aesthetics of this film.

Are you working on another project?

Yes, next year I will work on a feature film. We are currently working on the script, we are preparing.

Will you be dealing with a similar topic?

It is actually about some sort of today's intolerance, diversity and minorities. This story is inspired by the latest refugee crisis and some kind of Islamophobia and fear of something different. This is the inspiration for the new project, and I would like to capture what is happening today in Europe, this populism, which is mostly manipulative and which is wrong. Unreasonably creates some tension and misinformation.


Andrija Ilić



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