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Interview with director Hani Domazet

Hani Domazet graduated German/Comparative Literature and Film Directing at The Academy of Dramatic Arts and lived in Germany for years. Worked on many short films& commercials. She currently works as a freelance director and assistant director on commercials and is writing her first feature movie. Her new short film Chaos is in preproduction.

She is based in Berlin and in Zagreb.

She won the European short pitch award for her film Tina&Sendy and also the Special Mention at the Premiere at Tirana International Film festival and was part of Sarajevo Talent Campus 2018.

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

There was a time when I was about 5 when I started to be aware of the psychological system in my family, that people who I loved had hidden agendas or just weren’t doing what they were saying about themselves. It later evolved into a general interest in philosophy and psychology and interest  in human nature in general. And then around my early 20´s I realized you can study something that has to do much with this kind of approach.

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

Its not essential, but it surely is something that helped me. It´s´also  not about the institution itself but about an environment that gives you deadlines and tools to learn a craft. Most things you need to learn by yourself, but I have never regretted going to film school.

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

Great one! I would say get started. But both are tough.It´s almost like the egg-chicken problem To get started you need to have the drive to continue or that constant starting doesn’t make any sense. When you continue you need to stop at poone point and get a clear mind again, but then start again. In filmmaking my greatest enemy was of course myself, usual business.The particular thing I needed to conquer was writing, regularly and disciplined.Writing is very particular because it’s the only part where you are completely by yourself. And when you are not writing you need to think like a screenwriter. Every day. Constantly.

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

That even if you are well prepared, it won´t turn out the way you planned, but if you are creative enough you will find another, maybe even better solution.

  • What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?

I had a great crew and didn’t have to make any compromises. My crew was so on board that they actually solidarized with me and gave almost their whole salary away for the film – by that I mean my producers Nika Valkovic&Mirta Puhlovski, my DOP Dinka Radonic and my editor Denis Golenja. It was a real blessing.

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

The hardest choice was to start working with people I never worked before, for example with my sound designer Paul Rowlands, I never met in person. We did the whole sound design per phone/mail/skype. You need to trust people.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

Some of them I discovered at the film Academy, most of them by assisting on other Colleagues Projects, some of them simply by traveling to other countries/festival etc . We keep each other updated about our work, thoughts and plans. Mostly via social media.

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

I´m not really sure what an audience wants regarding film, I know what an audience wants when you make a commercial, but I guess (or hope) its in human nature that you always want something fresh, smart, poetic or cinestetic in a way. In film I wouldn’t worry so much about the “What others want” part but more about the “What I need to express” part.

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

Film festivals are the perfect way to let your film get around and travel, meet people and get a sense of the whole European film market. In the end it is also a Market. It´s necessary to get a sense about how the whole works and that the film has a life of a year and a half after you are done editing. Also a great thing about festivals are the networking programs, pitching forums and script stations, like Sarajevo Talent Campus, Nisi Masa European Short Pitch. etc.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

Of course one should be original and fresh. But some things like craft and dramaturgy and actor-director relationship are always universal or classic if you want, ever since Aristotle, so its best to combine both.