A MunichNOW Interview:
MUNICH — (MunichNOW Arts & Culture) — MunichNOW interviewed Slovenian actor/director Marjan Radanovich about his first directed, acted, and produced “Traces of Life” film, which will be playing Saturday afternoon, February 18 as part of the Underground FilmFest, at the Werkstattkino in Munich.
Born and raised in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Marjan majored in physiotherapy and manual therapy. In 2001 he visited India to gain expertise in yoga. After pursuing a successful career in the metals industry, he decided to pursue further his long-lasting passion for acting as one of the students of Janet Vajevec, a well-known Slovenian disciple of the Lee Strasberg acting method.
This resulted in further involvement in other films such as “Suplje Price”, “The Last Days Man: Mangata” and “The Unshot Bullet”, “The Stage”, and “Fear”.
“Traces of Life” is a short film that recently received the Award of Merit for overall production values by the Accolade Competition. In this film, a young businessman finds himself in family circles of lies and betrayals.
His cunning wife and his own brother are after his money, including his business partner. With all these pressures, he finally meets his daughter after 15 years, as this choice is his last chance to prove himself and correct his life, to find a bright side within himself and his own life. But, even this proves different as expected.
MunichNOW: What was the inspiration for this film? Why did you want to make it?
Marjan Radanovich: “Mainly to gain experience in acting a front of the camera and exposing my talent to the world.”
MN: We understand you are shooting a feature now. Can you tell us more about that film and the experience?
MR: “Basically, it is an extension of the short film.”
MN: Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking was not just a hobby, but that it would be your primary passion?
MR: “It was when I attended Venice Film Festival in 2014. I realized that filmmaking is a business and until today, I was right. Never thought to be my primary passion.”
MN: Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?
MR: “It is easy to keep going, much harder to keep going and SUSTAIN. Conquer hard times when nobody helps, you do things alone , learn along the way and be persistent. Naysayers trying to pull you down and so on…the most important is to keep going.”
MN: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life career creating film?
MR: “It is in you, or it is not. If it is…you will do it, if it is not , you will give up quickly.”
MN: What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
MR: “For me, a great film means conflict, dramaturgy and dramatic suspense. The most important quality is good acting.”
MN: What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
MR: “Godfather, Scarface, Sicario, Pulp Fiction, Nameless Gangster, New World, The Suspect…Because of screenplay, plot, directing and acting.”
MN: It is said that there are only six stories. Maybe twelve. It’s all been done before. And we have seen it all. What do you do to keep it fresh?
MR: “It is the actor’s responsibility to make it fresh and original, even if the story has been told before.”
MN: We often learn best from the experiences where it doesn’t work. What failures (of your own) have you been able to learn from? How did they change you and your process?
MR: “I learned to keep going, regardless of the past failures because it is part of the game. It upgrades your process.”
MN: When do you know a script is ready to shoot, and what is your process of getting it there?
“The script is never ready, you have to make a stop and do it, u can adjust few things along the way.”
MN: Is the film business fair? Why or why not? How do you make the apparatus work for you?
MR: “As with any other business, hard work pays off. There are no shortcuts here. Nothing is fair, and why should it be, who said it will be? Then everybody would do it. The problem I see with some filmmakers is that they see it as an art and that people will come and pay to see art movies and the filmmaker believes they will get a return on the investment. When reality hits you, you either upgrade or stop doing it.
MN: Is it the filmmaker’s responsibility to find and develop your audience? Why do you feel that way?How will you collaborate with your audience, and how won’t you?
MR: “Nobody will come to you. You have to make the effort to find ways and venues to promote your project.”
MN: What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?
MR: “It depends on what the filmmaker wants. If the filmmaker is happy to do all the hard work and then watch it with his or her friends, that is fine, but if he or she wants to reach a broader audience, he or she has to adjust and see what people like to watch. Unless you get government grants and can shoot anything without the responsibility of returning the investment.”
MN: Is it possible to sell out? What would that mean to you and would you like it to happen or not? What do you do to encourage the professional approach you want?
MR: “Again, you can only sell what people like to watch…so sometimes you might be a sell out to your own artistic dreams. But at the same time, never find solace in settling. Attain or die, exhausted in the endeavour.”
MN: What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?
MR: “Film festivals are very, very necessary. Especially if you have made a feature film, there producers and distributers are looking for new material and you are available on the spot, if they like your project of course. Even for a complete beginner, he has a chance to be exposed, even if he is from another part of the world.”
Marjan’s film will be playing at The Underground Filmfest which was founded in Munich and quickly spread to other cities with year-round popup events in Cameroon Africa, Birmingham (Alabama), and Beeston, UK. With deep roots in promoting and encouraging diversity, the fest has had over 17 events in four countries to over 2000 people total in last two years. Werkstattkino will be showing their selection of short films – comedies, animation and dramatic fiction – from Spain, Belgium, USA, UK, Slovenia, and Germany, each one dealing with choices and the consequences of decisions.