Every day through the end of the 2006 Festival de Cannes, including weekends, indieWIRE will be publishing interviews with filmmakers participating in the L’Atelier du Festival, which according to Cannes, “was created in 2005 to reveal a new generation of filmmakers through the world, whose works, still at the project stage, might one day be honoured by being selected for the Cannes Film Festival.” Eighteen filmmakers were given the opportunity to participate in an e-mail interview, and each was sent the same questions.
Director Goran Rusinovic is at L’Atelier with his feature film project, “Buick Rivera,” a story about two Bosnian emigrants who meet as a result of an auto accident on a deserted road. Over the next 24 hours, the meeting changes both their lives as they battle about the war in their distant homeland and try to forget their personal traumas.
Please tell us about yourself and your background, including where you were born and how you became a filmmaker.
I was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1968 and since I can remember (I) was always interested in visual communication of all sorts. I started my interest for film in elementary school while drawing comic books and attending a film club. I went to the Fine Arts Academy and majored in painting while most of my free time was spent in movie theatres. After graduation I went to the European Film Academy in Denmark and shot my first short film.
Please tell us about your previous work, including information about your recent films and other creative projects.
My first feature, “Mondo Bobo” took 3 years from the beginning to the completion, and the crew consisted of only 12 people of which all but the lead actor where debutants. Yugoslavian cinematography has up till that point never had an independent film made outside the government’s perimeters. it was shot on super 16mm, took 26 days and cost $80,000. I traveled quite a bit with that film and lots of people got to see it. My second feature film “The World’s Greatest Wonder” was an even more extreme adventure that didn’t have such a great ending as it’s production company had gone under and a lost copy is somewhere in Budapest.
Please tell us about your new project. What is it about and what inspired you to pursue this new project?
I began spending a lot of time in the USA and read a novel called “Buick Rivera” on one of my flights over. The life of a man in exile requires a lot of strength and desire to adapt to a new land and it’s culture, that’s what the book is about and it meant a lot to me at the time so I decided to write an adaptation. “Buick Rivera” is about two men from the same country of ex-Yugoslavia, one a muslim and the other an orthodox, and about one night when they meet and change each other’s lives forever in the middle of snow-covered America. It’s what I’d consider a road film about a man, the loneliness he faces in the process of adjusting to his new life in a foreign country, and the question if such a process could erase the inevitable nostalgia for home.
What do you hope to accomplish for the project while you are in Cannes? What are your specific needs to continue developing your new project?
During the festival I hope to close up the financial construction of the film and start planning the shoot for this upcoming winter in Cleveland, Ohio. The script is finished, we found the lead role, and we’re missing 50% of our $1 million budget.
What are some of your favourite movies and influences, including other films and filmmakers, as well as other creative influences? Which films are you most interested in seeing at this year’s Festival?
I think it would be extremely hard to always keep the same influences and this changes for me constantly, but I suppose my biggest inspiration as a filmmaker would always have to be L. Bunuel and A. Tarkovsky. I hope to see smaller and more independent films that are harder to see outside of festivals as they are harder to distribute. I think that festivals used to exist so people see something different and special outside of mainstream films.
[Get the latest from the Festival de Cannes throughout the day in indieWIRE’s special Cannes ’06 section.]