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Meet the 2012 Tribeca Filmmakers #17: 'Turn Off the Lights' Director Ivana Mladenovic

By Indiewire | Indiewire April 10, 2012 at 12:00PM

Ivana Mladenovic was born in Serbia, but has spent the last six years living in Romania. However, Mladenovic says she does not notice any major differences between the two countries. But she believes this perception sets her apart from others.
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Ivana Mladenovic

Ivana Mladenovic was born in Serbia, but has spent the last six years living in Romania. However, Mladenovic says she does not notice any major differences between the two countries. But she believes this perception sets her apart from others.

"All the characters I chose to film have a lot to do with how I feel about life. I always end up meeting and trying to understand characters who go beyond what is permissible in society. Maybe I chose filmmaking due to the simple fact that I’m trying to understand myself from within. After all, I’m also living as an outcast, a misfit!"

What it's about: A film about three young men released from prison. Three destinies that become one. The story of Alex, a streetwise convict who is trying to deal with his own contradictions in straight time. Guilty or not depends on the circumstances, the borders that his destiny may cross. "Turn Off the Lights" is about the grey shaded areas of morality.

Director Mladenovic says: "Why were they in prison? Where are they coming from? Where are they going? I strongly believe that as a filmmaker I need to ask questions. I need to understand the real and this understanding can only come from their emotion and my questioning of that emotion. I don’t believe in giving answers and I will not tell the audience what to think. There is no message, but I will trust them in finding their own answers."

On the biggest challenge: "I would say my biggest challenge is their truth, and my aim in overcoming personal moods and fears of presenting their reality."

What would you like Tribeca audiences to come away with? "Their personal experience and perception of what they have seen, without fear of feeling that they have been dictated to in any way. I would like each spectator to trust their own point of view without any preconceptions.

"I‘m looking forward to witnessing what the audience might feel while watching our film. After all Tribeca is the first place where 'Turn Off the Lights' is having its first public screening."

Inspirations: "'Kids' by Larry Clark. A documentary or rather at what point, at what boundary, does a film become fiction? I’m convinced that Larry Clark's vision of 'Kids' is real."

Future projects: "Next film I’m working on is entitled 'BLUE FLOWER,' and concerns a wild man, a gypsy musician marginalized by his own society. Reality or fiction, I’m convinced, is yet again, debatable depending on a point of view…"

Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2012 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.

This article is related to: Meet the 2012 Tribeca Filmmakers, Tribeca Film Festival