At one of his screenings of Cirkus Columbia at the Toronto International Film Festival academy award winning director Danis Tanovic does a Q&A for a very enthusiastic audience. Please click on the picture to hear the entire Q&A session.
Q – You get great performances from your actors, what techniques do you use?
A – I beat them (laughter and then applause). It.s simple. I get good actors and you work with them. Actually the biggest part of working with these people is working in an accent because we shot this in a very specific accent. They are really great actors. I don’t have any specific techniques.
Q – Both of your films are politically engaged are you still politically engaged?
A – Unfortunately, even more now I started a political party that’s as dumb as you can be and now we are having elections so I escaped to Toronto (audience laughs). Its tough in Bosnia, because of war and because of everything that happened because of the commies and also because of the mafia ruled country nationalist interests that I began talking about and there are a few friends of mine that do not have any intention of stealing anything that they want to live in a better country will see how it goes. Its very optimistic, I think that by 3065 ( audience laughs) we are going to join Europe and split it apart (more audience laughs and applause).
Q – What is your relation to the adaption it’s adapted from a story. The use of the Cirkus does that come from you?
A – A friend of mine who found this book and he told me “I found this great book” and I said bugger why can’t I find a book like this, (audience laughs) and for 2 years he had all actors working he is a director of a theatre festival and 2 years later I ask if I could use the book and he said to “go ahead and do it”. So the book is a beautiful book and it’s a chronicle of a city and the book is 90 pages and takes place over 12 years and the screenplay is 120 pages and takes place over 3 weeks so its completely different. I took the black cat from it basically and the distributors did not want me to change the title I started working on it alone and then I invited Ivica to join me and we both come up with the script. Most of the dark characters were changed then from the book but if you have a chance to read the book its very beautiful.
Q – Make made you pick Miki Manojlovic for the main role?
A – Well. I worked with him before for this part I do not see anyone from the Ex-Yugoslavia as good as him. You always choose the best actors you can get. They read the screenplay, they liked it and they did it.
Comment – So hard in this industry your film as risen from the ashes its an amazing industry and have going their for what you started with very soon after the war I’ve never seen such brilliant films.
Response – Thank you, that’s very nice to call it industry (audience laughs) let’s call it enthusiasts let put it that way. We were very enthusiastic about make movies, the have to be.
Q – Where did you film this?
A – In Herzegovina in a small city called Chotnicka it’s close to Moscow.
Q – What’s next for you?
A – I wish I knew (audience laughs) I just finished this and just came back home, and I have 5 kids (audience laughs) Yeah, I am the only director who has an academy award and more kids then movies (audience laughs). I go home and smallest girl goes, “oh, your back” yeah daddy’s back and she said “when are you leaving?” No, daddy’s here to stay, and she said “bugger that means I can’t sleep with mom anymore(audience laughs). It’s time to stay home and spend sometime with the family so they do not forget they have a daddy.
Q – The tone is really optimistic and hopeful and not dark which is such a contrast from every other movie I think I’ve seen on the topic. Why?
A – You should see more of my movies (audience laughs). Yeah, it’s optimistic. After seeing No Man’s Land a guy asked do you know the difference between an optimist and a pessimist? A pessimist says “it can’t get worse” and an optimist says “Oh, yes it can” (audience laughs). So I’m an optimist.
Q – The humour in the movie is fabulous. Do people love this back home?
A – Yes, very much. More then you basically because, No because it gets lost in translation I mean most at least 30% of the film you can’t it very cultural its very from there. I think that’s the best way to cure things to laugh about things once you stop laughing about fascism then you kind of…
Q – Who helped you choose the songs for the movie?
A – I take care of music. I was suppose to be a musician basically and I was playing… and actually my mother told me, its very funny, there was this rock group there was very popular in the Ex-Yugoslavia and they were asking for a singer and I went to audition and sing and I open my heart and sing and they never call back and a year ago my mom says to me, no a year ago I meet this guy and I say you know funny you never called what do you mean I never called we called and your mom says it’s out of the question! (audience laughs and applauds) I went home to my mon and said did you do this? and she said “of course” and I said mom I could of… and she said “look what you become”. So I could have been a rock singer.