From Brooklyn

You need to know about Darko Dragicevic. The Serbian-born, Berlin-based artist has made three of my recent favourite films – two shorts in collaboration with vanguard musician Oval and Brooklyn Band Suckers, and one short narrative film, Retina, released last month. I first met Darko when we were neighbours in New York in 2006. He’s spent time moving across Europe over the last two years before finally settling in Berlin. I wanted to post a short interview to celebrate the man who has ignited my screen in 2010. I spoke to Darko shortly after he’d finished filming a music video for the hotly-tipped Suckers, and just wrapped up premiering Retina in Europe. I asked him about his passion for film, just one weapon in his talented arsenal of artistic tools.

still taken from the ‘Taste of Life‘, video No. 7 Autechre, 2008 written and directed by Darko Dragicevic, courtesy of the artist

In a nutshell-in- two sentences tell me why you make films.
The idea of making films and videos came during my studies at the Art College in Milan. Everything I was doing in the field of visual arts I wanted to make portraits as moving images, from details to big scheme concepts, from narrative to completely abstract.

You’re based in Berlin, lived in Italy and New York for art school, recently shot in Ireland and originally come from Belgrade. Do you feel a global context is inevitable for artists these days, and how does it inform your work? Where do you come from as filmmaker? In a nutshell-in- two sentences tell me why you make films.
I have 4 homes: Belgrade, Milan, New York and Berlin. That is where I belong and why my work and my character is as it is.

How did you end up making “Ah!”? http://vimeo.com/16359647 What is your connection to making films to accompany musicians’ work?

For me the music is the most beautiful art form. When I listen to the music I like to start to direct and put the images together. It’s synesthetic. I adapt the way I act, talk, think, even the way I walk. Oval’s music has always been a big resource for my visual inspiration. When I moved to Berlin I had the privilege to work with him on a couple of different projects and it came as a completely natural decision to proceed and make a video for ‘Ah!’

still taken from the video ‘Ah!‘by Oval, 2010 written and directed by Darko Dragicevic author of the photography Timothy Smith © Amberley Productions and Thrill Jockey Records

Tell me a little about ‘Retina’- the narrative, the process of making it , and its debut.
‘Retina‘ is a short narrative film that is hand animated frame by frame. It tells a story of a blind boy who moves from the city to an island to live with his grandmother. There he re-builds his world using all of his remaining senses. I wanted to create a story that would be like the most beautiful song in a place where people can still rely on each other bringing some colours and fantasy into their everyday lives. ‘Retina‘ premiered at Stattbad Wedding in Berlin on November 25th 2010.

still taken from ‘Retina‘, 2010 written and directed by Darko Dragicevic animation by Sascha Blume and Hara Katsiki © Amberley Productions

Lastly, next projects?
My current project is Amberley Productions, an independent film and video company I have started with Mr. Austin Stack. Apart from Retina, we have just finished the production of the video ‘It Gets Your Body Movin‘‘ for Suckers that I directed. It is going to have two versions. First one has just been released and the second at the end of January 2011. The final result is going to be quite surprising. After that we are planning to shoot a video at a very particular location in my homeland.

Words: Michelle Jubin

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