17th Berlinale Talents | 2019
Aleksandar Nikolic is a UK based director and editor.
Are there any nerves ahead of the festival?
Not really. I think the nerves are best reserved for when you have a film at a festival.
What does it mean for you to be part of the 17th edition of Berlinale Talents?
I see it as a great opportunity to network and try to interest people in my projects. Also, it means that I get a festival badge for free and don’t have to sneak into events through the fire escape.
What do you hope to get from this experience?
Get a million quid for my new documentary. Failing that, I hope to meet new people, make new friends and learn from some of the best filmmakers in the world.
Can you tell me a little bit about your work, what was it filmmaking that interested you so much?
It’s storytelling. When you boil things right down, everything in life is storytelling. We perceive the world through stories. It is our way of comprehending reality. So for me, filmmaking is a way to try and understand myself and the world around me.
What was the first film you were part of?
It was a surreal short film I shot on Super 8 with two friends. There were lots of dead fish, hungry ants and allusions to Christianity.
Looking back on your first film would you do anything differently?
I haven’t seen it in a very long time. I have no desire to see it either. That film was a product of myself at that time and I don’t think there is any point in looking back on it and thinking about how I would do it from my current perspective.
"You must really want it."
What are some of the biggest challenges a filmmaker might face?
There is such a long list of challenges, but coming up with something truly original and authentic has to be pretty close to the top of the list. We are all so used to recycling and rehashing old ideas. Sometimes we, the society as a whole, are so conditioned by films that have come before, that we reject films which reflect reality in favour of films that depict our expectation of reality.
Have you always had a passion for film?
I wanted to make computer games until I was about 17. Then I saw Apocalypse Now and decided I wanted to make films.
How important is the collaborative process in filmmaking for you?
It’s impossible to escape it, although I have tried. I usually write, direct, shoot and edit my films. But I still have to work with other people, even if it’s only the protagonist of the documentary. I guess if you were doing animation, you could do everything yourself. But I can’t animate. It is often tempting to think it would great just to be able to download images from my brain straight onto film, but that would be a mistake. Creative tensions, practical limitations and happy accidents are a huge part of the filmmaking process.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on a found footage documentary about an archetypal soldier who in the name of humanity keeps destroying humanity. I am also writing a script for a fiction film. It’s about a young physicist who goes to the ALMA observatory in Atacama desert, hoping to solve some of the life’s biggest mysteries, only to find that the answers she seeks are more to be found in the desert around the telescope than in what she can see through the telescope.
And finally, do you have any advice or tips for any thinking about getting into filmmaking?
Think twice about whether you want to do it. You must really want it. Otherwise, there are so many better ways to make a living. I say that because it is true, but also because I hate competition.