Film

"I believe film is like a living organism, it evolves, even on set. I always have some text with me just to be safe, but then try to adapt to the spaces."

27th Vilnius International Film Festival Kino Pavasaris 
24 March - 3 April, 2022 
Interview

Marko Grba Singh
RAMPART 
March 31 - April 3
kinopavasaris.lt - #STANDWITHUKRAINE

Marko spends time in the abandoned apartment of his childhood in Belgrade. Traces of the past are being drawn and memories, both idyllic and traumatic, are combined. The family VHS archive shows his universe during 1998 and 1999: gatherings, pets, videogames and moments of uncertainty reveal a common life embraced by a historical event.

Hi Marko thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?

 

I’m trying to stay focused on filmmaking and organizing our festival in Belgrade (IDFF Beldocs), where I work as an Artistic director. It's not easy not to think about the pandemic and now about the aggression against Ukraine as well. It all looks like some kind of dystopia film from the 80s. 

 

Have you been able to remain positive and explore new creative endeavours?

 

I’ve been super careful with the virus until i got the second shot of the vaccine. Then I relaxed a bit, still with caution. I’m trying to stay positive but antivax people and conspiracy theorists drive me crazy.

 

Congratulations on being in the Documentary section at Vilnius Film Festival 2022, what does it mean to you to be able to part of such an amazing line up of films?

 

The program is amazing and therefore I couldn’t believe that we won an award in this competition. It really means a lot to me, its maybe the most significant award I ever got. 

 

Can you tell me a little bit Rampart and what was the message you wanted to convey with this film?

 

Rampart is a film about places from my childhood. It's also about fortification of memories and dealing with the past. It started as a film about the apartment in which i grew up and lived for 21 years but it evolved to a film about the end of childhood, mix of present and memories from the past (VHS archive) from the same places.

 

What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing your film to life?

 

The biggest challenge was not to be too private when I was dealing with the VHS archive footage. We needed to make a balance between private and universal messages. Its not easy because I was constantly rewatching family archive videos.

 

How important is it for you to be flexible with your approach to your film once you start production, do you prefer to keep to the text how it’s been written?

 

I almost never stick only to text until the end. I believe film is like a living organism, it evolves, even on set. I always have some text with me just to be safe, but then try to adapt to the spaces. When you arrive to the location, it changes you a bit, the idea refreshes itself.

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Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?

 

To be completely honest, I don’t know. 

 

What has been the most valuable lessons you have taken from making this film?

 

  • Working with the archive footage is super hard, especially if it’s a family footage. 

  • You can easily place a commercial break inside your film if it suits the context.

  • Your own memories are fake sometimes; for example, I was convinced that some of the events from the past involved people who actually were not there. 

Where did your passion for documentary filmmaking come from? 

 

It's not only for documentary films but for cinema in general. I think partly it has to do with fear of death and subconsciously wanting to document the world around me. 

 

Do you have any tips or advice for a fellow filmmaker wanting to explore documentary filmmaking?

 

I’m really bad at this, I believe that they will find a way to tell the story they want if the urge to do that is strong enough.

 

And finally, what do you want your audiences to take away from Rampart?

 

It depends on the individuals from the audience. I would be satisfied if majority of them experience mixed feeling of warmth and nostalgia.