One of our festival award winning short films, “Dva”, is the tense story about two soldiers on opposite sides of the Croatian War stuck in one place against the elements and each other. This position tests them in unimaginable ways as they struggle to survive. We had a chance to interview writer/director Mickey Nedimovic about this incredible short film.
There are elements of the ending talked about, but there are never any specifics so this interview is SPOILER-FREE.
Heartland Film Festival: In many ways, your short film could be a play since it’s primarily just two actors in one location. However that location plays such a massive part in the story, it couldn’t be recreated on a stage. What was it like filming in that spot and how long did you film there?
Mickey: We shot the film in 6 ½ days. Working in that setting was beautiful, honest and occasionally very tough. Although it was summer, we were faced with harsh weather conditions. For instance, the winds were so cold that we were forced to wear winter clothing while the sun burned down on our heads. These were conditions that I, being used to urban life, was unprepared for. At the same time, though, the setting’s beauty, the air, the wind – our environment inspired not only me, but the entire team and provided us with so much energy that we were able to confront these natural forces. That experience was very liberating.
Heartland Film Festival: Without giving anything away, both characters go through a transformation but by the end they aren’t hugging and calling each other best friends. How conscious were you of how far these characters could move forward while making it believable?
Mickey: I have to admit: In the beginning, my intention was in fact to end to film with both characters hugging and having developed a closer relation. But the more I researched and worked on the script, the more I realized how naïve my intention was. I began to recognize that the root of their hatred has a decade-old history, and that three days would ultimately not provide enough time for them to reconciliate. This made me sad, but now, looking back, telling their story differently would seem an illusion, if not a lie. To me, the current plot became the only truthful way to narrate their encounter.
Heartland Film Festival: There is so much tension in this short film due to the high stakes at hand. However the characters and the film goes through a lengthy amount of time. How were you able to maintain that suspense?
Mickey: Principally, it was the extensive preparation, research and work with the actors that made me feel well prepared. I was fully convinced of the story I wanted to tell and had the courage to take my time to develop each scene. Shooting the film chronologically also helped narrating the plot. And last, but not least, there was nature’s contribution to our work.
Heartland Film Festival: This was your second short film as a writer/director. What lessons did you learn this time being behind the camera?
Mickey: I learned to work together with a much bigger team and incorporate ideas that the actors develop whenever I sense that they strengthen the plot. I learned to open a scene without technically complicated crane shots, for example. I learned to be more focused. But above all, I learned to let go.
Heartland Film Festival: Are you working on a next project?
Mickey: I’m working on two ideas. One is a project on war journalism (working title: White World) that I’ve been pursuing for eleven years and which inspired me to develop the plot for Dva/Two, although both have nothing in common. The other idea I am developing revolves around bank robbers (working title: Of Lions and Hyenas).
Heartland Film Festival: What are some moving films that influenced you as a filmmaker?
Mickey: I feel inspired by many films, but films that greatly influenced me are Great Expectations by Alfonso Cuarón and Gattaca by Andrew Niccol. I feel personally addressed by both films, as though they were made for me. I think that hope and believing in dreams is very important to me.
You can purchase tickets for “Dva” which will play in the program” Festival Awards Shorts 2” for the following days…
– Friday October 19 at 3:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. at AMC Castleton Square 14
– Saturday October 20 at 1:30 p.m. at AMC Castleton Square 14
– Tuesday October 23 at 8 p.m. at AMC Castleton Square 14
– Wednesday October 24 at 12:30 p.m. at AMC Showplace Traders Point 12
– Thursday October 25 at 11:45 a.m. at AMC Showplace Traders Point 12
– Friday October 26 at 11:30 a.m. at AMC Showplace Traders Point 12
– Saturday October 27 at 1:45 p.m. at AMC Castleton Square 14.
Interview conducted by Austin Lugar