Film in Serbia

So this was the culmination of my last few weeks in beloved Belgrade – devising and presenting a conference on preparing the Danube as a filming destination of choice.

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You can read about it here (thanks Moviescope) and here.

Braca Blum

Braca Blum – that’s Brothers Bloom in Serbian, if you really must know. A stylised con-com (confidence trick comedy), Bloom isn’t, to be honest, the kind of movie I’d normally rush out to see. But since it was made here in Serbia, and was premiering in Belgrade during the week – with the aimiable director Rian Johnson doing all sorts of hoop-jumping and glad-handing on behalf of our project – I thought I’d make the effort. And I really quite enjoyed it.

Orphans Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrian Brody) have been con artists since their childhood. Stephen, the podgy elder, designs the cons like an accomplished novelist. But emo younger brother Bloom yearns instead for an “unscripted life”.  Of course, the brothers must have “one last con”, the mark of which is a charmingly nutty New Jersey heiress, Penelope (Weisz). As things move from Jersey to Prague to Mexico and finally Russia (Serbia, Serbia, Romania, Montenegro, Prague, Serbia, Serbia), Bloom seems to discover real happiness in a romance with Penelope. But is it love, or is it a con?

I’ve gotten to the stage that every movie I watch, I’m checking out the locations and working out the backflips that would’ve been needed to shoot there. The film takes place in a sort of “everytime” but in fairly specific spaces. I therefore thought that Serbia did stand-in rather well. Interestingly though, Milica thought the Serbian locations distracting. I guess I’m reminded of my excoriating response to attempts to recreate England in Romania……

Business Update

I’m bracing myself for a bit of a week of it……

Firstly, I’m in the closing stages of a comprehensive Economic Impact Assessment of the Durban / KZN film sector – the fourth part of the comprehensive Sector Review that is now hurtling towards the final month of inputs. Next is the Strategic Plan, due May 5th.

Secondly, I’m also full tilt in research for a Sector Plan for the Film Industry on behalf of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation – the organisation that is picking up the mantle of industry growth in that province. First report due end of April.

And thirdly, on Saturday I head of to Santa Monica, Los Angeles for the AFCI Locations Trade Show, a fun, low-key event where film commissions and offices around the world gather to present their offerings to the Hollywood industry. I’m advising the Film in Serbia delegation, a great group of people who are launching their brand at the event and via a snazzy brunch at a famous Serbian restaurant in the city. Can’t wait, it’s going to be a blast.

PS. no this NOT a gratuitous picture of Caspar van Dien (which should probably require him to be shirtless anyway, no?) – but rather it’s his lovely wife, Princess Catherine Oxenberg of Serbia……

Projects & Programmes Update

Quick business update.

Into the detail on the Durban & KZN Film Review project; we’ve issued two more reports including the Review of the Durban Film Office and International Benchmarking, and an Analysis of the Durban Film Sector utilising a Value Chain Approach. The Durban blogsite is on-going and I’m back to KZN next week for a further round of consultation and meetings. Reminder: you can also have your say via the Questionnaires listed at the site.

I’m also back from an extremely successful three week stint in Serbia. An action-packed schedule that included fifteen meetings with key industry stakeholder groups, plus interaction with a number of key Government departments and agencies, as well as supporting a new Film in Serbia website, planning for the Locations Trade Show and drafting the SFC Business Plan and membership materials.

No wonder there’s been no time to watch a movie. (Saw five episodes of House though, on the plane home……)