LJUBLJANA: Damjan Kozole’s Slovenian/Macedonian/Serbian/Croatian coproduction Half-Sister / Polsestra will have its premiere in the main competition of the 59th Karlovy Vary IFF, 28 June – 6 July 2019. Kozole won the Karlovy Vary Best Director award in 2016 for his film Nightlife (Vertigo).
The 105-minute film was shot over 32 days in October, November and December 2018 in Ljubljana and the Slovenian fishing village of Izola.
The main characters are two estranged half-sisters from Izola, who are forced to live together in a small apartment in Ljubljana. The main role is played by Urša Menart, who won two Vesna awards (best film, best screenplay) at the 21st Festival of Slovenian Film for the first feature film she directed, My Last Year as a Loser (2018, Vertigo).
“It is a critical but simultaneously an understanding outlook on life, characterised by family patterns, uncertain feelings, chauvinism, feelings of existential loss, lack of adherence and, last but not least, feelings of guilt because of actions that we have not committed ourselves. I see Half-Sister as a film of emotional tensions on the one hand, while on the other hand it is full of dramatic spontaneity and moments of human folly, humour and fortune. We live in dangerous times, in which lunatics and psychopaths prosper – and therefore all that we have left is compassion. And humour,” Kozole said in a statement.
The screenplay was written by Damjan Kozole, Urša Menart and Ognjen Sviličić, the DoP is Miladin Čolaković, Kozole's associate. The film, starring Urša Menart and Liza Marija Grašič, also features Peter Musevski, Jurij Drevenšek and the Macedonian actress/producer Labina Mitevska, among others.
The film was produced by Kozole’s long-time collaborator Danijel Hočevar through Vertigo in coproduction with RTV Slovenia, Macedonian Sisters and Brother Mitevski, Serbian Baš Čelik and Croatian Propeler film. The project was supported by the Slovenian Film Center (with 20,000 EUR for development and 450,000 EUR for production), Film Center Serbia with 42,200 EUR, the Macedonian Film Agency with 97,560 EUR, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre with 10,000 EUR and Creative Europa MEDIA with 50,000 EUR, while Studio Viba Film provides additional technical support in the amount of 210,000 EUR. The total budget is 1.1 m EUR, producer Danijel Hočevar told FNE.
Half-Sister is expected to premiere in 2019.
Damjan Kozole, one of the most famous Slovenian directors, was born in Brežice in 1964. His fifth feature film Spare Parts (2003, Emotion/Vertigo) premiered in competition at the Berlin International Film Festival and won many international awards, including the Jury award at the Sarajevo Film Festival and the Vesna award for Best Film at the Festival of Slovenian Film. The film Slovenian Girl (2009, Vertigo) has been screened at more than 100 film festivals and is the first Slovenian film shown on Netflix. Kozole is a member of the European Film Academy and co-founder of the Emotionfilm/Vertigo production company.
Coproducers: Sisters and Brothers Mitevski (Macedonia) Baš Čelik (Serbia) Propeler Film (Croatia)
Credits: Director: Damjan Kozole Assistant director: Irena Gatej Screenwriter: Damjan Kozole, Urša Menart, Ognjen Sviličić DoP: Miladin Čolaković Editor: Jurij Moškon Production designer: Neža Zinajić Costume designer: Katja Hrobat Make-up artist: Mojca Gorogranc Petrushevska Sound: Igor Popovski Cast: Urša Menart, Liza Marija Grašič, Peter Musevski, Jurij Drevenšek, Damjana Černe, Anja Novak, Labina Mitevska