Critically acclaimed director Darko Lungulov got his start after walking away from a frustrating collaboration. Get to know the making of his film Here and There, and much more.
Current Residence: Splitting time between New York City & Belgrade
Occupation: Film Director & Writer
Areas of Focus: Feature films, storytelling,
How would you describe the cinema in Serbia?
Cinematography in Serbia has a great potential. There is a great wealth of talented actors, directors, and cinematographers. However, right now, it’s a chaotic scene, where making films happens coincidentally, not in a planned way, even with two public film making funds in existence: the Ministry of Culture Fund and the City of Belgrade Fund. Conclusion; abundance of talent, lack of structure and organization.
What was your life like before you began directing films?
For a long time after film school, I worked as a film editor and had no directorial aspirations. Having few frustrating collaborations with directors led me to believe that I could easily direct and do a good job at it. So I started directing, first documentaries and then feature film.
What is your favorite aspect to making films?
Definitely production – shooting is my favorite part, no doubt, The adrenaline rush, the togetherness of many people around the same idea giving their best for the common goal, I love that feeling. We are all united in believing in this idea, in this story. I just love filming. Sometimes I am so excited after the shooting day that I cannot fall asleep for hours, reliving the whole day.
In 2010, your film Here and There has been recognized by major film festivals, what has that experience been like for you? Was there anything that was a surprise during your film festival experience?
My feature film “Here and There” started off by winning the Best New York Narrative Award at the Tribeca Festival. Eventually, Here and There won total of 16 international at the festivals around the world. The most intense festival experience was at the Tribeca Festival, where I was so overwhelmed by the whole “red carpet experience”. I really didn’t expected that much media attention.
Cindy Lauper showed up for the premiere and she is such an icon, especially a New York icon, so the amount of attention was amazing. And we also already had a buzz surrounding our film as one of the “must see’s” at Tribeca”. Finally the film won an award so all that made for an amazing start for the film.
Cyndi Lauper was part of the cast of your film Here and There, what was it like to work with her?
Cyndi Lauper is a great and truly generous person. She was extremely professional and dedicated. And she is such a funny lady. During Tribeca and during our USA theatrical run she was a great support and always ready to help the film. She also made a terrific title song “Here & There” for us.
What are 5 things you’ve learned about directing in hindsight where perhaps, you didn’t consider and/or know before?
1. Director’s responsibility is to hear others, but ultimately, to listen to himself.
2. Getting an emotion from the actors is crucial. Everything else – framing, production design, costume etc – is important but secondary.
3. Never ever show that you don’t know what you are doing on the shooting set.
4. Stand your ground.
5. Always try to stay “in story” ( similar to actor who tries to “stays in character” between the takes).