How do you bring your story to people, especially when you are “off the beaten track” (ie. Not in an English-speaking country)? Today we have Vojislav on the blog demonstrating how guerilla filmmakers and screenwriters can use their understanding of their own countries and culture to their advantage when making films. Enjoy!
1) Demonstrate how your story is important to your country
What is the first (and probably only) thing you might think when someone mentions Bosnia and Herzegovina? Of course, the war! And we would not blame you for that, especially as a seemingly endless sequence of bad politicians, corruption have been happening SINCE then. Even natural catastrophies have not spared us: we recently had the biggest floods for one hundred years!
And this is why we want to make a documentary, which we are calling “God’s People”; it is about the difficulties that face mentally ill people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are focusing on personal and touching story of T.P, a poet who killed his father when in the grip of untreated mental illness. He was committed to the psychiatric ward at the Clinical Center in Sarajevo and discharged after three years, like many people before and after him … but shockingly, this was not because his condition improved, but because it costs BAM 300 (around $200) per day to treat a mental health patient in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
GOD’S PEOPLE aims to raise awareness to the problem of neglect of people that have mental health problems, which is a burning issue not only in Bosnia, but also in much developed countries of the much West.
2) Find and collaborate with allies
One might ask, is it difficult to make an independent movie in Bosnia? Hell yes! It’s excruciatingly difficult. Unless you are a member of the ruling political party or a child of a former war profiteer/respectable businessmen today, your chances are very slim.
So, what to do? Answer: crowdfunding! This concept is not widely accepted in our country, so we have had to turn our efforts to Western audiences. Our steps included:
- We found some great companies that helped us either by covering some expenses (e.g. hosting for our web page) or have given us discounted prices for their products that we could offer to our donators, like Mariner software that gave us ten licenses for their app Montage (screenwriting software) and ten licenses for Mariner Write (Word alternative for Mac users only), worth 1000$! (By the way, If you are interested to get this fantastic deal, please visit our campaign page. We are giviing Montage/Mariner Write in return 35$ donations; or separately if you only want Montage or Mariner Write for the donation of 25$!)
- One thing that is important to use in a country like Bosnia is online resources, as it is the only way we can reach to those that might give us support. Indiegogo, Facebook, Twitter, regular mails and newsletters are all part of our campaign to spread the word about our call for help.
3) Use the difficulties to inspire you, not depress you!
One good resource we are fully utilising in Bosnia is the local media, which is always willing to support art projects and awarness campaigns. These guys will give you space to tell your story, this is especially true for the online media. So far we have attracted a significant media attention (three tv stations, two online magazines and three newspapers, several local blogs), which is telling us that our cause is recognised by our community and that we are heading in the right direction. We just need a bit of wind in our back, so please support us and spread the word!
Best of luck, Vojislav! Please do help out by checking out and sharing the pages for GOD’S PEOPLE and do your bit in making this important project a reality.
BIO: Vojislav Erceg is a senior student of Film and TV Directing, Academy of Arts Banja Luka. He does literary work. Wrote a collection of stories Senka (Shadow) in 2010, published by Književna omladina Srbije and publishing house Biblioner. His literary works are presented in several anthologies; he won awards for some of them. Cooperates with literary magazines from the region: Putevi, Književnik, Sarajevske sveske, Beogradski književni časopis etc. Author of the film essay “Story” (in the pictures).
Stanislava Ninkovic is the PR & Social Media Manager for GOD’S PEOPLE. She has a degree in English Language and Literature, University of Banja Luka, and M.A. International Studies, University of Birmingham. Translator, interpreter, ESL teacher, editor, PR, event, social media and project manager.