Welcome to the second part of Bring Three, an interview series, where each guest brings three things connected to their interests and occupation. In this part, I welcome Oskar Šubic, a filmmaker, and director at SOOS film production – who will soon release their new short film, Obljuba (Promise).
Welcome, Oskar, what have you brought today?
Firstly, I brought my Rubik’s cube. I brought it because solving it is quite relaxing for me, and even when I’m tired, I can just forget the world around and it’s just me and algorithms. I also brought my notepad, in which I write my ideas. I always have it with me wherever I go – it is a way for backup if my memory fails. The third item is a film slate, which we use on our film set to synchronize sound and picture. It also has a symbolic meaning, as the team must be synched just as well as picture and sound in order for a successful project.
How would you describe your approach to problem-solving, and in which ways is it similar to solving a Rubik’s cube?
Solving a Rubik’s cube presents a problem, an unknown situation, similarly to real life – you have to bring it to the point where you know what you have to do, essentially bring the Rubik’s cube to the point where you know which algorithm to use in order to complete it. Similarly, in the film industry, you have to be able to reach the point where you can identify the problem and use the approach that is best in order to solve it.
Staying calm is an important characteristic of a good director. Do you make films in a more stressful, strict timeline, or try to stay relaxed at all times?
I think that’s a good question for my team. I’m not always relaxed, as I often feel the pressure of finishing an important scene on time. But I think that the atmosphere on set is very important. I always try to make the situation simple for my co-workers, but it’s not always possible. In some situations, you have a busy timeline or shots that have to be shot in fifteen minutes, for example a sunset scene, when the shot depends on natural lighting. In those situations, you have to be a bit more strict.
How important is it to follow film-making rules (like cube algorithms) throughout the making of a film, and what could go wrong if you just went with the feeling?
It is the same situation with cube algorithms and film-making rules – you have to know all the algorithms, all the film rules, but you don’t have to follow them. Film rules are made to be broken. Similarly to that, you don’t need to think about algorithms when you’ve already mastered the Rubik’s cube. You just solve it, because you imagine where all the pieces are. That’s it – if you are a good filmmaker, you know all the rules, and you don’t follow them.
Were the scripts of the last year’s Ita Brina and your current film taken from real life scenarios, or were they just inspired by them?
My personal opinion is that every story is inspired by the people around you, but I believe that not every story that inspires you is appropriate to be told literally. You have to adapt the story for the screenplay, to make it more appropriate for filming. But yes, both stories were inspired by real people, real events… Actually, every one of my films is inspired by true events, because I’m not a big fan of fiction personally. Films are made by people and I believe that they should be made for people. I think every single person must be able to find some sort of message in a film.
Do you have a specific script-writing or film-making receipt?
No, because every film is a unique journey – in a way, it is similar to cooking. If you make two different dishes with the same receipt, they will often differ from one another. Therefore every movie is its own experience, a journey, and you are learning something new from every project. There is no possible way to be prepared, and you never know what awaits around the corner.
I was surprised by the amount of organisation in the making of your latest film, Objuba (Promise). Participant consents, shot catalog… How do you keep a record of so much information?
It wouldn’t be possible without a great team. I want to mention Lara, she’s the producer and script supervisor, and also Jure, the director of photography. We are the center of the team, and we worked together through the entire pre-production, which took three months in order to organize and prepare everything. The project was quite big, as we had about eighty people on one set, which was quite a challenge, concerning the organization. But I think it was great all and all, what was your experience?
I was also on the large set and was quite surprised that you brought food, drinks and took care of the organization (even the parking) that well. People were having fun even though they had to sit for the same shot over and over again, and you made everything run smoothly, so I think you did a great job.
When we have a lot of people together, it is quite necessary to keep the atmosphere relaxed. Because at the moment you start yelling at your co-workers and actors, the project will not turn out that good.
Your film Ita Brina won the silver award at last year’s Muvit 6×60 film festival, how did your film-making process and teamwork change since then?
Well, I think the main difference is that now, we have a bigger team. Also, the making of Obljuba (Promise) was more complex and took longer to film completely. An interesting thing about Muvit is that you have only sixty hours to complete the film. Not sleeping, working 24/7, actually 24/60 (laughs), you don’t have time to doubt your ideas. It’s different because you use your instinct to solve problems. But in the making of the current film, we had a lot of time to think about our ideas and challenges. On the one hand, you have limited time, but plenty of it on the other hand. But sometimes, you react better in situations where you are under pressure.
There is a great team behind every single one of your movies. What is the vision for the future of SOOS moving pictures?
Yes, that is true. But the team you mentioned consists of filmmakers and “film watchers”. There is no film without such team behind it. Our vision is to be an active part of the Slovenian film industry and to show people that Slovenia is a film country and that we can produce great films. I hope that youth from Slovenia will recognize this and start supporting our work. We promise that we will make great films for you, just go to the cinema and watch them!
You’re applying to study film in Prague, Czech Republic, what kind of films can we expect to see from you in the future?
As I mentioned before, I like making people’s films. I like topics that we don’t talk much about. I hope I will stay on this path, and I’ll try to discover as much about the people around me as possible, and try to present those stories to others. The school I’m applying to – FAMU, in Prague, Czech Republic, is my mission for next year. In January, I have the entrance exams. My wish is to be successfully enrolled in the faculty. I think it would be a whole new world for me, but we’ll see how it turns out.
Oskar, thank you for joining me, and I wish you the best in achieving your film-making career. This wraps up the second part of Bring Three. If you liked it, be sure to check out the SOOS Film production website and find out more about their content at https://www.soos.si/.