Writer: Christina Lazaridi
Story: Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, Christina Lazaridi
Producer: Zdenka Gold
Contact: Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic, +1 914 364 6308,
ANTONETA ALAMAT KUSIJANOVIĆ
Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic is a writer-director born in Dubrovnik, and based in New York. Her most recent short, Into the Blue was awarded a Special International Jury Mention at Berlinale 2017. and the Jury award in Oberhausen Film Festival.
Antoneta holds an MFA in directing from Columbia University where she developed and directed several short films, including: Eye for an Eye and If We Must Die, an adaptation of a Kurt Vonnegut story that stars Tony Award Winners Len Cariou and Maryann Plunkett.
In collaboration with screenwriter Christina Lazaridi are currently developing Antoneta’s first feature film, a psychological family drama exploring relationships of violence between parents, lovers, and their children.
Inspired by true events — a sequel (Into the Blue –Special Jury Mention at Berlinale, Generation 14plus 2017)
Under bright sun and summer skies, Julija (16) is trapped in a home of violence and denial. A child terrified of her erratic father, desperate to escape and save her mother from abuse, Julija thinks only one man can help her survive: Jeronimo, a wealthy and powerful friend of the family, who arrives in Dubrovnik to set up a new wine business on an island. Jeronimo is a shield from Julija’s reality, sweeping up the family into a weekend of decadent fun. But is Jeronimo Julija’s unexpected savior and supporter, or a man whose secrets will threaten her own sense of morals and her life?
A coming of age of a girl who witnesses the fall of gods and monsters and risks becoming one.
My first memory of him at the age of 4 is vivid due to camcorders. But I do feel the colours of that trip to Šibenik. He was carrying me through the Cathedral. I remember the feeling. Being surrounded by stone lions and ominous statues, on his back felt safe. My father has asked me: “Whose love are you?” – I answered: “I love you, but I am my own love!” That was not the answer he expected, and from it the core problem of our relationship developed – If I gave you life, I can rule it.
MURINA is a story about Julija, a fifteen-year-old girl – about her relationship to her parents, and her need to save them in order to save herself. I am writing starting from the deepest personal turmoil and experiences. The building blocks of this story are based on my relationship with my parents. Our relationship was complex almost from the start; it suffered a lot of pain, due to differences in character, aggression, violence, jealousy.
Starting very young, I was dreamy, and exhibited a resistance to conformity, and this awoke in my father a violent need for control. Contrary to my father, my mother nurtured the sensibility, vulnerability and artistic aspirations, but I always failed to view her as strong since her support would vanish when confronted with my father’s loud bravado. When someone so important to you, as a parent, creator, nurturer, protector, fails to nurture – an insecurity is developed that seeks desperately another anchor, pillar outside of home.
There was a special person in our lives. To me he gave the sense that “the best is yet to come”. He expanded my world as a child. With this film I am interested in exploring the time when I desperately desired to escape my father’s tyranny and gave a love reserved for a parent to another man, only to realize that he isn’t perfect either. That is precisely what I am interested in with MURINA, a girl seeking out anchors to survive.
Julija facilitates two men’s rivalry – Julija’s father and Jeronimo, the friend of her family she secretly desires to become her father. Julija measures everyone’s intentions and strengths to find her savior outside this family situation, leading her to realize only she can give herself the safety she needs. The story is placed in the context of the wilderness of a Croatian island mixed with affluence, a world I watched every summer with fascination. Perhaps because it is only in a world that has transcended the existential struggle, and in which the leisure is not a privilege, but everyday life, one can develop such psychologically obscure relationships. There is no more radical context in which this story that fights for altruistic emotions such as unconditional love of parents towards children could be set.
My goal is to show the metamorphosis of the roles of the mother, father and the mentor as well as the daughter throughout the journey of three summer days. They are experiencing obstacles and temptations as their rivalry escalates and changes its nature. The purpose of this journey is for Julija to see clearly her Gods and Monsters – and eventually to free herself from them.
Into the Blue