Filip Heraković (Pula, 1989.) graduated in film and television directing from the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb. Films made during his studies participated in domestic and international film festivals. He works as first and second assistant director and is currently preparing to direct the short film Crocodile’s Teeth, supported by Croatian Audiovisual Center. Member of Croatian Director’s Guild.
DANIJEL is a young Uber driver, who moved to the coast in order to try to earn as much as he can during the tourist season. Being a stranger in the city he spends his days oriented on work, without any social contacts. He only speaks to IVA, a waitress in her mid-forties, who works in a café near the gas station where he likes to go. He also meets another group of drivers led by VLADO, only to find out that they are too different.
One night, he receives a ride request from someone named Sara. He initially accepts the request but cancels it after he is offered more money by a group of tourists in desperate need of a ride. The next day, he sees police vehicles parked in front of the gate of the festival and officers making inquiries and checking the surrounding area. An image of a crying girl being questioned by the police makes a real impression on him. Later that night, he reads news reports about a young Danish tourist named Sara who disappeared without a trace and was last seen in the festival area. His mind becomes preoccupied with thoughts about her. He is increasingly drawn to her life as he watches pictures and videos on her Facebook and Instagram profiles. Consequently, Danijel decides to join the search party as a volunteer. While searching, he spots her friends who also joined. He gives them a ride back to the hotel and then spies on them.
That evening, Danijel goes to Vlado’s birthday party. He meets a bunch of new people at the party, but can’t shake off the feeling that he doesn’t belong to their crowd. Upon his return to the apartment, he is approached by the police. They question him as they found Sara’s smartphone in the woods. After some testing by the police, they leave him alone.
Later that day, Danijel is waiting in front of the hotel where he dropped off Sara’s friends. He follows them to the airport where they are waiting for Sara’s parents to arrive. He sees them in flesh for the first time. He watches them as they hug and kiss, share their worries, and feels a connection to them.
Danijel rejoins the search party, but this time incognito. He learns that her body was also found.
While driving aimlessly, he bumps into Iva just as she was leaving the café. They go to a club for a drink. She manages to convince him to dance with her. He is clumsy, but she is radiating. After the club, they go to her place. They talk on the rooftop – the view and the sunrise are amazing.
Danijel decides to leave town and go back home. Before leaving, he visits Iva in the café and leaves her all the money he earned. She runs after him, but he leaves without saying goodbye. He finally arrives back home. His parents are surprised to see him, but they don’t ask too many questions. As he is unpacking, we gaze upon memorabilia on walls of his room – childhood pictures, sports trophies, books, all the memories of his past.
Night Waves is a detective story without detectives. It is a story of how by searching for someone else we end up finding ourselves.
The main character and the focal point of the story are Danijel, a young Uber driver who becomes preoccupied with the fate of a young Danish tourist who vanishes without a trace after he cancels her ride. Being a stranger in the city himself, he spends his days alone, focused only on work, and making as much money as he can, so the new obsession helps him to fill his days with something he feels is meaningful. He is drawn to finding more about her life and consequently questions his own attitude towards life.
Inspiration for this story came from my desire to tell a story set in an environment I feel deeply connected to. Having grown up in a town in which summers are overtaken by tourism, I wanted to explore some themes that are inherent to that setting. One of the more prominent ones is the life of seasonal workers, a group where our protagonist, Danijel, belongs. With a very small window to make a living, a few months during a tourist season, during which he is exclusively work-oriented, subdued to this impersonal driver, measured only by rating on his app and money he earns. The story in its core is about the identity crisis of an individual. That crisis can be brought upon wider economical factors, but can nevertheless be resolved only by the inner search for yourself.
Another side of this story is its detective part, the mystery surrounding the girl’s sudden vanishing. This film will take upon many elements inherent to genre films; plot centered around crime, voyeuristic use of subjective shots, tense atmosphere akin to those in crime, and thriller films, but in its essence will stay character drama.
Being born in Pula myself, I see the city as a perfect shooting location, especially as the city itself experienced an expansion of the electronic dance music festival scene, very similar to one described in the treatment. I want to create a powerful atmosphere in this film that stays with the viewer long after the film is finished. It’s very important to convey the rich atmosphere of a hot, sultry, summer night to really bind all ingredients of this film together.