First Films First


RIDERS (Slovenia)​


In 2008, Dominik Mencej he made a few short films and was accepted to the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television at the University of Ljubljana, where he graduated in Film and Television Directing. His 2014 short film The Springtime Sleep won not only Best Short Film Award at the Festival of Slovenian Film in Portorose, but also Best Director, Screenplay, Lead Actress for Anja Novak and Set Design for Petar Perunović.


The year is 1999. Ivan (21) and Anton (21) are best friends who live in a mountain village in Slovenia. Ivan\’s father died when he was young, so he grew up alone with his religious mother Mojca (55). He has never had sexual intercourse and works as a mechanic. On the other hand, Anton is a mailman, lives with his mother, a stepfather and two half-brothers, his father left his mother while she was pregnant. Anton’s girlfriend Ana (19) has gone to study in the city. After a while she stopped writing. Anton, rummaging through her packages in the mail, finds the movie Easy Rider. He asks Ivan to help him make a Harley Davidson like the one from the movie.

Ivan and Anton embark on a journey inspired by Easy Rider. On their improvised mopeds, which should look like Harley Davidsons, Anton goes to the city to find his girlfriend. They go to the city where a party is taking place. After getting in a fight, when Anton learns that his girlfriend has left him, Ivan decides to go to Medjugorje, where his mother has always wanted to go to.

On the way they meet Marija (20), an ambitious director of documentary films, who wants to film them on their journey. They also meet Peter (60), an aged and experienced biker who is on his way to fulfill his father\’s dying wish. Peter reminds Anton of his father, whom he has always just imagined. Peter dies on the way, Anton decides to take his motorcycle and become a true \”Easy Rider\”, to fulfill Peter\’s wish and sprinkle stones from the world\’s largest highways on his grave. Ivan and Marija reach Medjugorje, Ivan realizes that he’s fallen in love with Marija. The movie is no longer important to Marija as Medjugorje is no longer important to Ivan. Ivan learns that if God does exist, that God is a woman.


Freedom is something everybody understands, but no one can explain – Ilha das Flores (1989)

Each of us finds his own way to freedom. I have always been fascinated by how an individual created his or her own identity and a way of life. There are many factors that influence that, and the most important ones are events in our lives that make us what we are, and decisions in given moments, even if they are made completely subconsciously. Thus the film introduces characters who want to be free and want to get out of the molds of this world. They will first have to grow up to realize that their chains are they themselves, and there will be obstacles and decisions to make on their way to growing up.

The main characters in the film search for freedom in different ways. Ivan is naïve and deeply religious, looking for freedom in religiousness and obligations to God because of his mother and his upbringing, but on his way, after he falls in love with Marija, he will realize that the most religious thing is love.

Anton, on the other hand, has always been unpopular, in his own family as well as elsewhere. He has always wanted to be part of something but in trying to achieve that he built an image of himself he was not and thus moved away from himself. On his way he will find out that he doesn’t have to be what others want, but he can let go and be what he feels.

I often wish to make things differently in the future, better than in the past, but I never regret things from the past as they make me what I am today. It is important in life to be honest to yourself, even if it means making difficult decisions.

Screenplay: Boris Grgurević
Producers: Miha Černec (Staragara, Slovenia), Daniel Pek (Antitalent, Croatia), Igor Prinčič (Transmedia, Italy), Milan Stojanović (Sense Production, Serbia)
Funding: Slovenian Film Centre (€290,000), RE-ACT Award (€10,000), Viba Film (€144,000), Creative Europe\’s MEDIA Programme (€30,000)

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