First Films First


(Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Italy)


Producer: Miha Černec
Co-producers:┬áJo┼żko Rutar, Danijel Pek, Milan Stojanovi─ç, Igor Prin─Źi─Ź, Srdjan ┼áarenac and Teo Ri┼żnar
Production companies: Staragara (SLO), Antitalent (CRO), Novi film (BIH),  Sense Production (SER), Transmedia (ITA), Nuframe (SLO)
Cinematographer: Janez Stucin
Editor: Andrej Nagode, Matic Drakulić
Cast: Pedjaa Labović, Timon Šturbej, Anja Novak, and Nikola Kojo
Support/co-financing:┬á┬áSlovenian Film Centre, Viba Film, Creative Europe ÔÇô Media, RE-ACT, First Film First, RTV Slovenija, Film Centre Serbia, and Foundation for Cinematography Sarajevo.
Production design: Iva Rodić
Hair designer: Tatjana Lipanović
Costumography: Katarina Zaninović
Composer: Luca Ciut
Sound designer: Samo Jurca
World Premiere: Sarajevo Film Festival Main Competition 2022


ÔÇťFreedom is something everybody understands, but no one can explain.ÔÇŁ

Slovenia, spring of 1999. Two friends from a small village decide to transform their mopeds into choppers and embark on a journey. Looking for freedom and love, they travel through dreams of the past and visions of the future. Driven by mad impulses and haunted by conservative molds of traditions, they start believing and understanding things previously unimaginable. On the road through Slovenia and Croatia – two countries just recently separated from Yugoslavia – they are accompanied by a young runaway woman with a mysterious past, and an old biker who has seen the world in search of freedom but still hasnÔÇÖt found it. They challenge each other and themselves through shared experiences, which break their ties and conception of the old, thus giving way to the new. But the path is treacherous and with the sudden death of a companion, friendship is at stake and pain is unbearable without someone to blame. Personal values are tested, God\’s purpose unclear, free will questioned. Their road trip is not what they expected and to break free they must endure a quest for identity which irrevocably changes their lives.

A timeless story about the search for oneÔÇÖs true self; the use of poetic realism and unconventional structure puts the viewer in the driving seat of this thought provoking and emotional journey.



ÔÇťFreedom is something everybody understands, but no one can explain.ÔÇŁ



Freedom is something everybody understands, but no one can explain┬áÔÇô 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 doesnÔÇÖt 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.



Dominik Mencej (1987) writer and director, graduated in film and TV directing from the AGRFT. Worked as a director on many TV series. Best known in Slovenia for his heavily awarded and critically acclaimed magicly realistic short film. Riders is his first feature film finished in 2022. 

Selected filmography: short fiction:  The Springtime Sleep (2014), short documentary Garbage Day (2011)

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