Young mother fights to protect her babies from cold and hunger; surviving of the family in the devastated industrial lot after the last human is gone; running away from the chains and fighting to stay free; abandoned- hurt -fighter being saved by garbage damp strays; hunted and taken to prison, without being guilty of any crime; waiting for the owner who died to “come back”. These are the stories of our main characters- stray dogs/mutts who live and die on Balkan roads, ruined industrial grounds, graveyard, garbage damp, beside the country railway, mountain hills. Combining seven destinies in one life story- from birth to birth again, we witness dignifying fight for survival in an undignified world. Each dog’s story has, as an addition to direct cinema, a hand drawn animation and first-person voice over, bringing together factual storytelling and animated dramatic visuals.
Project suppoted by Film Center Serbia
production Talas film
director: Tanja Brzaković
animation: Vuk Palibrk
cinematography: Boško Đorđević, Aleksandar Kalezić, Tanja Brzaković
music: Janja Lončar
sound design: Miloš Drobnjaković
editors: Branka Pavlović, Mina Nedeljkovic, Jelena Bosanac, Srđan Mitrović, Irena Domazetović
producer: Nebojša Miljković
voice over:Jelena Bosanac
moodboard design: Nevena Nikolič
Our project tells true, intimate and authentic stories from the perspective of stray dogs. Combining documentary material with hand drawn animation and voice over, we are crossing between genres and forms of documentary, fiction and animation, trying to give our silent heroes a voice.
For me dogs represent our - humans- closest connection with nature, with our natural origin that we are losing and letting down. The film about dogs cannot be made without telling about people. Human “mutts” share their destiny: they feed themselves and their families on garbage-dump, guard devastated industrial lots, die left alone in empty provincial arias. In my career, working on films as assistant director, director and writer, I was never so intensely touched by the destiny of film subjects I get to be around as on this project. One feels unspeakable helplessness every day going to film these innocent creatures, not being able to change anything, because the system is blind and deaf and not interested to help the weaker ones. Every shooting day is like a combat: you never know if you will find your hero alive or dead, and on the credits of the film the list of dogs that have died or were killed during production, will be longer than the list of the survived ones. Still, I hope to tell their stories with a dignity, a hope and a joy, which will help (mostly young) audience all over the world to find a way and strength to change this selfish, unjust world we witness and live today.
We’re not much different from stray dogs. They wander the world, left to the mercy of random strangers’ kindness. They are dependent upon us, just like we put our existence in the hands of our employers. Their lives and abuse they are often exposed to, become a reflection of the society as a whole, and society’s care(lessness) about its weakest members. Stray dogs are the problem many countries are facing, but the one undergoing transition, like Serbia is, can’t help but make this transition visible in dealing with this issue as much as in its every other aspect. So even though are focus is primarily in raising awareness about this stranded animals, their needs and care we are obliged to provide them, this film will inevitably indirectly tell story of people who deny them this right and absurdity of bureaucracies that encourages this negligence. Telling a story from their point of view, to provoke the empathic reaction, will give this film a unique artistic quality, that we believe will affect its worldwide distribution potential and successful audience acceptance of the film.