Future Frames 2017 Interview: Katrina Morano (Director of Ljubljana-München 15:27)

Katrina Morano has already proved to be a popular success thanks to her 2013 film Where To which was nominated for a Student Oscar. Her graduation film from the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film, and Television in Ljubljana is the elegiac Ljubljana-München 15:27, of which you can read a review HERE.

Slovenian born Morano will be one of the ten filmmakers taking part in European Film Promotion’s Future Frames which begins in a few days as part of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Cineuropa Shorts talked to her about the films and how she found her lead actor.

Cineuropa Shorts: I’d like to know what inspired you to make Ljubljana-München 15:27. Have you had personal experience of the same change that the characters in the film face?
Katrina Morano: The film is not based on my personal experience but maybe in a way it is. It is based on a feeling, maybe more on the atmosphere of my generation or at least the way I feel it. I feel that my generation in Slovenia is a generation of misfits. We can’t fit in a former system that we’ve just missed, system in which our parents grew up in and there is also not many room for us in this capitalistic society that we can’t escape from. For me this is an environment that for many of us doesn’t offer a good future, so in a way, a lot of (not just) young people try their luck abroad, but often meet the same exploitative conditions that made them leave in the first place.

CS: Where and how did you find your Mala, the lead character in the film?
KM: I’ve met Hana [Vodeb], who played Mala in the film, because I was searching for a woman that was really pregnant to play the role, because of the shots of the belly and the naturalistic manner of the film that I had in mind. But when I met her, I would’ve cast her even if she wasn’t pregnant because she was what I’ve been searching for much more than I could have described. Although the character is the complete opposite of her, she has this tenderness, this great sensibility and emotional intelligence to take Mala from the paper, to embrace her and to make her her own.

CS: You opt for a fairly naturalistic style. Did you do a lot of preparation for shooting or did you go for a more documentary type of filming?
KM: We had a lot of preparation, or maybe even more important just hanging out, getting to know each other with the actors, especially with Hana, and with the crew members, director of photography, the set designer… but as far as the shooting goes, we went for a completely documentary style. All the exteriors are just “take the camera and go”. And the interiors try to follow that lead, as naturalistic as possible.

CS: The film is 42 minutes – which is a difficult length for a short (as it can be seen as too long for a short and too short for a feature). Did you ever consider trying to cut it down or did that never occur?
KM: In the editing room we tried not to think about any limitations, we just tried to find our film. Now I think this was maybe stupid but in a way it was the best we knew at that time, so, no: no regrets.

CS: Have you ever thought about Mala and Jure since you made the film? Do you think that they ever found a better life in Germany?
KM: I have to say I remember them often, especially since and I’ve met a lot of people since the film that share their story. I hope there is a better future.

CS: What does being picked for Future Frames mean to you? What do you hope to get out being at Karlovy Vary?
KM: I am very excited to meet fellow filmmakers, I hope we’ll have fun!

29 June 2017, by Laurence Boyce