10 Directors to Watch

Andrea Staka is trying not to “be too crazy about the success” of her debut feature “Fraulein,” which nabbed the Golden Leopard at Locarno as well as prizes in Sarajevo and Valladolid. “It’s a beautiful feeling, but my next project will draw me into a new adventure.”

Before that next pic gets off the ground, “Fraulein” will be screening in Sundance (escorted by d.p. Igor Martinovic), as well as Rotterdam and Tribeca.

The Swiss-born Staka, of Bosnian and Croatian parentage, began mining her Yugoslav background in her award-winning short “Hotel Belgrad” and docu “Yugodivas,” exploring themes of immigration and loss that proved to be perfect appetizers for the richly drawn characters in her first feature. “It is a personal story, not just because I talk about a community I know, but because I talk about feelings I know like loneliness and displacement.”

Equally interested in Staka’s vision was Swiss production house Dschoint Ventschr (pronounced Joint Venture), whose founder Samir was a juror at Zurich’s School of Visual Arts when “Hotel Belgrad” was submitted as her graduation thesis. “The subject of modern displacement is crucial for new projects at Dschoint Ventschr,” notes Samir, who encouraged the young helmer by offering to produce “Yugodivas” and then, with Swiss/German coin, “Fraulein” (pic is being released in Germany by Reel Fiction at the end of January). “Already back then I found the way she leads her actors and her visual style to be striking.”

For Staka, collaboration is the key: “I love to think in images, in textures, in sounds,” she says, and by closely working with cameramen, production designers and actors, she expands and develops her ideas.

With Martinovic, she feels especially connected: “He has a certain poetic style that was very close to what I like.” But, she chuckles, “We challenge each other a lot.”

Her next pic won’t necessarily have a Yugoslav theme, though Dubrovnik is a definite location. Staka describes the project as a coming-of-age tale, a mystery, but she’s still allowing ideas to develop. “I like giving the process space,” she says, and with the success of “Fraulein,” she’s finding that a lot of people are excited by the paths she’s taking.

VITAL STATS
Age: 33
Provenance: Zurich, Switzerland
Inspired by: Andrei Tarkovsky, Robert Bresson, Ingmar Bergman, Lynne Ramsay, Lucretia Martel. “What all these directors have in common is their subjective point of view, a personal perspective on a story. When I watch their films, I sense a rhythm that is theirs only.”
Rep: Takafilm

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