Slovenian helmer Rok Bicek, at the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival with “Class Enemy,” which plays as part of the Variety Critics’ Choice program, is about to enter post-production on his first feature docu, “The Family” (pictured), and is seeking co-producers for the post phase.
An observational docu, “The Family” tells the story of a boy who is becoming a man and his struggles to have a normal family. It follows a Slovenian youth, Matej, over a span of seven years, from 14 to 21.
At age 14, Matej assumes responsibility over his mentally challenged parents and his older brother Mitja, who was born with Down Syndrome. Since he is forced to become head of the family at an early age, Matej is unable to develop his own potential.
A sensitive and introverted teen, Matej is ostracized by his peers. As a true computer talent, he tries to escape his problems through virtual reality and hacking.
After his father dies, he cuts ties with his mother and brother. But his need for a stable living environment leads him to try to form a new family.
Bicek met Matej when he was in film school and working on a docu about the integration of children with Down Syndrome into the community. He said: “Matej’s older brother Mitja was my focus at the beginning, but soon I realized that Matej had the more interesting role within their family.”
Bicek continued: “Coming of age has been the gist of my creative work all along. I tackle it in detail in my feature film debut ‘Class Enemy,’ which deals with students rebelling against the school system and becoming mature. ‘The Family’ deals with a member of that same generation. Facing responsibility for oneself and for one’s family is (possibly) one of life’s hardest ordeals.”