×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ventana Sur: Katherine Jerkovic on Personal References, Icebergs and Whispered Truths

Canada-born with roots in Uruguay, Croatia and Argentina, Katherine Jerkovic split her childhood between Belgium and Uruguay. At 18, she settled in Montreal and studied film at Concordia University. After a few shorts (“The Winter’s Keeper”) and some video-installations, she has finished her first feature, “Roads in February.”

The film is a co-production between Nicolas Comeau (“Catimini”) at Montreal-based 1976 Productions and Micaela Solé (“Norberto’s Deadline”) at Montevideo’s Cordon Films.

Since 2002 there has been a bilateral co-production agreement between Canada and Uruguay. In fact, Canada has similar agreements with eight Latin American countries. “I believe that the key has essentially been a mutual and respectful understanding among all the people involved in the feature; all Uruguayan and Canadians enthusiastically feel part of it,” Solé said, adding: “The feature explores, in a very personal way, looking at the ‘Other,’ and allows the viewer to reflect from their own perspective. This makes it possible for diverse audiences to warmly receive the film.”

Always showing a keen eye for emerging talent, Sandro Fiorin at Miami-based FiGa Films handles “Roads in February” international sales. The feature world-premiered at the Tallin Black Nights Film festival, and recently snagged the City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film at Toronto. The film is confirmed for several upcoming festivals, including its next stop in Havana’s opera prima competition. “Roads” will be released in Canada on Feb. 8th.

“Roads in February” is a first feature inspired by your own life with a documentary spirit. Tell us about how to build a narrative with these elements.

The script is based on my own experience going back to visit my grandmother throughout the years. She passed away at 95, so I was very lucky to have her in all the important stages of my life, from childhood to my own motherhood. I started writing out of necessity, to make sense of what I was doing with my life and to find a positive way to cope with feelings of uprooting and nostalgia. As I moved through this process— a therapeutic one— I introduced fictitious elements and worked out a more standard narrative structure so that the film could reach more people. I believe that when I implemented this change, I felt ready to share a story, to make a movie that could be meaningful to others as well.

It’s a movie about clashes: socio-cultural, between generations, modernity and rural environment. However, everything is subtle and serene. The viewer has to put it together.

I used to think that in this period of great human tragedies, often depicted as great melodramas, we should not forget that truth is sometimes whispered, like in a half-sleep. This expresses the essence of what I believe in. Most of what we see in movies, social media and the news are intended to make us react in a fast and powerful way. But inner change and true understanding are long and profound processes, and they are not easy ones. I am always suspicious when things are ascertained in a bold way, because it means there is no room left for the audience to judge. Therefore, the tone and pace of my movie tries to respect the audience’s perception, and to be closer to the pace at which we evolve and come to terms with things.

How should the audience approach this movie? What should be the right expectations?

It should have no expectations. Expectations kill a movie. Just enter the cinema with an open heart and no hurry, hoping for a special journey.

“Roads” makes clear the kind of cinema you’re interested in. But, could you talk about the kind of movies you would like to make in the future?

When telling a story, I try to show how the small things, events and reactions speak of larger, deeper issues; like the “tip-of-the-iceberg” metaphor. Humans are complex and contradictory, it’s impossible to explain them! But if I manage to open a small window into their soul, I feel I’ve accomplished something. The characters I write about are inspired by people who have moved me or have taught me something. So basically, I try to share something that I have received. Also, I come from a very visual type of cinema. I was trained to believe in the expressive power of sound and images, and not to rely so much on dialogue. In the future, I hope to refine this idea of a sensorial cinema that has a genuine interest on how people struggle to make sense of their lives.

You’re a perfect candidate to make Canada-Uruguay co-productions, but this combination is quite unusual. How has the financing-creative association worked for you?

Maybe these international treaties should be more flexible to adapt to the realities of different countries. Movies are not made in the same way, nor with the same budget scale in every country, so sticking to the rules can be difficult. Everyone’s personal commitment to the project is more important.

What’s up in the horizon?

I just finished writing a narrative feature. It’s called “Coyote” and is set in Montreal. I hope the financing process will be shorter than it was for “Roads in February.” “Coyote” deals with some similar issues, like family and broken dreams, but in a very different way. It’s a bittersweet tale about parenting, with a tender light at the end.

CREDIT: Juan Angel Urruzola/Cordón Films

More Film

  • Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home

    Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas'

    In today’s film news roundup, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” is in the works, the NFL has made a documentary about female team owners and D Street Pictures has signed Kenny Gage and Devon Downs to direct the dance feature “Move.” HOLIDAY PROJECT Miramax has acquired film rights to Lauren Iungerich’s holiday-themed screenplay “I [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan arrives at the

    Michael B. Jordan to Star in Warner Bros.' 'Methuselah' Movie

    Michael B. Jordan will produce and star in a “Methuselah” movie for Warner Bros., based on the Biblical story of a man who lived to be 969 years old. Jordan will produce through his Outlier Society production company along with Heyday’s David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford. Warner Bros. has been developing the project for many [...]

  • Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping

    Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping Italy's Top Film Awards

    Piera Detassis recently became the first woman to head the David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s equivalent of the Oscars. Since then she’s been busy overhauling the inner workings of the prizes that will be awarded on Wednesday. Detassis, also the editor of Italian film publication Ciak, spoke exclusively to Variety about the challenges she’s faced [...]

  • Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards

    Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards Race

    With 15 nominations Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” leads the pack of contenders for Italy’s David di Donatello Awards in a watershed year for the country’s top film nods that sees highbrow auteur titles reaping most of the David love just as local box-office grosses hit an all-time low. Garrone’s gritty revenge drama is followed closely with [...]

  • steven spielberg Apple TV Plus

    Steven Spielberg's Apple Appearance Riles Up Social Media: 'Big Old Mixed Message'

    Many Hollywood heavyweights flocked to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters to help reveal the tech giant’s revamped steaming service Apple TV+ on Monday — but one such legend was so polarizing he became a national trending topic on Twitter for simply showing his face. Steven Spielberg was the first to appear in a dramatic short film [...]

  • Michael Lynne

    Former New Line Co-Chairman Michael Lynne Dies at 77

    Michael Lynne, the former co-chairman of New Line Cinema who played a key role in shepherding the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, has died at his New York home. He was 77. Lynne’s death was confirmed Monday by longtime business partner Robert Shaye, who told Variety that Lynne’s family had informed him of Lynne’s passing [...]

  • Marisa Liston

    Sony Veteran Marisa Liston to Lead Lionsgate Movie Publicity

    Lionsgate has named Sony Pictures veteran executive Marisa Liston to lead all feature film and motion picture group publicity and communications strategy. Liston, who departed Sony in late 2018 after 17 years, has been assigned the newly created title of head of global earned media and communications. She will oversee domestic and international feature film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content