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Serbian TV Series to Examine Impact of Zoran Djindjic Assassination

Serbian TV Series to Examine Impact
Courtesy of Goran Stanković/This and That Productions

Goran Stanković and Vladimir Tagić, the creators of hit Serbian TV drama “Morning Changes Everything,” are developing a political thriller revolving around the 2003 assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and a reporter’s investigation of the murder.

“Sabre” is one of five projects in early development taking part in the Sarajevo Film Festival’s CineLink Drama co-financing forum. The platform is aimed at the development of high-quality TV drama series from Southeastern Europe.

Stanković and Tagić began developing “Sabre” when they finished their previous series, “Morning Changes Everything,” which screened last year at CineLink’s Avant Premiere Program. The series follows the lives of four 30-year-old friends in Belgrade as they struggle to find their place in society.

“Once we wrapped ‘Morning Changes Everything,’ we felt like we told the story we set out to tell, and although there was a demand for the second season, we decided to put our focus on the next thing,” Stanković explains. “‘Sabre’ came quite naturally as a topic that profoundly concerns us and marks a big black hole in our recent history.”

The series examines Djindjic’s assassination and its political repercussions through the eyes of three characters – the reporter, a police inspector and a young criminal – and the impact it has on their lives. “As much as it deals with the big picture of political events, it dives deeply into the personal lives of the characters we follow,” Stanković says.

“The series is set in 2003, at a very specific period in our country’s past, when the democratic revolution had just happened and the conflict between the parts of the old system and the need for change was at its peak,” adds Tagić.

Serbia was at the time a “totally different country than it is now,” Tagić points out. “There were so many unanswered questions, possible solutions and hope that big change was going to come.” Setting the series at that specific point in time was therefore “crucial,” he adds.

“Sabre” deals with a turning point in Serbia’s recent history that influenced the lives of many generations, Stanković notes. “The assassination of Zoran Djindjic is probably the most important political event in modern Serbian history. We still live with the consequences of this act that shut down a possible road for this society. We will never know where that road could have led us. ‘Sabre’ is a story about the death of one man, but also a story about a system that doesn’t allow itself to change, a system that eats itself, becoming its own cancer. In this system, anyone who tries to change something becomes a threat.”

Produced by Belgrade-based This and That Productions, “Sabre” is set to be completed by the end of 2020 and on air in spring 2021.

Stanković, Tagić and producer Snežana van Houwelingen, who also oversaw “Morning Changes Everything,” are hoping to generate interest for the project among international broadcasters in Sarajevo. “CineLink has been great in supporting the development and promotion of regional films and TV shows,” Stanković notes. “We had a great experience premiering ‘Morning Changes Everything’ in a packed theater during last year’s Avant Premiere Program and we have had valuable insight with this year’s mentoring workshops for ‘Sabre.’”

The team is currently in negotiations with local broadcasters. Radio Television Serbia, which aired “Morning Changes Everything,” is one likely partner for the project.