Swiss sales outfit Lightdox has snapped up worldwide rights to Stefan Pavlović’s experimental documentary “Looking for Horses,” winner of the Burning Lights competition at April’s Visions du Réel in Switzerland, where it world premiered.
Said Lightdox co-founder and CEO Anna Berthollet: “In his reflective and disarmingly honest feature debut, Stefan Pavlović reveals that friendship and understanding can be found in the world’s most peculiar and lonely places.”
“It’s a privilege to be able to work with such a powerful yet tender new voice; We are very proud to share this beautiful story with wider audiences,” she added.
“Looking for Horses” is an ode to an unusual friendship that developed between the filmmaker and a fisherman, Zdravko, who retreated to a lake after the Bosnian Civil War. By establishing a rapport with the solitary man who had shirked all other interviews in the past, Pavlović films the onset of an improbable and deep friendship. The film delves into the issues of communication and trauma as it chronicles the growing bond between Zdravko, who lost his hearing from a grenade blast, and Pavlović who struggles with a childhood stutter.
In his conversation with film scholar and professor Stanislaw Liguzinski, Pavlović related how he met Zdravko by chance while he was out with his grandmother by the lake. Over the course of two and a half years, he returned to the lake to visit Zdravko and film their growing friendship.
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“We didn’t forge our bond through conversations. He would show me things and sometimes tell stories, and I would mostly listen, replying only occasionally in my broken Bosnian,” said Pavlović who forgot his Bosnian parents’ language while living in Canada as a child where he was exposed to several languages.
“The intimacy grew from the attention we offered each other – him, half-deaf, listening to me, and me – almost inarticulate – speaking to him. We floated in a soup of different elements – history, geography, landscape – with no focal point nor hierarchy between those things,” he added.
A graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles where he received a BA with honors, Pavlović is now based in Amsterdam where he earned an MA at the Netherlands Film Academy. He is currently working on a new project.
The film is produced by Koštana Banović of artTrace Foundation from the Netherlands and Pavlović of KAMEN Artist Residency (BA), with the support of Eyal Sivan of Momento! Films Ltd (FR).