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CIRCLE Interviews: Meet Maja Prelog, CIRCLE 2020 Participant

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

Maja is a Slovenian film directress. Her student short film Wild East won the Vesna award at the 16th Festival of Slovenian Film. Since 2012 she has been a member of an art group RÁ., where she directed music videos for a world-renowned art music group Laibach. She wrote, directed, and produced her short experimental film 2045 which received an award for the best of FeKK SLO at the Ljubljana short film festival FeKK 2016. Cent´anni is her debut feature.

Q: Please introduce yourself and your project briefly.

A: I’m a directress based in Ljubljana.

Maja Prelog, photo from private archive

My film is a documentary road movie about an extraordinary cycling venture which is also a painfully intimate confession of two young people experiencing a peculiar transformation in the aftermath of disease.

Q: Why this film? What is your most important motivation?

A: Rarely there is an opportunity to see how the illness has an impact on a relationship. My personal experience is that of emotional damage, no matter how strong one can be, there are consequences after being in a warrior mode for a long time. Together with my partner Blaž, we share it in an authentic and honest way. This film is a healing process in which I try to find the way out of a cocoon, woven around us by our experience with leukemia.

Q: What is the biggest challenge in making this film?

A: Uh, there are so many challenges but, shifting between different roles - as character in film, as real life character and then as a directress is the biggest.

Q: What would be the most frustrating/troubling part of filmmaking (as a woman)?

A: Every day I meditate on that which keeps me in a constant loop of questioning my skills, competence, intelligence. The filmmaking industry as I see it and as it is, a predominantly male driven profession and as such I alienate it from my girly self which could result in lack of a certain vibrancy, sensitivity in my works.

Q: And the most rewarding one?

A: Working without the pressure of success! (shout out to Guerilla Girls)

Q: How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your work as a filmmaker?

A: So far not fatally. But the situation on a national level in Slovenia is alarming. Slovenian government has interrupted all the production and freezed the funds that have already been approved. Since March film colleagues are being left out in the cold.

Q: What inspires you the most in your creative journeys?

A: People, art and nature.

Q: Can you compare your experience at CIRCLE with other similar platforms that you have been part of?

A: I was at Torino Film Lab - Extended Documentary where I developed the idea in 5 days in a group of 4 projects from across the globe. It was interesting but not nearly as wholesome as CIRCLE workshop.

Q: What were the most important benefits from being part of CIRCLE program?

A: Having the opportunity to work with a number of extraordinary film mentors, getting to know amazing women filmmakers and their awesome new projects and building a circle of friendship and trust.

Q: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

A: I’d say The Virgin Suicides by Sofia Coppola because it is a bitter-sweet story I was struck by as a young girl. One of the most recent ones that evoke wonder in me is The Rider by Cloé Zhao and her sensitivity to tackle such a downbeat tale.

Q: Do you have a favorite documentary film? Why is it one of your favorites?

A: Fire At Sea by Gianfranco Rosi because it shows real life horror without opinion or solution but simply shows it how it is.

Q: What is the most important thing for you as a spectator? What do you search/expect to find in films?

A: I love films that make me feel something deep down in my core.

Q: What advice do you have for other (female) directors?

A: Keep calm and apply to CIRCLE!

Film still from Prelog's Cent'anni

Next Friday, you will have a chance to meet our Italian Alba Zari and her project White Lies!

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