BORDER POST: The Macedonia Experience
A select group of graduate students from Ohio University School of Film took the course "Feature Film as Thesis" offered by Croatian film director and Eminent scholar in Film at Ohio University, Rajko Grlic. During the class, the students developed their plans to produce and direct feature films as thesis projects. In addition, Rajko shared valuable information on the development of his project: Border Post (Karaula). He informed the class about the progress of the film and explained step-by-step how he developed the idea, raised funds, and got the project rolling. Rajko offered to bring the class to the film shoot, to see how it all comes together. Josh Hyde and Kevin O'Connell spent one week in Macedonia in May, while Brooke Dagnan, Mariana Quiroga and Charla Barker followed in June.
One resounding theme that all the students could agree upon was the friendly and generous nature of the crew. The students were able to speak with the heads of the various departments, who shared their personal experiences on Border Post, as well as other films that they worked on. The classmates agree that it was an invaluable experience to spend time on the set, and to learn from and interact with these talented people. For these students, this was a great educational experience.
Some words about Rajko Grlic
Rajko's students say that it was really amazing to see him at work, especially after all of the information that they learned in his class. To see Rajko interact with the actors and the crew was great. One time, during a scene which required the cast to be "jittery" and "afraid" of the Commander, Rajko got upset and screamed and yelled. The entire cast and crew were shocked and moved forward with caution. Rajko walked past his students and winked. He later explained that he needed to "charge" up the cast and it was all an act. It certainly worked, because the next take was perfect.
Rajko certainly trusted his crew. It was clear they could ensure each element of the film was taken care of, so that Rajko would only have to worry about directing. The crew had a lot of experience and had worked together often in the past. Rajko's trust in his crew was a major factor in being able to concentrate on what was most important.
Feature Film as Thesis continues...
Presently, under the guidance of Rajko Grlic and his class "Feature Film as Thesis," Charla Barker, Mariana Quiroga and Matthew Kraus, three MFA candidates at Ohio University School of Film, are in the midst of creating their first feature-length documentary about voting rights in the United States, as exemplified by the 2004 presidential election in Ohio.
During their efforts to research and understand the events of the 2004 Ohio election, these filmmakers have interviewed lawmakers, activists, election officials, and voters. Serious and substantiated allegations of electoral fraud have emerged, throwing into question the integrity of democracy in the world's most powerful nation. The implications of these findings are significant, and so it is essential that this story of disenfranchisement and political misdoing be disseminated. The filmmakers intend to confront the subject with candor and wit, so that the film may withstand partisan criticism and ultimately deliver an important message to its audience, regardless of political background. This documentary, tentatively entitled Why Ohio?, will look objectively at the U.S. electoral system, acknowledging both its strengths and weaknesses.
If you are interested in learning more about this project, please visit the Why Ohio? website at www.whyohiothefilm.com.
Rajko Grlic and OU students