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Aleksi has its NY/NJ Premiere on Saturday, June 1 at the NJ International Film Festival!


By Al Nigrin

originally published: 05/28/2019

Aleksi has its NY/NJ Premiere on Saturday, June 1 at the NJ International Film Festival!

The terrific RomCom Feature Aleksi has its NY/NJ Area Premiere on Saturday, June 1 at the New Jersey International Film Festival!

Here is the interview I did with Aleksi Director Barbara Vekarić!

Nigrin: Your romantic comedy Aleksi  tracks a sexy, rebellious and smart young woman who follows her impulses. Please tell us more about your film and what motivated you to make it? 

Vekarić: Aleksi  is a coming-of-age film, but the girl who is coming of age is pushing 30. Stuck under her parents’ roof, she is ignoring her pressing responsibilities and acting on her impulses with various men. I think a lot of young women relate to her. She is your savage friend, your rebellious daughter and that girl who broke your heart. 

I am intrigued by the stories that center on strong individuals with the potential to redefine the society standards. Most of the heroines are really alike: beautiful, sweet, appropriate. So I wanted to create a character who is a mess, a savage and totally deaf to what society expects from her. I observed my friends and the girls my age in my surroundings, and noticed this inner conflict a lot of young women have in their mid and late 20s when they wonder “and what the fuck now?”.



 
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Nigrin:  I read elsewhere that your film reflects your own personal dilemma between staying in Croatia or moving abroad. Is this accurate? Are there other connections between you and Aleksi?  Do you consider the film to be autobiographical? 

Vekarić: Yes, the story of Aleksi sort-of reflects my dilemma between staying in Croatia or moving abroad that taunted me for years. Croatia is my home. My family, and friends all live there, yet the place is not the most fertile ground for film. It’a a win-lose situation.  Although Aleksi is not autobiographical, it reflects the experience of my generation that takes a bit too long to grow up. In this post-recession period, people in their late 20s are stuck in an uncomfortable middle-ground, ejected from university into a big fat nothing.  The biggest connection though is the filming location - Pelješac. The roots of my family are from this area, and I used to spend my summers here in Orebić with my father and my grandparents.

Nigrin:  Where in Croatia did you shoot your film? The locations are so beautiful. 

Vekarić: We filmed in Orebić, Pelješac, which is a typically beautiful seaside village. Croatia has arguably one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, and I wanted to use that beauty to help me achieve the uplifting and “feel good” vibe. The area is commonly known as the appendix of Croatia, and it a bit difficult to reach. No other feature film has ever been shot there.

Nigrin:  Tihana Lazović, the lead actor who plays Aleksi, is really amazing?  Tell us more about her and how you decided to cast her. 

Vekarić: Tihana and I went to the same film school, and I noticed her in my classmates’ short films. Even in her early work she had a remarkable presence. For Aleksi, I wanted an actress who  is charming and interesting to observe. She needs to hold your attention 90 minutes. The character of Aleksi is borderline annoying, and the actress had to remedy that so people could relate to her. Tihana is real, raw and playful in her movement and the way she talks. It is the best gift for a director to have an actor with so much authentic emotion on her face, that is part of her and something she can successfully channel into the character.

Nigrin:  Are there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you would like to relay to our readers?



 
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Vekarić: Most of the stories you would call anecdotal were stressful for me, so my mind repressed them.  Come and see the movie! It had it’s US premiere at South by Southwest this year, and people reacted so well! I am happy it’s playing in this area too. Girls tend to like it and most of you will get entertained by unconventionally slutty leading character and her “lazy - crazy - sexy” approach to life. 

Aleksi Trailer:

Aleksi has its NY/NJ Premiere on Saturday, June 1 at the NJ International Film Festival!

The hilarious short
The Traffic Separating Device will be screened prior to Aleksi. Here is more info on this screening:

The Traffic Separating Device – Johan Palmgren (Stockholm, Sweden)

In this hilarious short documentary, a “traffic separating device” is installed in the middle of Stockholm. It is supposed to keep cars away and to let buses pass. It turns into a disaster as drivers continue to go where they’re not supposed to go, leading to hundreds of cars getting destroyed every week.  At once tragic and funny, this documentary speaks to a whole mess of human failures. In Swedish and German, subtitled. 2018; 15 min.

Aleksi – Barbara Vekarić (Dubrovnik, Croatia)   This terrific romantic comedy, from Croatia, tracks a young woman’s “quarter-life” crisis.  Having failed to find a job after graduating from college, Aleksi, now 28, returns home to live with her parents.  Ignoring her pressing responsibilities, and instead following her impulses, she entangles herself with three men: Christian, an American photographer; Goran, a local musician, whom she can't stand because of his traditional values, but with whom she has an intense physical chemistry; and Toni, an older, richer playboy who tries to lure her with the extravagance of yachts, parties and expensive drugs.  The question is:  will Aleksi choose one man, from among the three, or will she decide to ditch them all?  In Croatian, subtitled. 2019; 90 min. Q+A Session with Director Barbara Vekarić!

Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 7:00 PM 
in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey

$12=General; $10=Students+Seniors; $9=Rutgers Film Co-op Friends

Information: (848) 932-8482;
www.njfilmfest.com

 



Albert Gabriel Nigrin is an award-winning experimental media artist whose work has been screened on all five continents. He is also a Cinema Studies Lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Executive Director/Curator of the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, Inc.

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