SV Showcase: Letter by Zeljko Bozic

Letter is the second film to be featured as part of our SV Showcase this month. This is one of the three films to be awarded the StandardVision Showcase Award for Artistic Achievement at the Cascadia Dance and Film Festival.

Letter investigates issues of self esteem and self worth. These insecurities are dealt with daily but often left unspoken, since they are widely considered as a weakness. Bozic’s work reveals his own doubts in order to communicate that ‘we are in this together.’

Zeljko Bozic started as a latin-american and ballroom dancer at the age of 14, but also expanded his knowledge with jazz ballet and show dance technique. Throughout his career, he has also been exposed to modern and contemporary dance practices which have informed his prime dance orientation of street style dancing where he holds the honor of being the most awarded Slovenian dancer and choreographer. His work has won over a hundred titles in national, European and world events organized by various Dance Organizations and festivals. IDO (International Dance Organization) awarded him with the Hall of Fame award for outstanding choreography achievements. He is well known for both his commercial and theater work and recently premiered productions of “Dream Job” in Slovenian’s cultural establishment Cankarjev dom, and “Heroes from the Scrap Yard” for theatre in Novo Mesto.

You have achieved national and international success as a dancer & choreographer, can you tell us a little bit about this?

I would say that for the first part of my career I was really competitive, so I was very demanding with myself and my students. Also, I tried to create work and performance that would be different from others so that it sparked my imagination and creativity. Now I’d like to think that my methods are more subtle and my inspiration comes more from within rather than just looking to be different.

How did you transition into the filmmaking world?

I saw other people from abroad do it, so I started to film our choreographies after classes and then we gradually moved from dance studios to outdoor or other interesting locations. The final transition was to make videos with stories or concepts.

The actual “letter” heard in the film’s audio is very moving. What is the story behind this?

I started writing it as a reminder for the younger generation but gradually realized that the words coming out were based on my own insecurities and doubts…and that’s how I see it now … it’s about me,..but it’s also about us.

What were some of the challenges you came up against in creating this film?

I would say that the biggest challenge was to transform the words into movement. I didn’t want to be to “pantomimic”. I started creating the choreography, but after few rehearsals I abandoned the first draft. One year later I tried again and it felt right.

The location in the film is very unique, can you tell us more about it?

I found a location in an old abandoned school and was so excited about it and immediately made storyboards for it but our director of photography, Sašo Štih, saw it one week prior to shooting and told me it wasn’t good. So I spent the whole week stressfully looking for a new location and Sašo didn’t like anything I found. Then, ultimately, I was lucky enough to come across this old power plant in Velenje one day before shooting. When the video was done I was very very grateful to Sašo because he was so persistent in finding the perfect location.

What’s next for you?

I made a theatre piece called Dream Job and I’m so excited about it. I’m working on plans for a tour in Slovenia and Croatia.

You can catch Bozic’s film on the SVLA1 screen in Downtown LA every hour through September 19.