Mill Valley Film Festival premieres one of the most interesting films of its time. ‘Along the Roadside’ is not your average indie film. It tells a story while also integrating an immense uniqueness. The two very different characters Varnie (Iman Crossan) and Nena (Angelina Häntsch) find themselves on a road trip to a music festival. They discover a lot about each other’s different cultures as well as themselves.
The writer and director is Zoran Lisinac. He has a fascinating life story. “Zoran Lisinac (1983, Serbia) is the creative force behind 'Along the Roadside'. Zoran’s creative spirit was in full swing even when he was just a child. At the age of 9, Zoran’s comic books were published weekly in the local magazine called “Pobeda” in his hometown of Krusevac, Serbia. Later on in his youth, Zoran’s creative spirit got the hang of music and all the songs Zoran wrote and performed were in English language which was staging point for his next big endeavor: American Cinema. It was Oliver Stone’s “The Doors”, not the film itself but the fact that Jim Morrison was a film student, that got Zoran infatuated with film directing and he wanted to learn all there is about filmmaking. Zoran became a student of filmmaking full time in 2002 when he was one of 7 students to be accepted at the prestigious film school in Belgrade called Danube Film Academy, named after the river Danube which is the second longest river in Europe. While in film school Zoran uncovered his favorite film director, Milos Forman, great Czech director of Amadeus (Zoran’s favorite film), Hair, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Zoran began his filmmaking career in Belgrade, Serbia. While studying film directing at Danube Film Academy he wrote, produced, and directed two student mini-short films for which he claimed critical success at the Belgrade’s inner circle of filmmakers and directors. First film was about a struggling boxer in Belgrade who dreams about his day in the big arena, never wavering in his pursuit of his dream even if everything around his seems to be dying. Ironic coincidence about this film was that first day of filming was a tragic day for the Serbian people; it was the day when first democratically elected Serbian Prime Minister, Zoran Djindjic, was assassinated in Belgrade in broad day. Second film was a silent duel of two cowboys and mercenaries with revenge on their minds. Only one will survive. Visually depicting the political struggle in Serbia, and its politicians’ blunt hypocrisies, Zoran was celebrated for his honest and original work.
On June 28th, 2007, the biggest day in Serbian history (commemorating the Battle of Kosovo of June 28th, 1389), Zoran formed Metakwon Filmworks with his older brother Vladimir Lisinac and immediately started writing multi Award-Winning Along the Roadside, an original screenplay for his directorial debut in 2013. Zoran’s fascination with cultural diversity, people’s idiosyncrasies and interconnection among us all is reflected in all of his writing.” (Metakwon website, 2013)
His brother Vladimir Lisinac is the producer and executive producer of the film ‘Along the Roadside’. His biography is also amazing. "Vladimir Lisinac (1981, Serbia) - Vladimir’s path to producing films started in Krusevac, Serbia where he learned English language by watching American movies. At the age of 19 he moved to US to pursue his further education while playing the game of basketball on NCAA Division I level. He found home at California Polytechnic State University where he majored in International Business Management, with a minor in Film earning his Bachelor of Science. As a student in San Luis Obispo he worked on several screenplays which are all now in Metakwon Filmworks workshop. In 2007, Vladimir formed Metakwon Filmworks alongside his brother and made his transition from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay Area to create balanced representation for Metakwon Filmworks. Vladimir brings his business savvy, creative spirit and financial expertise to Metakwon, where in 2012 he completed producing and executive producing his first film, multi Award Winning Best Picture Along the Roadside." (Metakwon website, 2013)
We had the pleasure of interviewing Vladimir Lisinac about the film at the Mill Valley Film Festival. He was very cordial and easy to talk to. When asked about how he liked the Mill Valley Film Festival he states, “This is prestigious festival, it was really special.” He continued on by talking about the film saying, “This film had a small budget but a lot of heart. There is cross cultural casting, it is a trail blazing type of film,” To add to the uniqueness of the film Lisinac said, “There are eight You Tube stars. We wanted to cast people who has never really been in a movie. Different audience, different demographic it takes our film online. We stumbled upon something unique definitely in the way of marketing. It is unique and authentic. Viewers 14 - 40 would enjoy the film.“ Vladimir Lisinac is right about that many viewers enjoyed the film including those who gave them the nominations for many awards as well as winning others like the Award of Merit. They will continue to be in many other film festivals, this is just the beginning for ‘Along the Roadside’.
Visit their website to see the trailer for ‘Along the Roadside’
Download the soundtrack on Itunes.
Photography: Jonathan Shensa
Styling: Olivia Cannizzaro