Bill Morrison in discussion with Michal Kosakowski


BM: Let’s talk about your relationship with Goran (Mimica). He is a mutual friend of ours and he got a writing credit on The Heart of It, Deep Water Horizon, and Just Like the Movies.

MK: I met him in 1997. He is from Serbia and I met him in Italy in this creative research center called Fabrica, which was founded and supported by The Benetton Foundation and was directed by Olivier Tuscani, this Benetton photographer. Goran was there working in the library, but he was also in the writing department later on, and so we became good friends. Actually, we share almost the same ideas. Or not the ideas, but the atmosphere of work, the topics. Since then, we have worked together on several projects, and now we’ve finished the script for a new feature film that is currently in development. It is very interesting to work with him.

BM: So in the case of The Heart of It, what did the script looked like?

MK: It was actually the first written concept that we wanted to improvise. It had some parts with dialogue. We wanted to do it with voice over, but it just went into a completely different direction. So we had shooting material and we had the concept, we had these five, six, seven parts, and then we were collecting material not really knowing where it was going to lead us. But then by the end, [the script] was very helpful for finishing the film.

BM:  I sometimes think that with documentary film especially, it’s important to be out there shooting because your project can be swayed by whatever you can catch.

MK: But for this project, actually, I was expecting more. With that project I learned that if you do documentaries, you have to spend a lot of time with these people. For instance, we spent four weeks in this village in Novi Sad, but that was nothing. Four weeks was just the initial contact. We should have stayed for six months. It is very important for documentaries to do that.

BM: Do you have a project where you plan to embed yourself more fully like that?

MK: Yes. There is currently a new project. It’s a documentary which I’m going to shoot in Poland, in Warsaw and around Warsaw, and its working title is Dark Tourism. It’s a movie about the Polish re-enactment groups that are re-enacting historic events. I’ve chosen the Waffen-S.S group, the Polish Waffen-SS group, that is actually re-enacting different fights, from 1944 to the end of the Second World War.

This group is representing a specific S.S. group that was there at that time. I’m doing this because it is very interesting to look at these people. There are 25 of them, and they all are more or less clever people. Some are policemen, some are historians, doctors, and teachers. People who are not crazy in a way, but people who are trying to understand the role of the victim from the Polish side.

I think it is very fascinating to understand why these people are collecting all these uniforms and putting on the uniforms of the S.S. They learn German. They learn this language to be accurate to the reality, and they try to reconstruct a specific event that happened, mostly battles, publicly. It’s really weird, because saying that these are Polish who are becoming S.S. is so controversial that the rest of Europe besides Poland are just… you get problems, you know!

It’s also fascinating because there are so many reenactment groups in Poland. I think it’s the country in Europe where you have now an explosion of reenactment groups. Not only German, but also Russian groups, communistic groups from the 50’s, 60’s. It’s a huge scene there. The story is about a recruit, a 17 year-old guy who enters this group, who becomes a member. He is in probation time the whole year and after one year he will make the test to become a full member of the Waffen-S.S. This project gives me the opportunity to spend more time with these people and to learn more. They’re open to me, and I can get good footage.


Watch The Heart of It, (2010), Trailer