May 8, 2022 at 7:30 pm
Looking For Horses
With Stefan Pavlović & Jessica Beshir
We are delighted to host filmmaker Stefan Pavlović here from Amsterdam for a special screening preview of his poetic feature that he calls a playful experiment in awareness and presence, Looking for Horses.
The film is depicts a growing friendship between the filmmaker and a fisherman named Zdravko. In Pavlović’s words, the film hopes to speak about “the space between two people, rather than the people themselves.” The space that Pavlović and Zdravko share is all the more unique because of their individual struggles with communication. Zdravko lost his hearing during the Bosnian civil war and Pavlović lost his mother-tongue due to a heavy stutter.
“My relationship to languages in general and Bosnian in particular was never straightforward. A move to Canada at the age of three, added English and French to my already bilingual upbringing, merging it with Dutch and Bosnian. This entangled spiderweb of languages – a cacophony of sounds – developed into a stutter, which in turn triggered a period of absolute muteness in my life. Being around Zdravko, whose hearing is impaired and who is both warm and accepting, allowed me to domesticate that negative space where my language issues exist. Between the two of us, we were able to turn the absence into something positive – a playful experiment in awareness and presence.”
– Stefan Pavlović (in conversation with Stanisław Liguziński)
A meditation on what it really means to communicate and forge a connection, Pavlović’s film employs the camera as an instrument to be used by both himself and Zdravko, blurring the distinction between filmmaker and subject.
Hailed as a film where “sovereignly gallops along the narrow path between sentiment and intellectualization, spontaneity and thoughtful concept” we are so thrilled to share this work with Stefan Pavlović in attendance for a conversation following the screening.
Looking for Horses by Stefan Pavlović
88 min., 2021
Looking for Horses is a film about a friendship between the filmmaker and a fisherman, who lost his hearing during the Bosnian civil war and retreated to a lake to live in solitude. The filmmaker, son of Bosnian parents, struggles to communicate as he lost his mother-tongue due to a heavy stutter. Despite their speech and hearing limitations, a bond develops between the young man and the veteran, as he shares his world of the lake: full of large catfish, wild horses, wide silences, and dangerous thunderstorms. Where for the fisherman the lake stands for a withdrawal from a fractured country, a land of war; for the filmmaker it precisely means the return to that broken place, the land of his parents. They look for ways to communicate, while the camera mediates their growing bond. Taking the shape of a gentle western, Looking for Horses is a poetic documentary on trauma, survival, and connection.
Stefan Pavlović, 1989. He received his BA in film directing at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and his MA at the Netherlands Film Academy in Artistic Research in and through Cinema. His short film When the dragon came had its premiere at the Netherlands Film Festival in 2018, followed by its international premiere at the Krakow Film Festival, among many others. It would go on to win the Best Film Award at the Szczecin International Film Festival. His debut feature film, Looking for Horses, premiered at Visions du Reel (2021) where it won the Best Film Award in the Burning Light competition. The film would go on to screen and win awards at many international festivals including IDFA, Sarajevo FF, FID Marseille, RIDM, Ann Arbor, among many others.
Stefan was awarded the Prins Bernhard Documentary Prize in 2021 and was selected to the Berlinale Talents in 2022.