Lazy. Crazy. Sexy. Aleksi fails to find a job after graduating from college and returns to live under her parents’ roof, helping out on the family vineyard. While ignoring her pressing responsibilities and her parents expectations Aleksi enjoys dating life and parties instead. However, her sun soaked summer comes to an abrupt end as she must decide how to tackle the future.
Interview with Writer/Director Barbara Vekaric
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thank you! My goal was to represent the kinds of women that I recognize in my day-to-day life – women who are proactive, have their own point of view and fuck unapologetically. I also wanted to speak about Croatia's current generational problem: a lack of opportunities for young adults who are therefore forced either to settle for the few accessible options or emigrate.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
It’s fun! Aleksi is a character we don’t often see in cinema – an artistic, rebellious and thoughtful young woman who is also unapologetically sexual. The movie showcases her relationships with various men as their interactions totter between sexual liberation and sexual exploitation. She is a savage, but a savage with style. She is one of “those girls”. She is your crazy friend, your rebellious daughter and the girl who broke your heart. There is a piece of her in all of us – girls who want to have intense experiences and ask a little more of life.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
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. The personal experience of taking a long time to become a self-sufficient woman is reflected in the story of Aleksi.
The context of this story is really important – this story could never take place in the 50s, just now, post-recession, among the generation stuck in an uncomfortable middle-ground, ejected from university into a big fat nothing. The expectations of this generation of women are insane – nothing more or less than “to have it all,” despite the state of the economy and a world that lacks stability or structure.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
Over time, the script and story became more raunchy, dirty, the character became less perfect. I focused more on Aleksi – the actress is in almost every shot of the movie.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Aleksi has been playing in Croatian cinemas – it opened the 2018 Pula Film Festival (the biggest national festival in Croatia) and it has been shown in other cool festivals in the region. The film is about to have its international premiere at SXSW in March.
Different audiences react differently. Young women love the movie: some of them recognize themselves in Aleksi, some of them wish they could embrace her “lazy - crazy - sexy” approach to life, some of them just love to see a movie starring a vivacious girl who, guess what, occasionally masturbates. Young men like Aleksi – they laugh with her and laugh at her.
Older audiences were less enthusiastic. Some said it should be called “diaries of a slut,” some claimed the generation that thinks it will never be old enough to take responsibility doesn't deserve a movie. She irritated the shit out of them.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
It amuses me that people have strong reactions to content of my movie. During the promotional tour, it was a very pleasant group experience to watch Aleksi together with the audiences. It was very educational as well, I can see where the joke lands well, and this has taught me a lot about pacing the emotions.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Films about women and made by women are underfunded and under-promoted, and we are looking to do every little thing we can do without huge budgets to do to put our Aleksi on people’s radar.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We are looking for USA distributors, film festivals, basically anybody who wants to disseminate the movie. Aleksi is represented by the sales company Film Republic.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I don’t dare to dream that a small Croatian film will have a loud echo, I just hope that it will reach some people who enjoy foreign films with savage girls, and provide them an escape for an hour and a half.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Why don’t we see more women like Aleksi on the big screen?
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am currently writing a TV series “Hipsters are from Brooklyn,” about an international group of friends who fell in love with the idea of New York City. They expected it to be just like in “Friends” – living in a big apartment, hanging out in coffee shops, and dating the coolest people – but the reality is different, and we follow them as they deal with everyday challenges of adapting to the American culture and coloring it with their different backgrounds.
Tihana is the hottest thing in Europe right now, starring in a gazillion projects. One of them is the new HBO mini-series “Success”, that follows the intertwining stories of four strangers who are bound together by a violent event.
Our crew was filled with badass women who are talented and resourceful; unfortunately a lot of them feel uncomfortable networking and angling to get top jobs in a male dominated industry. Check out my production designer Ines Atman – that tall genius is capable of doing everything – from building stages, baking the fanciest ceramics dishes, upholstering old furniture to charm the most stuck up people to give us crazy locations for free (and be happy they did it!). Also check out the scrappy costume designer Suzana T, who was a seamstress originally, but because of our friendship she started helping me out on movies, and soon she just stayed in my team. It is crazy impressive what that magician can create out of thin air - she basically designed and sewed herself the resort collection Aleksi is wearing for about $500 (shoes included!). Magic.
Interview: February 2019
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, POC, First Nations, scifi, supernatural, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Lazy. Crazy. Sexy.
Director: Barbara Vekaric
Producer: Marina Andree Skop, Darija Kulenovic
Writer: Barbara Vekaric
About the writer, director and producer:
BARBARA VEKARIĆ is currently based in New York. Her debut film “Aleksi” is premiering at South By Southwest in 2019. She directed a travelogue documentary TV series called “Couchsurfer Girl” as well as several short films, the most awarded of which are “First Lady of Dubrava” and “Mouth of Truth”.
MARINA ANDREE SKOP and DARIJA KULENOVIC founded Studio DIM, a creative production company specialized in development, production and co-production of high quality original content for cinema, TV and interactive media. Studio DIM is best know for its films "Sevdah", "Nocni brodovi" and "Aleksi".
Key cast: Tihana Lazovic (Aleksi), Goran Markovic (Goran), Sebastian Cavazza (Toni), Jason Mann (Christian), Aljosa Vuckovic (Vati), Neda Arneric (Natasa), Natasa Janjic (Lea)
Looking for: distributors
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month? South by Southwest - March, 8th- March 16th