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SXSW Women Directors: Meet Iva Radivojevic

Interviews
by Melissa Silverstein
March 11, 2014 12:30 PM
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Still from "Evaporating Borders"

Iva Radivojevic is a NYC-based filmmaker who explores themes of identity, migration and immigrants. Her films have screened at various venues, including Rotterdam, HotDocs, PBS, Documentary Channel and the New York Times Op-Docs. Radivojevic was named one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film of 2013 by Filmmaker Magazine.

Her latest film, Evaporating Borders, is a visual essay in five parts guided by her curious eye and personal reflections. Through the people she encounters along the way, the film dissects the experience of asylum seekers in Cyprus: A PLO activist and exile from Iraq is denied asylum within 15 minutes; neo-Nazi fundamentalists roam the streets in an attack on Muslim migrants; activists and academics organize an antifascist rally and clash with the neo-Nazis; 195 migrants drown in the Mediterranean. Poetically photographed and rendered, the film passionately weaves the themes of tolerance, identity and belonging. (Press materials)

Evaporating Borders will debut at SXSW on March 11. 

Please give us your description of the film.


Evaporating Borders is an essay film -- more like a stream of consciousness -- and it deals with tolerance, displacement and belonging.

It's told through the lives of political refugees at the island of Cyprus. It's visual and poetic and yet very political.


What drew you to this story?

I myself had moved three different countries by the age of 18, one of which was Cyprus. So I was an immigrant to the island and the story is told through a personal point of view, though it's not about me, but the people we meet along the way.


What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

Representation. In other words, how to make a film without blaming or victimizing and instead convey a certain point to the viewer in which they can have a transformative experience, a self-reflective moment.


What advice do you have for other female directors?

Finding mentors was key for me. Also finding each other, inspiring, guiding, helping each other.


What's the biggest misconception about you and your work?

I don't know if there are any. I do dislike labeling the work or limiting it to one specific genre or style. It's organic, it changes and morphs.

Do you have any thoughts on what are the biggest challenges and/or opportunities for the future with the changing distribution mechanisms for films?

In the words of Ryan Koo, "Distribution is easy. Marketing is hard."


Name your favorite women directed film and why.

"35 Shots of Rum" by Claire Denis. Everything about this film is gorgeous. The subtlety, the color palette, the quiet emotion. I randomly met Mati Diop (the main actress) in Rotterdam IFF last month, a lovely little surprise.

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