Veteran Serbian film-maker Goran Paskaljevic (How Harry Became a Tree, The Optimists) will begin shooting his next feature Honeymoon from mid-October as the first film co-produced between Albania and Serbia.
Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily.com at this week's Locarno film festival where he is a member of the International Jury, Paskaljevic said that the project had received an additional poignancy and topicality since Kosovo's declaration of independence: 'through the film's story set in contemporary Albania, Serbia and Italy, we will be able to show that we can really collaborate with one another. At the end, one can see how similar we are to each other, and the message is: if we know each other better, we can avoid the hatred which can drive us apart.'
The screenplay co-written with Albanian artist-writer Genc Permeti focuses on two couples from Albania and Serbia, who both want to escape their countries in search of a better life in Western Europe.
On arriving in Italy, however, they are stopped at the border because of unfortunate coincidences which bring them into connection with the murder of three UN soldiers in Kosovo. 'Kosovo comes back as a boomerang and they will pay for something which has nothing to do with them,' Paskaljevic said, noting that 'some nationalists in Serbia and Albania are not keen on us making the film.'
The Euros 1.5m co-production by Belgrade-based Nova Film with Albania's Ska-ndal Production, Italian production houses Verdeoro and Palomar, Germany's Neue Cameo Film, and Swiss post house Swiss Effects has already received support from the Albanian National Film Center, the Serbian Ministry of Culture and Italy's Apulia Film Commission.
Verdeoro's Daniele Mazzocca explained that an application will be made for funding from the Italian Ministry of Culture, while Cologne-based Neue Cameo Film, co-producer of Pablo Fendrik's Cannes Critics Week film Blood Appears, will be seeking support from the local regional fund Filmstiftung NRW.
Paskaljevic added that casting sessions have already been held in Albania and Serbia and he will be visiting Italy for casting in two weeks' time and hopes to win Giancarlo Giannini for a guest role. According to Permeti, Honeymoon will be the third feature film to go into production in Albania this year.