Nothing can replace life – Interview with Petar Pasić, the director of „Of Bugs and Heroes”

We invite you to read the interview with Petar Pasić, the director of intriguing animation/live action hybrid, called „Of Bugs and Heroes”. The movie which definitely is worth waiting, just watch the trailer.

I’d like to ask you about your film activities before „Of Bugs and Heroes”. What did you do before production of that movie?

Before directing Bugs and Heroes I have directed 3 short films that have been screened and awarded at numerous film festivals. My short film E-pigs was a sort of introduction into Bugs and Heroes – it also combines live action and animation. I also directed a feature film We are not angels – part 3 that had most viewers in Serbia in 2006. Still, it was a famous film franchise that hired me as a director so I feel that Bugs is the first film that is truly and completely „mine”.

Despite the fact that we’ll see some animated bugs, the movie doesn’t look like a typical family flick (at least this is my conclusion after the trailer). How the idea of combining these two film forms in such unusual way was born?

Basically this is a family film in its subject, as it talks about love and belonging. However, it is not a family film in a sense that children could and should watch it – it also contains some sex scenes and scenes of violence. What I like about watching films and subsequently about making films is combining things that don’t seem to go together but after combining them, it turns out that they do go together in some unexpected ways. What often bothers me in films is that when I start watching the film I can guess what will happen and how it will end, most films stick to usual shapes and rules. I always try not to obey those rules.

The idea of combining came to me while working on my last film, short film E-pigs. I was experimenting and I learned that animation and some other film techniques can help me show some things that I can not create in a traditional film way. That is why I tried not to limit my imagination with Bugs. There are some other unusual film elements in it besides animated bugs, such as rotoscopy for example.

Few months ago Stefano Bessoni (who we interwieved about his movie „Krokodyle”) told us that in his opinion Eastern Europe still holds a kind of magic, which can be felt in art of all kinds. Do you think it’s true that this part of the world is bond by some invisible creative force? After all, your movie seems to be quite magical.

Eastern Europe truly does contain something unusual in people. I do a lot of commercials and sensibility of people that I feel in people of Eastern Europe is different. Our sensibility is not typical and can not be placed within a category. Meanwhile Western Europe carries sensibility which is pretty much by the rules and films are created by certain rules. Cities in Western Europe pretty much look alike while Eastern Europe has some unusual styles in architecture, you can see all sorts of unusual things in everyday life, in fashion, so all of that is carried into and felt in the arts created in Eastern Europe.

I can also feel some unspecified sadness in this trailer – which parts of the human soul you’d like to touch with the movie?

That is true. This film carries a certain sadness. I didn’t plan for this when I first started making Bugs. However, people who know me well claim that my work often contains a certain sorrow.

I don’t know how to specify parts of soul. But I want my film to make an impression. I love films with special atmosphere, films that make me feel a certain way after watching them. That is more important to me than the plot itself. I would like to awake feelings within people who watch Bugs.


I always wanted to ask a Serbian director about that. What’s your opinion about „Serbian Film” and the fact that it’s called…well… „Serbian Film”. Aren’t you afraid that because of that fact Serbian cinema will be identified with exactly this title around the world?

I must admit that I did not see the film „Serbian film” for a very strange reason. For many years I was watching disturbing and weird films, it was like some addiction to me, and after that I decided to stop watching films that make me feel repulsed just for the feeling of repulsion. Considering that I read that script for „Serbian film” I knew what to expect so I did not feel the desire to watch it.

Still, I feel sad that people are expecting films from Serbia to be as shocking as possible and that is what draws audiences to Serbian films. That is why young directors in Serbia are trying today to make as bizarre films as possible in ordered to be noticed abroad. To quote my older colleague: It is a great mistake to make films from your ass instead of your heart.

Ok, so to turn the table: which Serbian movies would you recommend to our readers? Which are your favorite?

My favorite Serbian films are old Serbian films, films from the 1960’s – directors Zivojin Pavlovic, Aleksandar Petrovic, films The Rats Woke Up, It Rains In My Village for example. In the 1960’s Serbian film could compare to any European production.

How important are the animated elements of the movie? I’m asking because after the trailer I have an impression that this will be kind of addition, completion of the „real actor” movie isn’t it? Or are both segments equally important ?

Both segments are equally important to me. I use animation only to create things that I can not do with real actors. I even always prefer realistic locations. I always try to find real, existing filming locations rather then building them in the film studio. I believe that nothing can replace life.

Speaking of animation: can You tell us how were the animated parts created? Is it just stopmotion animation, CGI or a mix of both of these techniques? All these little creatures look amazing!

Models of the bugs’ underground world were built in the studio. Then we filmed all those empty „plates”. In full 3d animation we created all the bugs, modeled them and later on we animated them.

Is there any big, monumental project You wish to work on? Adaptation of some book, or maybe a remake of a certain movie? If so – which one, and how would You change it?

That is a great question. The project that I dreamed about for a long time and that has not been made well (in my opinion) is Kenneth Branagh’s version of Thor because it is too multi colored and childish while I always imagined it as a much darker and more intelligent, more spectacular story. The other thing that I would like to work on, if an American film studio gave me the opportunity :) is filming the comic book Invisibles by Grant Morrison, which would be a very big and difficult project but also a huge challenge because there are so many realistic and unrealistic elements combined that it could be visually stunning and never before seen.

Thank you for the interview!

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