Igor Coric is an animator, film director, and author. His film “Passage” screened in the “Films From Afar” category of the 2019 FAF, and he returns to the 2020 festival to judge the Frame by Frame/Traditional animation category!
FAF: What inspired you to use the visual of geometric shapes in your film?
IC: Well, the initial visual inspiration for the film came from Yona Friedman's animations (one of them is here: https://vimeo.com/322464492). These merged with my long time obsession with human conflict and the question I often asked myself: does killing another human being make you a monster, or, and this was my conclusion - we are monsters in the first place. We should look for the fault in our power to abstract, to categorize, to divide. We have this beautiful and powerful mind capable of magnificent things - we can look at the tree, or the rock and see the building block, whole mountains and forests were transformed this way into fascinating cities we live in. But - our minds can use the same mechanism and abstract another human being, and yes this thought may seem strange at first, but remember the last time you went to buy groceries, picked up a pack of meat, packed in a square box - you see no suffering the animal went through, see no logistic needed to get it from the fields to your shop and then your table, it's just a tiny square with the price tag. Well, it's the same with human suffering and the war miles away bringing you cheap oil for your car, you don't see it. So I took that idea and transformed these characters into geometric shapes, the attackers are bit more complex, still the same shapes, but more advanced in construction, which from their perspective gives them the right to destroy the less advanced ones. This means that our power to create and the power to destroy are two sides of the same coin.
FAF: One of the film's most striking elements is its beautiful use of grayscale and mixed media-- can you tell us a little more about these creative decisions?
IC: I've been wanting to work on a film with my wife Hana Rajkovic (some of her drawings here), for a long time, and once I started the puzzle of putting this film together her artwork was a natural choice. The use of grayscale in her art and almost childish approach to most dreadful things were a perfect match for the story I wanted to tell.
FAF: What is the most important message you'd like audiences to take away from your film?
IC: Life is precious and fragile and war is a permanent reality, it is in your shops and at your gas stops, in your wallets, and what is the most important thing - it is in your hands. You have the power to shape a different reality- you can continue abstracting, categorizing and dividing, or you can look beyond the obvious and beyond what you have been taught, beyond race, beyond politics, beyond everyday troubles, and see that there is a light in all of us, and that it is the same light, the same flicker that picks us up from the dust and shapes us into what we all are, brothers and sisters living on a tiny rock spinning around a star in a vast and endless universe.