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INTERVIEW: Crew of Thunder Chronicles – Southeastern Serbia’s First Fantasy Film

Thunder Chronicles will go down in history as being the first fantasy film shot in Southeatern Serbia. Contribute here to make a bit of history possible and check out our interview with the crew below:

AP2HYC: So this is the first film from Southeastern Serbia?

Vesna Leibowitz – Producer: Thunder Production is the first film production group that is working on fiction feature films from Southeastern Serbia. We are a small crew of professionals with lots of experience that has gathered to start filming in our own region since we were only working mostly abroad so far.

We have gathered together to work on the first epic fantasy film that is going to be in the Balkans. It is a great honor as well as a challenge to be the first to make this kind of film. Even though we are a small crew, we have every county and city in Southeast Serbia supporting us. We also have so many talented young people that have contacted us to join our crew.

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There were many films made before in this region but it was never from the production group that is from Nis, Serbia.

AP2HYC: Will this open the door for more films to be made there?

VL: Another project we have started is mapping the whole region (filmming, making photos, gathering all the tourist and other logistics) for our website database of all the location and all the logistics we have in this region so that other productions will be able to use them for their own projects. Also, we will not stop with this film, but we will continue everything that we have been working on so far (documentaries, short films, music videos, organizing events…) and we hope to continue making feature films after this one.

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AP2HYC: When do you plan to film?

VL: We hope we will be able to start this coming winter since we will need some snow if we will be able to finish all the preparations by then and finish making our village for the set.

We also have our Indiegogo campaign going on right now that we hope will be successful. We have decided to make a crowd-funding campaign because this is such an important film not only for us but for the whole of the Balkans, and it is for sure going down history. We want to share it with the whole world and have everyone join and be a part of this amazing project.

AP2HYC: The film is based on the first book from the Perun’s Chronicles by Milos Petkovic. What captured your heart about the book?

VL: Yes, the film is based on the book by Milos Petkovic and the script is writen by Jelena Obradovic. Both are young but very experienced, successful, and amazing writers. What captured my heart was first both their passion for writing and exploring new worlds, and then when I have read both the book and the script it got me hooked. And that was it, reading pages after pages I could not wait to read the next one and see what will happen. Then I knew for sure this was going to be an amazing film. The whole story, all of the characters, gods, goddess, fairies, giants, and above all a lot of the history and Slavic mythology, which was never really shown before on the film. 

AP2HYC: And it’s inspired by Slavic mythology?

Milos Petkovic – writer of the book: Yes, it was inspired by motifs from Slavic mythology, but has a lot of imagined events, because the book belongs to the genre of epic fantasy. However, the mythological moments give special value to the book, because Slavic mythology is the only mythology in the world that continues to live through some customs that are still implemented.

AP2HYC: Can you talk about the world of Thunder Chronicles?

Jelena Obradovic – script writer: The world of Thunder Chronicles is abundant with gods, goddesses, and mythological creatures. Here you have people who bring into connection everything in their lives (the cycles of birth, weddings, and death) with a certain god or goddess.

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AP2HYC: Is magic a huge part of the story?

JO: The very process of writing itself is a kind of magic… Therefore, the created work is magic too.

AP2HYC: The villain is Morana, the goddess of death. Can you talk about how she fits into the story?

JO: The Old Slavs connected the gods with changing of the seasons and bad/good weather that came with them. Morana is the goddess of winter, and therefore death. I suppose that it was hard to survive in the winter back then, with no sun, only the snow and wind.

Milos Petkovic: She fits perfectly. She is beautiful, sexy, sly, and powerful, but is also the mother of a son who was not conceived in the first place with another god of winter, Stribog who is married to the goddess of spring Vesna. Morana is lurking secretly behind everyones, visiting their  dreams, trying to bring down their morale, to make them go with her to the underworld and give them the kiss of death.”

AP2HYC: Will we see monsters and fantastical creatures?

Jelena Obradovic: You will see mythological creatures. However, I don’t consider them monsters. They are a product of human imagination, back when people were trying to unravel the secrets of nature. They are magical, and have human characteristics, but there is nothing monstrous in creatures several centuries old. They are most definitely very wondrous and will catch your attention for sure!

AP2HYC: Can you talk about the soundtrack?

Oliver Katic – composer of the film: Slavic tribes didn’t have the way to write the music, so nowadays, we cannot be quite sure about scales, moduses, phrases, or the shape of music. Creating new/old ethnic music is the exciting challenge for me. As I am inspired by characters from the book, I already started to write and record some themes. I can say that the music for a few scenes is going to be followed by huge orchestration with modern production of the sound.

AP2HYC: Will there be big Hollywood style VFX?

Vladimir Ilic Lenjin – director of the film: Yes there will be Hollywood style VFX for sure. We have a lot of amazing professionals in that field and have a lot experience in 3D modeling, animations and work on special effects, and they also work for Hollywood films. Although this film will use a lot of makeup FX by well-known Miroslav Lakobrija, some of the main parts will be done with VFX.

AP2HYC: How challenging is it to be working as a small crew without a big production?

Vesna Leibowitz: Four of us – Vladimir Ilic Lenjin, Milos Petkovic, Oliver Katic and myself have made our production company but we have a lot of people working together with us on this project. A lot of counties and cities in Southeastern Serbia are supporting the whole project as well as our city Nis, and we have a lot of supporters from around the world. It is a very important film since it is the first of its kind in this region, thus becoming historical. Please check out our campaign on Indiegogo and give your support as well.

We have some amazing perks specifically made for this film all from Slavic mythology.

AP2HYC: Do you plan to adapt the other two books in the trilogy into films too?

Vladimir Ilic Lenjin: Yes, in this film we are closing one story but there are some things that will stay open, and the whole script gives the opportunity for sequels. We hope we will get to make them.

Learn more about Thunder Chronicles below:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ThunderProductionNis

Twitter – https://twitter.com/thunderfilmspro

Instagram- https://instagram.com/thunderproduction/

Website –http://thunderproduction.net/

There’s also a crew call for volunteers if anyone would be interested in joining the team: http://thunderproduction.net/call-for-volunteers-2/

Are you excited for this upcoming film as well as other films to come out of this region of Serbia? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

About the author

Davidde Gelmini