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A World Without Borders: Director Srdan Golubovic Reflects on the Power of Art

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Srdan Golubovic, Director, Circles

During the last few weeks I have been thinking about what impressed, touched, and moved me the most during our four days Film Forward in San Diego and Tijuana.

Definitely, I was most impressed and emotionally touched by the highly educated, smart and curious young people in Lazaro Cardenas High School in Tijuana.  We talked about who they consider heroes, how they experience humanity and courage, and what the values are that they admire.  We agreed that we don’t need superheroes, but normal people who are doing good things every day. A  few of them told me the stories about their neighbors – ordinary people who are an example for that.  I was amazed by their sincerity, open-mindedness, and determination to believe in humanity and moral values. 

These young people were moved by the event which inspired me to make my film Circles.  It’s a story about the heroic act of Srdjan Aleksic, a Serbian soldier who lost his life by his comrades, Serbian soldiers, while he was saving the life of his neighbor, Bosnian civilian Alen Glavovic during the civil war in Bosnia in 1993. They felt admiration for the man who defended and saved a man of another nationality and religion at the time of bloody war. 

We agreed that the real hero is the one who makes great humanistic and heroic deeds, while not thinking of the consequences and not seeking for recognition.  We talked about the power of art and how it can change the world and we spoke about their favorite Mexican film directors.

On our trip from San Diego to Tijuana we walked across the border and from one world we stepped to into another one. It was one of the strongest impressions, I have ever felt.  In a hundred meters you are not only in another country, you are in another world.  I was thinking about borders and how the essence of art is to tear down boundaries between people. I have always believed in this, and now I believe it even more after meeting with these young people. 

Our visit to their school ended with an hour of Folk Dance class, where the members of the troupe performed a Russian dance “Kalinka”. It was an unusual performance of a dance belonging to a culture geographically very distant to them.  And these young people assured me that for them there are no boundaries.  They ignore and erase the borders with their intellect, curiosity, dance, energy, and faith.  I felt that they want to fight for a better world, a world without borders that separate and alienate people. 

Because borders do not actually exist, they are only in people’s minds. 

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Sundance Institute Piloting Direct Individual Support for Mediamakers Through the Sundance Institute | Humanities Sustainability Fellowship

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

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A singular force within the documentary film world with a global reach, Diane Weyermann passed away at age 66 after battling cancer. Over the course of her 30-year career as a funder and an executive, her work elevated the documentary form and expanded its cultural impact.

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