Mario Kovač (HR) A Film with Special Needs

A Film with Special Needs is envisioned as an artistic and social experiment, a project bringing together people with different disabilities in a workshop endeavor in filmmaking. Our intent is to organize film production in ways in which each production unit is led by people whose disability customarily prevents them from engaging in that particular aspect of production. Specifically, this means that the cameramen are visually impaired, the sound recording and production are done by hearing-impaired members of the team, the narration spoken by a deaf-mute person, ‘action’ scenes are performed by people with motor disabilities (users of wheelchairs and other assistive devices).

The result of this experiment is a film edited only from materials created in this way. Editing of shot materials will allow us to create several short films that focus on particular segments of the film trade, but also on details we usually ignore during the making of a film. The film product will
have all the available assistive technology that enhances accessibility for its audience members with disabilities: subtitles and picture-in-picture featuring sign language interpretation, a narrator describing events on screen and subtitled sound effects for the visually impaired. In this manner, we increase the amount of information available to every single audience member (including those with a disability) and enable several possible codes of interpretation for each scene.

Our wish is to use this project to draw attention to the problems persons with disabilities encounter while consuming any kind of product of film, video or television production, while at the same time attempting to take a step in the direction of better integration of persons with disabilities into film production in ways not yet explored. Besides the actual film as a product, we see this project as a proving ground for researching into the social issue of artistic production by people with disabilities.

Film footage created in the making is going to be classified in several categories: sound, image, time, space, body, the missing, medical segregation, and then shaped into coherent pertaining segments.


Mario Kovač (HR)

Mario Kovač (born 1975 in Zagreb) is a Croatian theater and movie director. In 2002 he graduated from the theatrical direction department at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb. In 1995, he formed Schmrtz Teatar, an independent theater group of young people interested
in theater, modern primitivism, alternative lifestyles and subcultural activities as well as in
recycling the old ideas about modernity and the political influence of the theater. In less than
five years they have produced over 120 plays, performances, shows, concerts, happenings, installations or actions.

Radical actions were among the most noticed of their activities, including stealing books from bookshops to protest against the 22% VAT levy, exorcist action against evil demons in the building of the Croatian National Theater, the Millennium Marijuana March... In 2000 they drastically reduced their membership (down to nine people) and changed their name to Nova
Grupa, but their ideology of civil politics and independent ‘do it yourself’ lifestyle stays the same. This group is very well known in the circuit of student festivals and has performed at many of them across the world (most of Europe, Venezuela, Canada, Iran, Tunisia, and elsewhere) with productions: Philip Glass buys a piece of bread, Sun City, and Cockroaches.

Student Centre (Zagreb)