Želimir Žilnik Masterclass


SFA students had a unique opportunity to meet this renowned filmmaker as we welcomed Želimir Žilnik for a week long masterclass. Žilnik focused on documentary filmmaking as well as on the docu-fiction, as such films of hybrid genre are frequently selected and awarded at festivals around the world. He presented his filmmaking methodology applied in almost all of his works that deal with social engagement, humour or grotesque, comedy and explicit political criticism.

Internationally acclaimed documentary and fiction film director Želimir Žilnik has over fifty years long and illustrious carrier dedicated to making socially provocative and politically engaged films that represent people on the edge of non existence and their individual stories. Known as an initiator of the docudrama genre and renowned for his use of non actors, Berlinale Golden Bear winner Žilnik masterfully focuses and documents contemporary issues with his critical take on social, political and economic realities.
His unique visual style earned him critical accolades, but also censorship in the 1970s for his unflinching criticism of the government apparatus - as he was a pioneering member of the radical Yugoslav Black Wave, Žilnik was prevented from making films and forced to leave Yugoslavia in exile. His exile in West Germany was short lived, since his radical productions were also censored in that country. Low-budget filmmaking and challenging political themes mark Žilnik’s prolific career that includes over 50 feature and documentary films and shorts. His work has been featured in programs of art galleries, museums and art institutes around the world such as Venice Biennale (Italy), ICA London & Nottingham Contemporary (UK), National Gallery of Art (USA), MACBA (Spain), Centre Pompidou (France), Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo (Mexico), among others.
Alongside his filmmaking and production work, Žilnik has been active in educational areas - he has been a mentor and executive producer in many international workshops for students from all over South Eastern Europe and a visiting lecturer at film schools around the world.