Predrag Jočić is newly elected president of Serbian Society of Cinematographers. Working as DP on many films and TV series, he is also a co-founder of Contrast Studios production company. This election was a great opportunity to talk with Predrag about future plans of the Society.
You have been a member of the Serbian Society of Cinematographers (SSC) Executive Board for many years. Can you single out Society’s most important achievement and what will be the priorities in your presidential mandate?
Serbian Society of Cinematographers was established eleven years ago, and one of its main goals is to preserve and protect artistic and creative identity of its members as well as all cinematographers in Serbia. In order to achieve that, we founded the festival of cinematographic achievements “Slika u pokretu” five years ago. With each year festival attracts more and more attention not only from the domestic and professional audience, but also from regional and international film makers.
One of the most important events we hosted previously was the annual IMAGO awards ceremony, held in 2019 in Belgrade that gathered most eminent DPs and dear guests from every corner of the world.
Society’s goals in the upcoming period will be to protect and maintain the reputation of our profession and to raise attention to the work of directors of photography and its importance. To further strengthen our festival and the Society by making valuable contacts in the region and wider Europe. Every year we are hosting the most respectable directors of photography and will continue to share their experience with our colleagues and students. We are also devoted to keeping the memory of the legends in our profession, but also opening the door to the new generations of DPs and helping their affirmation in the industry.
What do you think about creative potential of the new generations of SSC members?
When it comes to visual arts, technological development as well as globalism, enable us, and especially young generations, to have an insight into many different contents, ideas and concepts around the planet. On the one hand, it is difficult to be radically innovative today, but on the other hand, this multitude of content allows us to filter in our eye, brain and mind the ones that are most interesting. From those impulses, new creative ideas are born. There are many young directors of photography who stand out with their projects and whose work draws our attention. That is greatly enabled by the boom of film and television productions that is taking place in Serbia in recent years. We hope that this trend will continue and that the energy, creativity and quality of the new generation of our colleagues will follow the footsteps of the most prominent cinematographers and continue their work and legacy.
What is your opinion on the international position that Serbian directors of photography have? What is the cooperation of SSC with IMAGO or other professional associations?
Today, Serbian Society of Cinematographers is highly ranked among international film institutions. Our DPs and other filmmakers are well recognized and respected both in Europe and in the region. That is the reason Serbia has two representatives in the world’s most prestigious association of cameramen – IMAGO. Predrag Bambić has been a member of the IMAGO Board of Governors for years, and last year, Bojana Andric became a member of the technical committee for the creative application of technology at IMAGO. Thanks to that, we got the opportunity to host some of the most eminent names in cinema world in 2019, which was an important event for Serbian film profession.
For sure, we have to work to further improve in that regard, and to provide best possible ways to increase visibility and respect of our individual directors of photography, as well as the entire profession and the association itself.
What is the greatest importance of professional associations and their activities within the film industry?
Serbian film industry has been in a very bad situation for years, it was almost struggling to survive. To our great content we could say that circumstances are changing. There are more and more broadcasters, financial means and opportunities. Existence and continuous work of professional associations is of key importance. They represent the line of defense of the profession, artistic integrity, unity and harmony, not just for the DPs, but also to all other creative guilds in Serbia. Film Center Serbia has also recognized current association issues and they are trying to actively support film guilds.
How many new members does SSC receive each year and when do you open admissions for new members?
According to the statute of the Society, we don’t have obligation or limit on how many new members we must or should accept annually. For the past few years, eleven new members have been admitted to the membership, so now we have total of 47 members. Every year, we establish the admission committee for new members. Then, at the Assembly of the Society, that is held every March, the voting takes place with all members participating, and candidates who receive the required number of votes become full members of the Society.
With Bojana Andrić as the new vice president of SSC, do you plan any projects aimed at professional empowerment of women? How many female members does Society have?
Since joining the association in 2018, Bojana Andrić has become one of the most active and strong members involved in the work of the Executive Board. Bojana was recently elected as full member of the IMAGO Technical Committee, together with thirty other cameramen and colorists from all over the world, together with thirty representatives of the most prominent technical equipment producers, which is also very important for SSC. When it comes to the female empowerment, it is already happening, with more and more girls enrolling at camera department, so faculties are actually the first institutions where this process starts. SSC is ready to stand behind every activity that strengthens the position of our female colleagues, and we plan to apply for project funding in that regard. Along with Bojana Andrić, within the membership there are also Jelena Stanković, Tatjana Krstevski and Maja Radošević, all of them are very actively working and in demand, representing the examples of the new generation I mentioned earlier.
According to the technological development and revolution of virtual production, how do you see the role of DPs?
Cinematographers have to constantly advance their craft, study new processes and technologies and keep up with their development. Virtual production is just one segment, and its future application is without a doubt, just as it is the role of DPs crucial for visual identity of every project, even in virtual production. The only thing changing is the process, requiring more work more in pre-production, all assets have to be prepared in advance, so in order to get what they want DPs are necessary to actively participate in that process. New career opportunities arise – like unreal engineers and specialists, environment designers…and the entire film crews are adapting to that process. Mixed reality is a rapidly evolving segment, as well as working with LED walls and game engines, so there are many new skills, which people working behind the camera will have to acquire. CGA Belgrade conference, organized by SFC, is one of excellent opportunities for future collaboration.