CANADIAN author, writer and director Ingrid Veninger, who has Slovak roots, released her first feature film about a girl who visits her relatives in the old family homeland at age 17. The movie is autobiographical to a large extent, and as Veninger has said, narrates the story from the viewpoint of someone in the delicate time between childhood and adulthood. The film is called Modra and it was filmed in the small Slovak town of Modra, near Bratislava, with many of Veninger’s actual relatives playing her fictional relatives.
The main characters are played by film rookies Hallie Switzer and Alexander Gammal; Hallie is the director’s daughter. In the movie, she plays Lina who, soon after splitting with her boyfriend, decides to travel to her parents’ homeland to visit relatives and invites Leco, a nice schoolmate, to accompany her. But soon after arriving in Modra the two discover they have very little in common, which rather complicates the situation as her Slovak family thinks they are a couple in love.
Lina comes to admire the country she knows little about and the well-integrated family life in Modra contrasts much with her Canadian life as a single child of expatriates, living only with her mother. Her first long trip away from the safe nest of her Canadian home brings many questions about immigration, political persecution and traditional roots. Sometimes, the borderline between fiction and documentary becomes quite blurred, Veninger said. She enjoyed staying and working with her relatives and she used music by the Slovak band Bukasový masív, in which her uncle Imi plays and sings, in the film. Other uncles appear in the movie along with aunts, cousins and a great-aunt aunt.
Veninger was born in Bratislava but grew up in Canada. She has worked as a producer, actress, writer and director, and after having graduated from the Canadian Film Centre in 2000, she produced an award-winning short, Three Sisters on Moon Lake. In 2003 she founded the pUNK FILMS company and shot six shorts (Bunny Project, White Light, Uriah, Mama, Hotel Vladivostok, and Action) and produced three feature films (The Limb Salesman, Nurse.Fighter.Boy and Only).
Modra is her first feature film as a director and she is now working on Peter Mettler’s End of Time and on The Diary of Laura’s Twin based on the bestseller by Kathy Kacer. In September, Modra will be screened at the Toronto Film Festival and in November it will premiere at the Bratislava Film Festival.
23. Aug 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff