Week 9 | Artist 9: Created to Create 2016 | Ksenija Zelenovic, Actress/Producer/Film Theorist
I was born in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, where I completed high school and one year of Literature and French at the University of Novi Sad. I was accepted to Belgrade Academy of Dramatic Arts to study Acting. After graduation, I worked as an actor in several major Belgrade Theatres. As a part of my professional scope, I worked in television and film, both in Yugoslavia and abroad. After completing my BFA in Acting, I chose graduate study in Theory of Film and Media; my final MA work was in Film Noir: Neonoir in contemporary Hollywood productions.
I am currently working toward my PhD in film. My book on film (Neonoir film) was published a few years ago. I am also a Co-Creator of the independent theatre company “Demode," through which we develop theatre, exhibitions and various theatre projects. I also work with children at the “Male skole pozorisnih vestina” school. More recently, I was a part of the City of Belgrade Institute for Promoting Culture. At present, I work for FEST, the most senior and largest film festival in the Balkan region. My duties include coordinating projects and assisting the Artistic Director.
Where do you live and work?
For the past twenty five years, I have been living in Belgrade, Serbia. In the past few years, I have only been involved in acting projects that I feel passionate about and have devoted my time to film research. I feel blessed to work with great films and film makers as a part of my role as a Coordinator of Film at Fest. In addition, I enjoy teaching acting to children. I produce, fundraise and create projects that I feel passionate about which may or may not be funded by the government.
What fuels your desire to create?
Acting is my deepest, most devoted love-a relationship that has been present in my life for the last twenty five years, since the first time I stepped on stage. This need to research various characters, and live different lives through these characters feels like a sort of addiction that never stops. Acting work is a great way to get to know self through transforming into someone else, to recognize some new levels and depths that we might have not been aware of in life. This aspect of acting has a healing power. I love research; I am fascinated by pushing through personal limitations of small self towards becoming a better person, towards the truth both human and artistic. Actor is privileged to have play as his/her work. Actor has exploration, joy of creation-as a job. This sense of play is what attracts me to acting work. I feel that the biggest human potential is creativity. I also love writing and I attempt to bring the sense of play into all I do, to enjoy it, to savor it, to acknowledge the pleasure that comes from creative work. Being guided by the sense of play is the only way for me to work.
Please describe some aspects of your acting training at Belgrade Academy of Dramatic Arts and how this positively influenced your work?
My classmates and I have been fortunate to study acting at one of the most rigorous and prestigious training institutions in Southeastern Europe. The year, I was fortunate enough to be accepted-700 candidates applied and only sixteen were accepted. This fact is important because at that moment, Arts and Acting were professions that so many young people rushed to try to study.
We were able to study with some of the great masters of acting craft, artists and professors who made their mark in history of theatre and film. We learned to take responsibility, to work hard, to analyze, develop artistic taste and sensibility, and to explore the world around us. We were pushed to read vigorously and to gain a solid education that exceeds the craft that we were working to develop 14 hours per day. We had an opportunity to direct, write, and explore dramaturgy. I feel that all of these aspects combined were fundamental for our future development.
Who/what is your strongest artistic influence?
My most important influence is my great fortune to collaborate with my colleagues through theatre film work. I was fortunate to work with great actors/actresses in productions I've been a part of. Acting is a craft and practicing your craft, consistently learning from others as you do, is vital. If you are lucky to learn from the most dedicated and skilled practitioners, you can grow and develop. I feel the same way about directors; t is a great privilege for an actor to collaborate with a director who is advanced in his/her craft, and who knows how to pull the most out of an actor’s performance.
Your most inspiring aspect of creating?
I love the first read of a play. When the copy of the play first comes to my life, I cherish those first impressions while reading the play-ideas and dreams that come to you thorough your intuition while reading the play for the first time-I love that. The most pleasurable part of acting work is this discovery/research. I am inspired by my own artistic attempts to push the boundaries. I am also inspired by the freedom as an actor to try anything on stage. I am inspired by freedom to “make mistakes” and not be afraid of failure.
What is your greatest obstacle in working with self?
Everything that seems difficult in working with self, I try to push through and put out of my mind. My experience and feelings are mostly joyful in rehearsals, but those aspects that present difficulty I know will, in the end of the process, promote growth and be of great value. I strive to learn from all experiences-those that are joyful as well as those that seem to present difficulty. I am aware that “obstacles” are an integral part of creative process, and I observe them as an integral part of life as well. If it is difficult during the process, I try very hard to learn the value of this experience and how to grow from it. I also want to forget about the difficulty as soon as possible and focus on the positive. I feel that the end result is what is important, as well as what we're able to learn from the process.
In 2016, SUPER SPACE is serving as a vehicle to facilitate Created to Create Project.
CREATED TO CREATE
INTRODUCING ONE ARTIST PER WEEK, FOR 52 WEEKS IN 2016.
Beginning, January, 1st, 2016
ACTORS, ARTISTS, THEATRE MAKERS, FILM MAKERS, DESIGNERS, TEACHING ARTISTS, STUDENTS all chosen because they spend a part each day creating. Artists will be chosen in no particular order.
Introduce artists from different parts of the world. People who use different mediums and whose practice is at a different skill level. A thing they all have in common is unique sense of style and self-expression.