Jovana Petrovic was born in a family well known for their contribution (Granddaughter of Ckalja, beloved Yugoslav actor and comedian, daughter of respected actor/director Cedomir Pertovic) within the Yugoslav acting realm. As a four year old, she was already acting in a television. Her passion and talent led her to graduate from the Belgrade Academy of Dramatic Arts. While still in school, leading roles in in Yugoslav Drama Theater, Belgrade Drama Theater launched her professional work. Jovana was able to achieve recognition in theatre early on in her career. Later, she produced and played in few productions in Belgrade Theatre, including two roles in Beckett’s, “Waiting for Godot," toured extensively to collaborate with Film 87 and create documentary movies with colleagues from France and was participating in MOVE festival in production of Goethe Institute. Her television work includes, series such as “Family Wealth," "Our Small Office," “Villagers." “Fairytale About Porridge," “My Dear Sweet Djokice," and “Some Strange People.” Jovana also served as a Program Director in “Dom Omladine” in Belgrade.
As a teacher/director, she created a production of “Mama Mia” musical in the International Chatrell School in Belgrade. Ms. Petovic pursued graduate studies in film. Film has always been Jovana’s particular interest and her passion for film continues to guide her work to this day. Jovana’s favorite actors are Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Jessica Lange, Jodie Foster, Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Robert Downey Jr., Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Anjelica Huston, and Gene Hackman.
Recently, Jovana has been working with young actors and she is fascinated by the pure energy of play that she continuously receives from her students. The joy she feels when something is created together during the acting creative process is irreplaceable in her heart.
Where were you born?
Where do you live/work?
What fuels you desire to act?
When I act, I feel that it is one of the most important reasons for me to be alive. By creating, I feel I can protect my basic human rights, protect those parts of self that are keeping me alive. This is how I have been feeling all my life. Without this creative outlet, without my creative work, I feel I would slowly shrink and die.
In what positive ways have your studies at the Belgrade Academy of Dramatic Arts shaped you as an actor?
I feel very fortunate to belong to a last student generation (before turmoil in Yugoslavia affected every aspect of life, theatre practice and work) that was able to collaborate and learn from some of the legendary professors of acting/
directing who were masters in sharing acting craft. Our school was a safe, creative oasis for all of us, during uncertain times of war. For me, this period has been marked by imagination, play, love, collaboration, and laughter. In later
years, as the overall level of acting training in Serbia, started to water down by appearance of many private acting schools of questionable quality started an unfortunate rapid decline of our cultural scene.
How does working as a teacher inform your performance?
I receive so much joy from my students that I would encourage anyone, any actor, to keep finding ways to interact with young artists. They are a constant reminder that the sense of play is the fundamental element to what we do. Playing, sharing, and interacting with younger generations helps us protect the purity of our own work, reminds us to play, and keeps the sense of magic alive. This sense of magic is fundamentally important. I feel-it is a duty of any artist, if
indeed he/she has things to share-to share skill generously and consistently with those who are younger and less experienced.
Who has most positively impacted your development within your acting career and why?
One of the reasons I never questioned my choice to work as an actor was that I was born in a family of actors. My father, as well as my grandfather, were actors. I grew up in theaters and on television sets. From a very early age, I knew what the jobs were of all the crew members. I spent time with people working with sound, lighting, and wardrobe. I was extremely fortunate to be growing up surrounded by great Yugoslav acting and directing practitioners. And since a very early age, it was clear to me that that indeed was my life. I never had a wish to change it.
As I was growing up, I was incredibly fortunate to work in almost all Belgrade theaters to be a part of some fantastic television series, participating in radio dramas, and filming co-productions. But the most inspiring element of this
experience was the incredible fortune to work with most talented actors of both older and younger generations. Serbia and the whole geographic area has a tremendous amount of talent for any artistic discipline, which was further
strengthened by an excellent acting training. Lineage of our acting training was brought to Serbia by direct disciples of Stanislavsky (who escaped Russia after 1917), as well as the mixture of artistic influences of Western and Eastern
philosophy and practice.
What do you consider the most inspiring part of the creative process?
The most important part of the process for me is the time after the rehearsals when we all together go to kafana (bar, pub). There, we live in analysis of things we accomplished and things we have worked on during the day. Through humor and camaraderie, we create ways of reflecting on work. It is very often that these gatherings transform kafana into a real stage until the wee hours of the morning.
What is the hardest part of working with yourself? Any obstacle you would care to share?
The most difficult thing for me is when I feel I do not have a great company of actors around me, people I can trust. I’m not particularly fond of working alone. When I am fortunate enough to work with those who are closest to me-colleagues I love and respect-I feel fulfilled. I feel safe. I know that if I fall, they will be there for me to lift me up. I am there to offer the same.
An obstacle for me can also be a certain feeling of procrastination, avoidance or laziness. But these are obstacles only until the moment I begin to work. As soon as I begin and enter “the zone,” I feel overwhelmed by the sense of play. Once the ensemble is in it, in this zone of play, I feel I can go on working forever. I do not feel tired and there seems to be no end to what I feel I can do. For me, there is no better feeling/experience, than those moments where you feel as if you have discovered a key to unlock the secret of this new character you’re working with and her relationships to others.
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.