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MILENA ZUPANČIČ, LAUREATE OF THE ALEKSANDAR LIFKA HONORARY AWARD By acting, I discover the hidden worlds within me

MILENA ZUPANČIČ, LAUREATE OF THE ALEKSANDAR LIFKA HONORARY AWARD

By acting, I discover the hidden worlds within me
I have always enjoyed working with Matjaž Klopčič. Most of my films I made with him

First winner of the honorary Aleksandar Lifka Award for her contribution to regional cinema, Slovenian and Yugoslav actress Milena Zupančič has been in love with acting for more than half a century, with numerous film, television and theater roles. As she said, film meant a lot to her, but she meant a lot to film, too. A part of her life and gorgeous personality is presented to us by a documentary EVERY GOOD STORY IS A LOVE STORY by Rajko Grlić and Matjaž Ivanišin, which will be screened in Milena's honor at the European Film Festival.

With what emotion did you receive the news that you are the laureate of this year's honorary Aleksandar Lifka Award for your contribution to the regional cinema awarded by the Palić Festival?
You cannot remain indifferent to such a beautiful and important recognition. At first I was surprised, and then I was glad that my work on the film was not in vain and that it didn’t fall into oblivion.

When you look back today, what do you think is your main characteristic that determined you to act?
We are all born with some predispositions and talents. I was born with a talent for acting. I felt that at the time I was finishing my high school. And there were no alternatives. Nothing else mattered. Fortunately, I was admitted to the Academy. Despite many difficult moments, this is a wonderful profession. Through acting you can live a lot of lives, experience what you privately cannot, mustn’t or you don’t dare to do, inappropriate things, you can do everything, you can say everything without hesitation. Because of the audience you have to experience other people's lives, the life events of the characters you interpret, as your own. And when, as if by some miracle, I find my way to my characters, I rediscover in myself worlds that I wasn’t aware of. This is how someone else's becomes mine, incomprehensible - comprehensible. Film, like theater, in addition to my private life, gives me the experience I need.

Which film roles did you enjoy the most and how did you choose them?
Of course, there are roles I turned down. Sometimes I didn't like the script, sometimes I didn't trust the director, the team. I have always enjoyed working with Matjaž Klopčič. Most of my films I made with him. We were great collaborators, we didn't waste time on unnecessary talking. I knew what he wanted from me, he knew what he could expect from me. We saved a lot of celluloid for Slovenian cinema, since we rarely repeated shots.

You play a lot in theater. Fortunately, for us, you have a play at the Belgrade Drama Theater. What would be your acting challenge on film today?
One strong role for an actress of my age. It doesn't matter if she is a positive heroine, a heroine, or a villain, it is important for her to be special, interesting.

You have worked actively at UNICEF for almost 13 years, as their ambassador. What did that experience bring you?
If film and theater are a matter of fantasy, working at UNICEF is a harsh reality. I did both with full responsibility. I visited the most remote places in Africa, Asia, Central and South America. I met children and women who were “forgotten by God”. I no longer sleep carefree, but UNICEF gave me a lot. Many of our society’s problems suddenly became insignificant to me compared to those in the underdeveloped world, where children die of hunger, disease, war ... Not to mention that working at UNICEF gave me the opportunity to further develop my sensitivity, sharpen it, which is precious for an actor.

Jelena Knežević

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