Scriptwriter of the Month: Dora Šustić

Dora Šustić is Croatian scriptwriter who is finishing her MA studies in Screenwriting, Film and TV at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. These days she is getting ready for Sarajevo Film Festival, as she has been selected for Scriptwriting program at Talents Sarajevo.


We asked Dora to answer a few questions for, but if you want to find out more about what she’s working on, check out her MTSW profile here.


• What makes the 5 films on your Top 5 list so special?


These are some of the films that left the strongest impression on me and that keep impressing me every time I re-watch them. I remember vividly the day I saw LA TETA ASUSTADA for the first time, in 2009 on Motovun Film Festival; already the opening scene of the film killed me. Still today, I feel very strongly about that film. I love Cassavetes, all of his films, the way he works with improvisation, camera, music; the way he portrays life and love in general. I guess that’s what I find special in these listed films: how these authors capture love and madness both thematically and aesthetically. I’d add also BIUTIFUL by Iñárritu and FAT GIRL by Breillat to this list.


• Why did you decide to go into film?


At first I thought I wanted to be a journalist, but during my exchange year in Prague, I’ve discovered I’m very much interested in cinema. I figured that my habit of writing poetry and prose and my interest in film should be combined, hence scriptwriting, and slowly through scriptwriting studies I’ve explored also other realms of film. Why exactly this happened, how I found my interest in film to be so deep, I don’t know.


• Commercial films or art house?


Both. Ideally, some golden middle between brainless mainstream films and obscure, incomprehensible art films. Although, art house cinema is much more inspiring and interesting, but unfortunately sometimes inaccessible to a wider audience. It becomes a matter of intellectual elitism, which is a shame.


• How and when did you begin writing?


I think it comes from keeping a diary since an early age, I was nine or ten when I started. It has become an important every-day habit, sort of mental hygiene. Also, I wrote a lot of poems during high school, then started to explore prose and lastly scripts.


• Where do you like to write the most?


In my room in Rijeka, while drinking my mother’s coffee.


• What kind of music do you listen while writing?


I don’t listen to music while writing. I need to be able to hear people talk in my head, so music distracts me. Only if characters are listening to a certain song in a scene or there’s a specific tune as a part of the atmosphere, but that’s rare.


• Where do ideas come from?


From past lives 🙂 Almodóvar said all good ideas come from our mothers, and I agree. In general, family, childhood, dreams. Each one of us has a unique story right there.


• If you could go anywhere in space and time, where would that be?


Greenwich Village, New York, during the beat generation.