Scriptwriter of the Month: Karla Lulić

We finish the year by presenting you one more interesting female writer. Karla Lulić is self-made Croatian writer/director who is currently preparing her next short film SPLIT ENDS written by Dora Šustić that has been supported by Croatian Audio-Visual centre for production. Also, Karla is developing several different projects as a writer, director and producer.


To find out a bit more about what she’s working on, check out her MTSW profile here and, of course, read the conversation we did with her.


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

These are the films that made me who I am as a filmmaker, literally, they are my teachers.

First of all, these works teach me how power of the image and sound can be bonded together in harmony and create an emotion beyond anything we can ever feel in real life and transcend us through an authentic experience of being a human and living on this earth.

All are pure art-house films that influenced European filmmaking in a very specific and strong way, and they teach me that through my works I should do the same.

Most of the films mentioned here are also flirting with genre. These are the films that are on the edge and very innovative in their way of expression. So, we have a horror coming of age and a horror drama, a soviet post-apocalypse and a soviet love story, and one surreal comedy, all of them introducing a new film language, but rejected and highly feared of by the society and critics at the moment of their apparition.

They inspire me and give me strength to persist and have courage when circumstances of filmmaking seem unbearable, or when there is doubt that our work could be misunderstood or judged.


• Why did you decide to go into film?


I always imagined and created stories as a kid and loved to listen and read stories. Stories make us understand both who we are as human species, and a world around us, and help us deal with ourselves and our hidden corners that we never dare to look.

I love beauty around me, and in creating stunning images I find my purpose. I want to be the director that moves this creation in a new direction, and one day I hope to read these lines and smile, realizing it came true.


• Commercial films or art house?


Although I do art-house, I think the perfect filmmaking process is to be aware and combine both. It should not be a battle between the two, choosing sides… Maybe there is a wrong image of commercial films in general that are viewed only as entertainment. Why couldn’t they also offer a deeper meaning to a viewer?

Also, there is a darker side to the art-house. Many of those films are considered boring and self-indulging, as sometimes they don’t consider its own audience and how films should make them feel.

In my work, I always try to think of my audience and how it would make them feel about things that I want to say to them.

The filmmaker and the audience should be emotionally connected through an experience in the darkness of the cinema.


• How and when did you begin writing?


I started as a producer, and back then in my early years, without any practice in writing, I wrote my first script, it was a feature black comedy “Mirror of Nightingales”, currently in development. It just came out of me, like a reminiscence of my childhood, like all the ghosts just had to come out, I didn’t even plan to write a script and to become a scriptwriter.

It was intended to be directed by another director, but I realized the story is too personal, so I would need to direct it myself. So, now, I had to become a director, but I didn’t have any education or practice. I wrote my first short “In the name of the Strawberry, the Chocolate and the Holy Spirit” just to see if I can do it, and how would I feel on set. It actually came out pretty good for a first film, I was learning a lot all by myself in preparation and on set on my mistakes, and I cherish this experience so much.

So, this is how it started, instead of being just a producer, I spontaneously started to write and direct. But I am happy also to work with other scriptwriters, currently we are preparing a short film “Split Ends” written by Dora Šustić, that I actually met though Meet the Scriptwriters platform, which was a wonderful experience, and we are spreading our collaboration on other projects as well.


• Where do you like to write the most?


My favourite practice is renting a house somewhere at the Croatian seaside in winter, in order to retreat from the world and write on existing or new materials. We are so distracted by everyday activities, little tasks, responding emails and calls, and of course our temptations to see friends and have fun or procrastinate. And love is a special kind of distraction 🙂


• What kind of music do you listen while writing?


During writing, I always nurture silence, otherwise for me it’s impossible to concentrate. I get so immersed with my favourite music that I lose my train of thought. But sometimes I do put some chosen kind of ‘hypnotic’ frequencies, and with my headphones on, it feels like the whole world disappeared and I get more easily into the flow state.


• Where do ideas come from?


From all sources, but I noticed that most of them come from my dreams or memories, and I look for some articles with absurd stories.

Also, I love it so much when people are sharing their anecdotes, I note them and keep in safe place in order to maybe use them someday, as they are a real treasure giving us the authentic human experience that is absurd, funny, sad or touching in some other way.


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


I would stay exactly here and now. I strongly believe that we should cherish whatever time and place offer us and make the best of it. Statistics shows that, even though it doesn’t look like it from the media, we live in a safest and most abundant period of our civilization.

Even though, of course, there are still huge problems with this time and place. In our complaining how everything sucks now, we don’t know or consider other issues that people in other periods had to go through.

As for me, for example, limitless flow of information due to the technology actually gave me the opportunity to educate and school myself as a filmmaker without actually going through the traditional educational system.

And in general, the information is the ultimate power to the people, and I consider us privileged to have this freedom.