"The Conspiracy" is a thrilling and mysterious short film that takes viewers on a suspenseful journey. Directed, written, and produced by Goran Ajtič, the film delves into a world of crime, passion, and deception.
Filmtage : What inspired you to become an independent filmmaker, and how has your journey been so far in this challenging industry?
Goran Ajtič : Well, I wanted to be a filmmaker since my early childhood, actually. Constantly developing some new and provocative ideas for film scripts already before I reached 10, I finally made my first short film at the age of 12. But still, my first important 'breakthrough' came in 2005 (when I was 25 years old), with a film called 'From Romantic to Realism'. Receiving good critics from the audiences, it totally failed to receive any attention from a single professional producer; it was for the very first time that I found out that in my country, Slovenia, wasn't enough space for us with slightly different ideas. So, in that particular year of 2005, I automatically became an independent filmmaker – because I had no choice. I had many ideas for further scripts (that had to be urgently made into short films and art videos), and yet, I never got a real film producer. Even today, in these very days, in my case, everything remains the same. All I did so far I did on my own.
Filmtage : Independent filmmaking often comes with limited resources and funding. How do you approach the creative process to maximize the impact of your storytelling within these constraints?
Goran Ajtič : Very interesting question. Well, first of all, there must be an idea. A single, and yet very strong idea for the theme and finally for the story itself. Than, secondly, I start writing the script with great enthusiasm. When it is finished, I usually present it to actors with even greater enthusiasm. Usually it works, because according to stories I provide, many good actors in Slovenia want to collaborate with me – yes, here I can consider myself as a very lucky person. They all want to try something new, with a different, independent filmmaker, because professional filmmakers in Slovenia make films more or less in the same manner (for decades, actually). But my vision is my own, usually it is strong and true, so there is no problem with actors. Pretty much the same with the crew; if they are interested in the script, they are 'on'.
And the budget? Well … So far, to this very day, I had to finance all my projects on my own. It is limited budget, for sure; but if you want to make a short film, it can be done … slowly, but in the end, the film comes out. Still: the lack of professional film producer is the reason for still not having full feature picture: in that case, budget is the problem, yes.
Filmtage : "The Conspiracy" has received critical acclaim for its unique style and narrative. Can you share the creative decisions and influences that contributed to the film's success?
Goran Ajtič : In my opinion every filmmaker must enter a wide specter of knowledge. It is not enough to know only something that is 'in' today, what we see in cinema or on televison. No. Every filmmaker needs more. I, for instance, have studied all European and world cinema (on my own, via internet), read a lot, seen many classics, as well as new films, numerous TV serials … for decades (since I was 8 or 9 years old). For instance, I liked a lot 'The Godfather' trilogy, also Italian series 'La Piovra' or German 'Der Schattenmann'. So, something connected to organised crime and secret societies; in my eyes organised crime was always something that frightened me a lot – also something that rules us all and we are not aware of it (an impact for 'The Conspiracy' maybe, thematically).
According to narrative and style … There were films of the »New Wave« movement, for instance, in the 60's … And it influenced me a lot, I confess. Some French and Czechoslovak classics, also German New Cinema since 1962 … You see, in Slovenia, German and Czechoslovak films were also very popular, especially from 60's to 80's. So maybe, all these influences and visuals played an important role in my childhood and in my youth.
Of course, there must be numerous twists in the stories, because this makes them even more interesting; as a writer (actually I am a writer first and filmmaker second) I always long for a good, interesting, innovative story with some mysterious characters and background. It also fascinates me if the story itself is presented within different time frames.
Filmtage : Independent filmmakers often face challenges in distribution and reaching a wider audience. What strategies have you employed to promote and share your work with a broader community?
Goran Ajtič : Firstly, I sent 'The Conspiracy' to some film festivals in Slovenia. Surely it gained some attention and some recognition, but still, as you know, Slovenia is a small country with less than 2 millions inhabitants, which also means that it is not quite a filmatic country. The tradition of filmmaking is not so strong here, like it is in Italy, Germany or Czechia, for instance. There is also no large film market, which is the main problem. So, secondly, I took upon a 'Filmfreeway', made my profile there and put all my short films on. I started sending 'The Conspiracy' all around the globe to different festivals, and yes, it received a tremendous response, in a positive way. It was very well received in Italy, as well as in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Recently it found its way to German festivals as well, including 'Filmtage Der Nationen', where it also got fine reviews.
So, shortly: 'Filmfreeway' is the main reason that some of my films, especially 'The Conspiracy', but also 'Art & Joy & Pleasure', were presented to wider audiences.
Filmtage : As an independent filmmaker, you have the freedom to explore diverse and unconventional subjects. Could you tell us about a particular project that was close to your heart and the importance of bringing that story to the screen?
Goran Ajtič : Yes, this is surely the greatest privilege of independent filmmakers to make films about different themes and genres, without any borders. To tell you the truth, there are at least five ideas (some of them are already made into scripts) for five different full feature films. All of these stories, projects actually, are very close to me, but one in particular: it is (will be) called 'Coliastrian'. There are some similarities with 'The Conspiracy' (where there is an unnamed Organisation – maybe 'Illuminati' society??), only that in this case it would be a film about a secret religious sect. Coliastrian is actually the name of an old god from ancient Persia (only in my script, of course – totally fictitious), but in the 2020's, there is a secret society, a sect of Coliastrian, that it started in Uppsala University in Sweden (by a mysterious female professor). Later the sect is divided into two clans and it reaches its tentacles all across Europe – it operates axactly like mafia. It is in search for a single man, an innocent guy called Adrian (the main character in this story), because his great-aunt in 1901 already had a direct contact with demon god Coliastrian. So the sect needs Adrian as a hostage; they need him to perform the act which would provide another rise of their pagan god. Adrian is guarded in a high mountain hotel (maybe somewhere in the Alps?), and there are some people, members of a different branch of the clan, on their way to rescue him …
It is going to be crime, mystery, horror, philosophical drama and erotic thriller as well. Coliastrian: a mixture of genres.
So, the film should be made in English and partly also in Swedish and German language, while it takes place all round Europe. It would be shot in Slovenia and Austria; casting is almost done (there are numerous actors that would participate with enthusiasm, because this would be a challenge to them all – also native speakers of these languages). Shooting style should be also more in 'New Wave' method (like films of the 60's). And finally: the main theme of the story, again, is also very obscure and controversal: Coliastrian is a god (is it a bad god or a good one?), that would replace all main religions: christianity, islam and judaism, as a new god or as a new 'world order' of some kind. So, yes, this story is even more »dangerous« than the one in 'The Conspiracy'. 'Coliastrian' has a special place in my heart, because in the world of film everything could be done, everything is allowed. If I am lucky enough to get a producer for this film, the project itself should be made in the next 2 years, I hope. Enthusiasm will lead us, as always.