Skip to main content

Blogs & Interviews


When I was a little girl I was enjoying living in my own world. I was creative, feeling passionate about the world around me and my inner impressions. I enjoyed every kind of art, especially movies.

Q&A with Serbian Screenwriter and Journalist Ivan Makragić

Ivan Makragić

My wish is to have more and more co-productions in all former Yugoslavia countries, and also to spread all over the Balkan. I am "yugonostalgic" person, I was born during Yugoslavia and it was very difficult to me that all that collapsed and crushed like house of cards.

"My dream at the beginning was to become a famous movie author, but during this period of studying, I loved theater more than films, but also I like to write some TV series and shows, and advertising world as well."

Q &A

Q: Please tell us what inspired you to enter into the world of films, music and journalism? 

Ivan Makragić – A: Well, this is indeed interesting question, because often I ask myself the same question. First of all, my basic wish is to became a filmmaker, director or screen writer, to work at the other side of the screen, never in front of it, because I am too shy to manage that pressure. The first association in that time was watching too many movies all the time on from cartoon on television in early childhood until feature full length movies on big screen. During that period, I started to imagine things, stories, plots, maybe because I did not want to be just a observer, beholder, but to participate in future as a creative person. So, later on, during Gramar school I went to some classes of film directing, as a preparation for Academy.

Nevertheless, writing was much more closer to me, so I change the department, and I applied for Dramaturgy, to become a playwrights.

My plan B, if I failed at this exam on the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, was Journalism at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Political Science.

Those two skills in some strange way are connected, I mean, it is writing we are talking about, but creative things such as writing plays or screenplays long time ago were my primary goal, target.

First of all, I become a film lover, after that theater fan, so I love to write for both medias. Love for music came much later. I have no talent for music in order to become a musician, but at the other side, really like going to concerts of my favorite artist domestic or foreign.

So I loved music during some period and later become music journalist for online magazine called Music Pocket, before that for another portal

When I do not have a job as a writer, then I am journalist, which is fine in some way.

My greatest wish is to have a chance be only freelance writer for big and small screen, also for stage, but in Serbia, specially in Belgrade, this is not easy at all, because of many circumstances. Currently I am working as a journalist in National news agency Tanjug, in Culture section, writing reports of all kinds of heppenings - film, music, literature, painting, television, theater.

And of course, still waiting for the real life time chance.

Q: Where do you see the Serbian and Balkan film industry going in the next 3 years? 

Ivan Makragić – A: Besides movies for cinema distribution or festivals, in Serbia last 4 years developed the real explosion of TV series which has never happened before in the history of film making in Serbia and all countries of former Yugoslavia.

I am afraid that television will dominate over cinema, in Serbia also, but, that is the story for some other time, very big thing.

Last several years in Serbian movies there were some progress, a little bit, we have some new authors with unique ideas, so things in that direction changed. But, according to audience, box office results, films with lots of brutal violence like "South Wind" by Miloš Avramović, have a big success, around million viewers in cinemas, which is outstanding for small country like Serbia. I prefer crime stories, but not in that way like previous mentioned action movie, which is too much of dominate mindless killings, so I would rather watch something closer to opus of director Srdan Golubović ("Absolute Hundred", "The Trap", "Circles", "The Father").

Also, as I can see, contemporary Serbian cinematography in last several years, maybe a whole decade, is dedicated to historical stories, epic dramas, it seems that modern themes in scripts are no longer interesting or in any way attractive.

Veteran of film making Zdravko Šotra during whole career directed movies with a past as the main subject.

Famous actor in Serbia and successful director and producer Dragan Bjelogrlić also directs movies and TV series with history in the center.

He is one of the perspective authors in mainstream production, big numbers, indeed high results in cinemas, but also on television series.

Major problem maybe in Serbian film is that we do not have so much universal projects which can correspond in the world with every audience, no matter what.

Our films are very much local, with no ambitious to become much more.

Besides Emir Kusturica, or unfortunately suddenly departed Goran Paskaljević, we do not have big directors who can won major prizes in Kan, Berlin, Venice.

Of course, there are some exceptions, like Stefan Arsenijević, who triumphed with his film "Banović Strahinja" (As Far As i Can Walk), at Film festival at Karlovy Vary 2021, as best director and best film.

So, in short terms, in the next 3 years, Serbian cinematography will or could be developed in the course of historical topics, only with stories deep in the past, because all contemporary screenplays most of them are very shallow and not authentic.

Like one of the best and the most beautiful actress in Serbia Sloboda Mićalović said to me in one interview - "Historical movies are more often shooting because people have some idealistic and romantic point of view about the past, according to the present which is very cruel and dark today". I could not agree more with her.

Q: How do you think the film industry is changing in Balkan region? 

Ivan Makragić – A: There are some successful movie projects like co-productions between Serbia and Croatia, or with Slovenia, Macedonia, but it needs to be much more and visible, with major changes in pre-production. According to me, we need a lot of new projects with all equal opportunities for actors, directors, screenwriters all the way SFRJ, like that was before. So, in one film we can have same numbers of actors from Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

And we really do not need to have boundaries, because we can make it happen co-productions with our fellow artists from Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary. For me that will be the perfect world, to connect each other, to share ideas, creativity, casting, and to manage the same success on many international world wide film festivals.

Q: Who are your favorite filmmakers? 

Ivan Makragić – A: Definitely Italian-American directors, which movies raised me in some way, who marked my childhood in every possible way – first of all maestro Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Francis Ford Coppola. They are holly group of three magic authors. All of them created master pieces in their collection, so I grew up with those universal stories in "Taxi Driver", "Raging Bull", "The Untouchables", "The Godfather" 1-2-3, "Apocalypse Now", "Scarface".

Of course, there are plenty others movie makers I admire, especially mister Michael Mann, author of my almost favorite film "Heat", or Michael Cimino, director of my favorite movie of all time - epic anti-war saga "The Deer Hunter".

New directors who showed authentic and unique style which blown me away are Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder.

Q: Which actor, according to you, is all-time best actor? 

Ivan Makragić – A: Definitely ROBERT DE NIRO. One and only. Magnificent in every possible way. I loved him as a kid, watching numerous movies with him as a leading star, he was outstanding in every role.

I like about him that in older age, now, he still works a lot, shootings movies all the time, very hiper productive, maybe workaholic, but I admire that.

Besides De Niro, my heroes in American, world acting are brilliant Dustin Hoffman, fantastic Al Pacino, or immortal forever Marlon Brando.

Also, some others which movies I admired during my growing up - Gene Hackman, Robert Redford, Richard Gere, Paul Newman, and many more.

But, Robert De Niro is the very best ever and forever.

Q: Please tell us about your upcoming projects? 

Ivan Makragić – A: This is always hard question in Serbia, where nothing is certain, and when artists like me have many promises, but with no guaranteed projects to proceed.

So far, my experience was based as a screenwriter for television, several quiz show programes, game shows, also reality and feature documentary series.

Well known projects with high ratings on Serbian Tv I have written based on other authors ideas were - "The House of Hearts" (construction real life drama reality), "All For Love" (reality game show), "Are you Smarter then a Fifth Grader?" (licensed quiz game show), "The Moment from a Dream" (drama reality), "The Best Serbian Garden" (fun documentary series), "The Room of Happiness (game quiz show), "The Couples" (reality), "Maldivi" (music Tv show), "Belgrade like any other city" (fun show documentary).

I expect opening night soon of one drama in theatre which I wrote recently and according to plan and the director's words, that project should be realized several months ago.

Well, I am still waiting, which is the same situation for two more plays in some theatres alongside Belgrade.

Also, if I get lucky, maybe, just maybe, I could be one of the writers or showrunner for several TV series.

But, all that things, plans, situations, unfortunately never depends on me, only on faith, destiny, and how all pieces will come together.

Ivan Makragić Links: Music Pocket

What's Trending