Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović
Photo: With Richard Burton on the set of Sutjeska; photographer: Hidajet Delić-Degi
It often happens that I have to do something, but I simply can’t get myself to do it, so I constantly procrastinate it. After a while, it simply dawns on me why it was so.
I want to organize again the No Limit Sarajevo Advertising Festival, as a national festival of creativity in advertising in Bosnia and Herzegovina. My main motivation is that the works of Bosnian-Herzegovinian agencies and advertisers could be presented in the Creative Portfolio.
In the good old times there was a saying “F*ck a country that doesn’t have Bosnia”. I have translated it into “F*ck a Creative Portfolio if there aren’t works from BH agencies in it.”
Several times I have delayed the No Limit Sarajevo Advertising Festival. It was first supposed to be held in December last year, but Zvezdana Žujo, CEO of Communis Sarajevo, as we were traveling to Dubrovnik for a meeting with Tilda Bogdanović (Dubrovnik FestiWine) in October, persuaded me to move it to spring. I reluctantly accepted it, because I wanted to have works of BiH agencies in the second edition of the Creative Portfolio. Alas, we would leave it for spring. Several times I changed my mind and wanted to organize the festival earlier, but I didn’t manage to find time to dedicate myself to it.
Communis, as our creative agency, suggested that we organize the No Limit award ceremony in the workshop of the National Theater. We visited the space, and it fits the desires of creatives, who shy from grandiosely arranged hotel halls, round table dinners, black ties and all the glitter. They want some wacky spaces. This one was exactly like that.
Later, Communis also suggested the old Imperial cinema in the city centre. It was very popular in my time. Now, they said, it was refurbished and looks great. A month ago, we went to look at that space.
It was Friday. In the morning, as I was preparing breakfast for the family, I thought it would be great to have a festival as a movie. After all, it was only fitting if we were to do it in a cinema. Ten minutes later I had all the pieces of the puzzle settled in my head. I shared the idea first with my family, who are always my first and most harsh critic.
As we were having breakfast I told them about my idea of making a film. It’s very rare that Vedrana and Asja respond positively from the get go. This time they said “yes”.
I called Zvezdana (Communis), and told her the idea – she accepts it immediately. I went to Imperial – the space fits, they also have a big bar for the after party, what else could you ask for.
Touring the space were Adnan, Malik, Amela and I from Media Marketing, and Rino Babić and Azra Dedić from Communis. I invited them to a coffee and started talking about the film idea. Rino and Azra said they already heard the idea from Zvezdana, and that they also love it.
What affects the quality of a festival and the works reported to it? The overall state of the national advertising industry. If we don’t take the entire picture, there will be no big results.
The advertising industry of Bosnia and Herzegovina, when viewed in general, doesn’t seem any special at first glance. A small market, low budgets, non-ambitious advertisers (with honourable exceptions), catastrophically bad media, fragmented industry because it has no trade association of its own…
How can we then expect top-level campaigns and successes at regional and international festivals? But when I started fitting in the idea pieces for the film in the following days, I realized we could make an interesting feature-long documentary film.
There’s so much material for good short stories. But if we are going to make a film, the No Limit Sarajevo Advertising Festival cannot be held on April 18, but at the end of November or early December. As far as I know, we will have the only advertising festival in a film format in the world.
Throughout the film we will tell the story of the advertising industry, and in the end, as a result of everything that happened in the year, we will present the finalists of No Limit.
After the screening, the only thing that will remain will be presenting of the awards, which we will also shoot and publish on our YouTube channel for everyone to enjoy. A film about the Bosnian-Herzegovinian advertising industry. Why not?
Every day since I’ve thought about this film. Who could write the scenario? Who could direct it? Who would narrate the story in front of the cameras? In those thoughts I came to the conclusion that the idea of the film did not come by accident. It was destiny, whatever that may mean.
Next year I will mark 70 years of age and 50 years of work in advertising. Not a small feat? But no, I will not yet close my book, because I think the ten best years are before me. However, I have firmly decided to pull back from the daily operational tasks, and to dedicate myself only to the strategy and development of Media Marketing.
We need to become one of the most successful companies in the regional advertising industry. That means that the film in December will be my last big project.
The circle closes. My first real job in the advertising industry was on the set of the movie Sutjeska, when I photographed Richard Burton for the Spektar magazine. We needed the money to make a poster and plaster it all over Sarajevo, but the Sarajevo City Youth Conference, as our founder and publisher, didn’t have room in their budget for such things.
We had just issued our first issue. There were no subscriptions or ad revenue yet. As I was looking at that first issue, and the ad of Jugobanka on the back. I told the editorial board: “What if I go to Tjentište, to the set of Sutjeska movie, put one of our Spektar magazines in Burton’s hands, he spreads it as if he is reading it, you can see Jugobanka’s ad, we take a photo of him, and Jugobanka will give us money for the poster.” They all broke down laughing.
Nobody from the media could get even close to Burton on the set to make any kind of photo. Just that day an article was published that Milutin Čolić, a famous film critic of Politika daily (and founder of the FEST film festival, at which I watched the premiere of Stitches last Friday), after 15 days on Tjentište demonstratively left the site, because he was unable to reach Burton.
He unleashed a torrent of criticism on Burton. “He’s arrogant, often drunk… he’s spending all the time with Elizabeth Taylor who was visiting the set…”
“Well, Milutin Čolić failed, but I won’t,” I thought. In the morning I sat on a train and went to Tjentište. After four days I came back with Barton’s photos. Jugobanka paid for the poster, everything turned out perfectly.
If I started my adventure of almost five decades of endless enjoyment in advertising business with a movie, then it’s only fitting to end it with a movie.
While reading this diary, many will think I probably lost my mind in my late age. Perhaps. But I will make this film!