OPENING CREDITS | ALEXANDRA KUKOLJAC: STAY WITH ME
There comes a time in every film student’s life when they have to create a project from start to finish. The journey goes from ideas to fundraising, to filming, and to finally presenting something concrete. It is a fascinating journey, on which we have the pleasure to invite you through our new blog series: Opening Credits.
Do you remember the fun game called the Broken Phone, from back then? Stay With Me is the real-life version of this game. What is even more interesting is that it took inspiration from a true story: the story of the family of Alexandra Kukoljac, the creator and producer of this pilot episode for a mini-series.
For our younger generation, the Broken Phone game is a series of whispers from person to person. One person starts and whispers a sentence to another person’s ear, and the flow goes on. Usually, by the time it arrives at the last person in the chain, the sentence gets completely disfigured, which is all the fun of it. To put it into perspective, we could compare it to the Whisper challenge, which is going around on YouTube.
‘WHEN NINA SAYS TO MARKO “STAY WITH ME”, HE MISUNDERSTANDS IT AS: “MOVE IN WITH ME”.’ ALEXANDRA KUKOLJAC
With the 80s and 90s coming back into style, the timing of the production of this mini-series fits in perfectly. We cannot wait to see characters in colorful clothing, roller skates, and with big bouncy hair. We are curious to see whether Ms. Kukoljac will use these –cliché or reality– images in her production.
Even though the 90s were a colorful time, a lot of topics were still taboo. The mini-series discusses issues such as families from different cultural backgrounds, LGBTQ+ rights, and family relationships. The themes of this mini-series bring it back to the 21st century, as we are seeing advances in the normalisation of people with different interests and backgrounds.
Ms. Kukoljac believes that there is still a lack of cultural representation in the creative arts, which is why she will pay careful attention to her casting. ‘Growing up in a very mixed family with friends from different backgrounds, I was inspired to write a series about them,’ she says.
Thus, in this series, we will meet Nina, Marko, Gabrielle, Imane, and Andrej. Nina and Marko meet when they are on holiday, but due to unfortunate circumstances have to live in a long-distance relationship –can you imagine what that would be like without phones?–, until one fateful phone call. One flight, and a life-changing decision after, Marko finds himself in Belgium, with only his bags and his best friend, Andrej.
Nina’s family is composed of her brother Michael and their mom Gabrielle. Michael struggles with his sexuality and his relationship with his parents. Gabrielle is a fierce and sassy woman. Imane is Nina’s best friend. She is Belgian-Moroccan and trying to find a way to combine her curiosities about dating and her love for her religious belief.
The film takes inspiration from cultural classics such as Friends and Clueless and intertwines with a family story. Stay With Me seems to be the perfect combination of colourfulness, seriousness, sensibility, and staying woke that the 21st century needs.
To find out more about the film and help make it a reality, please don’t hesitate to visit the project’s fundraising page.
To see the film come to life, do not hesitate to follow the project’s Instagram account.