Aćim Vasic on his latest short film 'Prey', unpacking 'feminism' and raising awareness about stalking
The #MeToo movement not only forced the world to reconsider each shade in the wide spectrum of what was considered harassment but it also made us take a closer look at the underlying violent side to masculinity.
'Prey' Aćim Vasic's film takes a cold hard look at this subject aiming to empower women. The seven-minute short will give you chills by the time you get to the surprise ending and will scare you as you watch its antagonist (played by actor Franc Bruneau) following women walking down the streets at night.
The film has no dialogues but it says a thousand words about the chilling terror of walking down a lonely alley on almost every occasion and the relief the presence of an uninteresting cab brings at the time. The film explores the concept of women being helpless prey while simply just existing. Powerful and extremely raw, over 100 women took part in the film.
MEAWW caught up with Vasic about the film, feminism and not having more women be a part of the silent protest that was 'Prey'.
Born in a small town, near an even smaller village, in a country called Yugoslavia that doesn't exist anymore, Vasic read and researched relentlessly for the short to become a reality. But, the concept was born when he realized just how common stalking was. "A few years ago I heard some stories from a female friend about how she had been followed on the street many times, and then I thought about how would it be to stalk the stalker and make them understand and feel the same fear they cause in others," he told us.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview.
Were you ever afraid of the word "feminism"? Why was it so important to you, personally to tell this story?
I don’t remember how old I was when I heard of “feminism”, but I do remember I wasn’t afraid of it, and actually glad to hear that it exists because of what it stands for. At the same time, I was also not glad to hear that it exists, because it means that some things are not equal and fair. And after hearing about street harassment for the first time in my life from my mother and later from many other women, I very soon realized that it is a serious issue in our society. Years later, as a filmmaker, it felt right and important to create something that will raise awareness of street harassment.
Why did you pick this subject for the short, speaking strictly professionally? '8', your previous critically acclaimed short was so different than 'Prey'.
A few years ago I heard some stories from a female friend about how she had been followed on the street many times, and then I thought about how would it be to stalk the stalker and make them understand and feel the same fear they cause in others. And that’s how the idea for the short was born. “8” was a war genre film, but like “Prey” it shows the violent side of masculinity.
Tell us about the type of research that went into the concept?
I read many websites on street harassment, looked through many statistics, and was horrified to find that this issue is an everyday issue in every country on our planet, unfortunately. And I was encouraged to discover that there are many associations, movements, artists and colleagues that try to raise awareness of the issue and do something about it.
The film itself is made so beautifully but is there anything you'd like to change about it now?
Thank you. I only wish we had more women as extras, and maybe one more night of filming, so that we could do a few more shots including many more women.
What was your greatest challenge when it came to making Prey?
It was time. We had on average two takes per shot, and only about five hours during each of the three nights of filming on streets where we had to constantly block cars and pedestrians. All the rest was smooth because of our very dedicated and patient cast and crew.
Tell us about your journey with filmmaking - where did the story start?
I started studying engineering at university in Serbia, but quit, and moved to Paris to study film instead. I graduated from film school in 2007 and since then I've been writing and directing short films and music videos, and hope to direct feature films soon.
Who are your greatest influences when it comes to life and filmmaking?
In life, my parents, my sister and my now invisible grandparents, and also a few close friends. And in filmmaking, Kubrick, Tarkovsky, Leone, Forman, Kurosawa and a few other artists.
What can we expect from you in the future? Any projects you'd like to talk about?
There are two shorts which I hope to direct soon, both are dramas. Besides that, I keep reaching out to agents and producers and presenting feature scripts and treatments.
Watch the film below:
"Prey" (“La Proie”) from Aćim Vasić on Vimeo.