Producer of new indie film tied to Cal Poly

November 23, 2012

By LISA RIZZO

A new independent film hoping to spark attention at film festivals around the world has roots in San Luis Obispo.

The producer of “Along the Roadside,” which just completed post production after summer shooting, is 2005 Cal Poly international business graduate and former basketball star Vladimir Lisinac, 31.

“I was born to do this,” Lisinac says. “Filming is the ultimate team art, if there is such a thing. As much as I loved playing basketball and being a part of a sports team, filmmaking brings out the good, the bad, and the ugly all out of you.

“You have to fight for every second of the day for a winning shot, angle, ray of light, and performance.”

Lisinac co-founded Metakwon Filmworks, the film’s production company, in 2007 with his brother and business partner Zoran Lisinac of Los Angeles who also serves as the director and screenwriter of the indie film.

Their first motion picture, a comedic romance, is about two young people from opposing parts of the world who are on even more starkly different paths mentally and emotionally. Varnie learns his girlfriend is pregnant while Nena, naive and jovial, arrives in America starstruck to see her favorite band perform.

The lives of strangers Nena and Varnie randomly intersect and they ironically wind up on the same journey–one that becomes filled with humorous culture clashes and a sincere path to self discovery all on a road trip to a California music festival.

“Along the Roadside” features international stars: Faust nominee and German actress Angelina Haentsch, Lazar Ristovski, lead from Palme d’Or winning “Underground.” Hollywood stars Michael Madsen, Craig Collins, and Alejandro Patino also play roles.

Metakwon paired mainstream actors with You Tube talent such as the film’s male lead, Iman Crosson, also known as “Alphacat” online, who similarly has the disposition of a young Denzel Washington.

Crosson’s on-screen character, Varnie, was named after one of Vladimir’s former Cal Poly basketball teammates. Vladimir also credits Cal Poly and some notable professors for enhancing his story telling ability and English language development, referring to his college experience at the university as the “single educating force.”

The Lisinac brothers turned filmmakers immigrated from Serbia; Vladimir on full ride high school and college basketball scholarships, Zoran post graduation from Belgrade’s Danube Film Academy. They came at different times but with the same goal of pursuing their life long dream to enter the film industry.

Vladimir who unmistakably stands tall, 6 feet 9 inches to be exact, is proud and optimistic of his movie’s future and the prospect that he may be the tallest filmmaker in the world–likely but unconfirmed.

“With its story, original characters and all the humor, ‘Along the Roadside’ aims to become a great film people love–a film that’s memorable, that stays with you, moves you and ultimately inspires you, in some way,” he said.

Metakwon plans on entering “Along the Roadside” into all of the major film festivals including Sundance Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, Festival de Cannes, Toronto International Film Festival, and the Venice Festival.

Since completion of the film just weeks ago, the Lisinac brothers say they have already been accepted into the 40th Annual Belgrade International Film Festival planned for next February in Belgrade, Serbia.

The producer says he will also be submitting the motion picture to the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival by the end of the month for a hopeful screening before a live audience at his old stomping ground next March.

Filming of “Along the Roadside” took place throughout Los Angeles and other parts of California. Vladimir says he will always love the Central Coast, despite making his home in San Ramon, Calif. with his wife and two young children, hence why he included a scene and film shoot in Pismo Beach.

“Since our film is a Road Movie, our heroes drive (U.S. Highway)101 south through the Central Coast making a pit stop at the liquor store in Pismo Beach, where after the conversation about flip-flops, our female protagonist reveals to the male protagonist she is in fact color blind and that her vision is limited to only seeing shades of gray.”

“What color are your shoes?” asks Varnie.

“Gray,” Nena replies. “Like everything else.”

Unspoken but seen is the fact that Varnie is a black American man and Nena is fair and European. Their life circumstances are not atypical of their socioeconomic status, hence the inspiration for the screenplay.

“It is the blend of different cultures and perspectives that ‘Along the Roadside’ sprang from and as the world becomes more and more open, united, economically and culturally interconnected, the questions of, ‘How its residents relate to each other?’ and ‘How are they in touch with their environment?’ become instrumental in preserving our humanity, our truth and understanding which are essential to lead a meaningful life,” the filmmaker said.

Metakwon plans on a worldwide theatrical release in the summer of 2013 after the film has exhausted its welcome at the film festival circuit.

Meanwhile, the brothers are already at work on their second feature film produced by Metakwon, titled “Shadowplay.”

“With this film we hope to raise awareness of one of the most endangered animals in the world today,” Vladimir said.