34 | Dokumentarac » Documentary OUR B E L DOCS SE L ECT I ON Telenovela greyscale in colour Director Filip Martinović uses his documentary to address issues of identity that are faced by many diaspora Serbs and citizens of Serbian origin abroad, especially those who’ve experienced life both in and out of the country Martinović is also the main character of his documentary.The protagonist, who was born in Belgrade and grew up inBarcelona, wonderswhohe really is. His upbringing was additionally marked by the unbelievable popularity of Latin American soap operas in Serbia during the 1990s, the popular “Spanish series” thatmarked the way Serbs perceive Spaniards and Spain, often despite the reality of that country. In search for answers, together with Asha, an Ethiopian lady whose past is even more complicated than his, Filip embarks on a quest, through film and life, to find answers to this basic question of identity. His Telenovela greyscale in colour creation was screened at the 14th editionof the Belgrade International Documentary FilmFestival, Beldocs, andwe used the opportunity of that occasion to speakwithMartinović. For starters, where did everything start? “I was always intrigued by that phenomenon of Spanish soaps in our country. During the ‘90s, as a little Spaniard, I came to Serbia to visit relatives. I encountered people who’d learned Spanish by watching Latino soap operas. That was a culture shock for me. I’d come from Barcelona, from a society that differed drastically from the distorted image of Spanish culture that people fromBelgrade had. I started considering my personal motivation and why I would deal with this topic, and I realised that my questions of identity and nationality were becoming very interesting. I decided to combine those two themes – the Telenovela and the search for identity. That’s how the Telenovela greyscale in colour emerged.” The film isn’t directed in a classic documentary style, but rather has the spirit of a “mockumentary”, i.e., a combination of a classic documentary and a feature form. How much of the film is “directed” and how much is “real”? “I wanted to tell a real story, in which the real lives of the characters develop inmany ways within the film. I placed real people from my life in imaginary situations that could really happen. The visual narration of the film is striking, the great credit for which belongs to Marko Milovanović behind the camera.” Telenovelas serve, in a way, to connect the Serbian world with the Hispanic world. How strong and significant really is this connection for you, given that you grew up in Spain, while the bulk of these “Spanish series” actually come from Latin America? Did you want to use that irony in experiencing the “Spanish” identity, or is the linguistic identity nonetheless the decisive factor? “I’ve never watched Spanish series. I actually discovered them in Belgrade, when I came as a child to visit relatives. Back then, they represented something very traumatic for me. People mostly told me about how they adore Spain and the Spanish language, but it was difficult for me to grasp such a stereotypical and romanticised image of Spain and its culture. The film inevitably gained an ironic touch through the motif of Spanish soaps. I actually wanted to point out how that which links a person to a place is often more complex