b. December 17, 1981, Srebrenica, Bosnia.
Saidin Salkic was born in Srebrenica, Bosnia, the town of the greatest genocide in Europe since WWII.
This marks his first film: Karasevdah; Srebrenica Blues (44 mins) which is “a deep, poetic meditation on the nature of suffering and the possibility of reconciliation”. The film was launched by Marcia Langton in 2007 and co-produced by Paul Komesaroff and the Global Reconciliation Network based in Melbourne, Australia. Since then Karasevdah has gone on to screen in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Gratz, Cork, etc..
It has been curated by Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and in 2014 it closed Module of Memory, the art and film program of the largest theatre festival in South-East Europe, MESS.
In 2010 with the help of Tracey Moffat and Marcia Langton who collaboratively organised a fundraiser for his next film, by first and only time ever screening all the video works of Tracey Moffat, Saidin created his second film: Konvent (54 mins) which is highly praised by Bill Mousoulis who put it on the list of top 50 Australian independent films, on the Melbourne Independent Filmmakers website. The Irish critic and film maker Maximilian Le Cain wrote on Konvent: ‘With his 2010 masterpiece Konvent, Saidin Salkic created what is perhaps cinema’s most intense anatomy of sheer presence,”
Saidin Salkic (Sai Sal, Mido) is also the author of two books of lyrical prose and poetry: July (2004) and Bosnian Blizzard (2013), both published in the Bosnian language. He is also a prolific musician and a painter with 3 substantial exhibitions of art held in 2014-15-16, Mido from the Midst, Migration; Paintings off the Wall and Interdependence. Having started painting only in 2011/12 upon finding out of becoming a father, Salkic’s donated painting to Marcon Youth Health foundation from the Day in the Sun series in 2015 sold for two thousand dollars. Saidin has been featured in the many media outlets across the world, including multiple features on Ausralian SBS World News and CNN Balkans.
In 2013 Saidin achieved a further notoriety in the South-East Europe by suggestion and invention of the concept of dehumanized, neo democratic electronic government where people’s votes would simply be counted by machines and their decisions put to practice directly, without the further “necessity” of one “supreme” being, a leader, but to attempt to spread the responsibility to all individuals, and finally give them a vote in the 1% own it all society.
Saidin has been a witness at the Hague War Crimes tribunal and has worked with extensive number of international and local organisations, including United Nations, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Monash University, Deakin University, RMIT University, Victoria University. As first ever exchanged student between Victoria University and Sarajevo University in 2005/6 Saidin attended Academy of Dramatic Arts in Sarajevo and is a winner of Bosnian World Diaspora prize in 2007 for his first film Karasevdah; Srebrenica Blues.
Being almost 6 years in the making and produced and filmed by John Cumming, Saidin made his third film, Manifesto of a Defeated Poet.(64 mins) The film was finalized in the late 2016.
In 2017 Saidin created two new films, Waiting for Sevdah (40 mins) and Robbery of a Truffle Truck (33 mins).
In 2018 Saidin completed two more films, The Arrival of a Phoenix (40 mins) and Silence's Crescendo (40 mins), which both screened at the 2018 Adelaide Film Festival.
In 2019, he completed three further films – The Shocking (27 mins), Trembling (24 mins) and Swan Lake and the Atomic Bomb (23 mins).
Currently, in 2020-2021, he is getting even more prolific: there is a feature-length documentary with John Flaus called The Conversation (72 mins) and four more stylised B&W experimental films, That Mist in our Eyes (12 mins), The Shells Exploding Gently (44 mins), The Human (48 mins) and The Subconsciousness (41 mins). A further film featuring John Flaus has been completed in 2021, The Last Days of Loneliness (51 mins).
He is the father of a daughter named Sevdah Salkic and lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.
To be able to capture a subjective impression of the flow of time and the texture of space is one of cinema’s most specific, if under-used, gifts.
Manifesto of a Defeated Poet
If the anecdotal has become cinema’s main subject, it’s perhaps partly because it’s so fiendishly difficult to embrace this most apparently simple capacity of the medium and harness it to the unadorned rendition of a truly personal sense of time passing and space inhabited.
Only a few rare filmmakers, including Jean-Claude Rousseau, Chantal Akerman and Rouzbeh Rashidi, have achieved this and, in so doing, have given audiences access to a world that is, in its simplicity, utterly mysterious. They have shared their immediate perception of the details of life, solitary observations which have granted viewers the uncanny privilege of experiencing as another human being, not a vicarious fictional construct but a private individual.
Saidin Salkic is another name to add to this small but priceless list of artists.
- Maximilian Le Cain, Close Watch (see link below).
The aim is evolving the intimacy of the place from which the cinema is made and eliminating the representation, sensationalism and other killers of art.
- Saidin Salkic, March 2014.
Waiting for Sevdah (2017, 40 mins)
Waiting for Sevdah
After the ambitious, grand-scaled Manifesto of a Defeated Poet, which has its beauty but also its flaws, Saidin Salkic’s new film Waiting for Sevdah is such a pure delight that it must rank with his 2nd film Konvent as one of Australia’s best films from the past 10 years.
Salkic is no ordinary Australian filmmaker of course – especially since he has come from a different culture. But he now sits within the ranks of the great Australian underground filmmakers currently working, such as Mike Retter, Mark La Rosa, Richard Tuohy, David King, a small list of active filmmakers considering Australia’s rich heritage of indie/experimental/underground filmmakers.
Waiting for Sevdah was shot and edited quickly, as a catharsis for Salkic, and I believe its strength lies in its simplicity and intuitive expression. Skirting modes such as the silent film, surrealist film, and experimental film, Salkic utilises a simple narrative framework (a man is waiting for someone) and fills it with such primal joy, and primal anguish, that you leave the film awe-struck at the transcendental effects it produces with such minimal means. It’s the “less is more” school of filmmaking, but sometimes that school can indeed produce “less is actually still less” films.
Waiting for Sevdah
You see, you can have landscape and place (with its alienation, or safety, etc.), and that’s fine, but when you can find, and push to their extremes, human personalities and their emotions, then you’re onto something. So we have Salkic himself as a presence, in his art-dandy outfit. But his face explodes with unbridled emotion, as the black-wearing artist meets … a young girl, his daughter, who is like any other young girl, full of life and love, for her father.
In this empty suburban context, Salkic lays a cinematic spell, as we see stillness intersect with movement, the dormant world with human agency, waiting with rapture, and life with death ultimately. In the end, Sevdah leaves, and Salkic is left pondering – “There goes another beautiful day in the suburbs, but I’m afraid I’m not as young as I was … yesterday”. The joke gives way, and we realise that each day is precious, each moment that we interact with someone and take joy in them is ephemeral yet real, very real, and you have to take that moment. It’s what we take with us to our grave, after all. Salkic has captured this on film.
– Bill Mousoulis, May 2017.
The Arrival of a Phoenix (2018, 40 mins)
The Arrival of a Phoenix is dazzling in its aesthetics, but
also transcendental in its spirituality. Achieving these two things concurrently is no mean feat.
The Arrival of a Phoenix
It’s like an
alternate version of his film from last year, Waiting for Sevdah, which is also about
himself and his daughter (Sevdah).But whereas the earlier film was local,
specific, a microcosmic experience let’s say, The Arrival of a Phoenix is grand, eternal, quite clearly
macrocosmic.One film is set over an
afternoon, the other over several lifetimes.But both films portray the same thing: how the arrival of a child in one’s
life can cause astonishment and renewal, and even (to some extent) wipe out the
tragedy of something like the early death of a parent (which Salkic experienced with his father, thanks to the Bosnian
its narrative and aesthetics, we see several movements in the film:the arrival (through the air, like an angel) of
the father – into life, into Australia – and then we see his grounding and
sorrow, and even a bit of his darkness, and then there is the water, the great
bringer of life, and the daughter appearing – the ultimate “new arrival”.
It’s a neat
structure.The film is resolutely experimental,
with abstract touches, but totally accessible in its narrative and symbolism.As such, it’s reminiscent of all those
experimental works we have seen from Stan Brakhage and David Perry and others, where the filmmaker takes an event, just a simple
event even, and then makes it cinematic and glorious, filming every little
detail, or lingering over certain moments, etc.
The Arrival of a Phoenix
Salkic presents a quite constant soundtrack, ethereal tinkling bells, and his voice
over, and the occasional other sound, and duly mesmerizes us of course!It’s a beautiful film to listen to, and the
lightness of the sounds works well with all the images.Salkic is
experimenting more than usual now with the imagery.The last few films are hand-held and he is
applying certain shimmering effects to the shots, and interesting filters.This produces tremulous emotion, in the
characters, and us.The key shot (in the
sublime last 10 minutes of the film) is a shot of Sevdah’s dress blowing in the wind, at the beach, and it is a truly wonderful and
mystical shot.The film shoots off into
the eternal with this shot.
The film is
not perfect though.Salkic still seems to misjudge some shots, especially of himself in certain poses.The symbolism of these
shots sits heavy sometimes.
But they don’t
mar the film.The film is still a
glorious work, and Salkic at the moment is very
productive, clearly one of Australia’s best filmmakers currently.
– Bill Mousoulis, March 2018.
Karasevdah; Srebrenica Blues (2007, 44 mins, digital video)
Konvent (2010, 54 mins, digital video)
Manifesto of a Defeated Poet (2016, 64 mins, digital video)
Waiting for Sevdah (2017, 40 mins, digital video)
Robbery of a Truffle Truck (2017, 33 mins, digital video)
The Arrival of a Phoenix (2018, 40 mins, digital video)
Silence's Crescendo (2018, 40 mins, digital video)
The Shocking (2019, 27 mins, digital video)
Trembling (2019, 24 mins, digital video)
Swan Lake and the Atomic Bomb (2019, 23 mins, digital video)
The Conversation (2020, 72 mins, digital video)
That Mist in our Eyes (2020, 12 mins, digital video)
The Shells Exploding Gently (2020, 44 mins, digital video)
The Human (2020, 48 mins, digital video)
The Subconsciousness (2020, 41 mins, digital video)
The Last Days of Loneliness (2021, 51 mins, digital video)