Ljubljana – As Slovenia is gearing up for its guest appearance at the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair, the Culture Ministry wanted to have a mini series made based on Drago Jančar’s award-winning novel I Saw Her That Night. But Jančar has asked the ministry to withdraw the EUR 2 million call, which the ministry has done.
The ministry said in a written statement on Monday evening that the tender was meant to promote Jančar as Slovenia’s main author to be featured at the Frankfurt fair as well as Slovenian cultural creativity. It regretted his decision, but said it respected it.
The novel, published in 2010, brings Jančar’s take on the tragic WWII and post-war events which he portrayed through a story about Veronika, a young wife of a well-known industrialist.
The main character is based on the story of Ksenija Hribar, a resident of Strmol Mansion who was executed by Partisans together with her husband Rado Hribar in 1944.
The book has been widely translated and has won Jančar several awards at home and abroad, including two Kresniks, one of the most prestigious Slovenian literary awards.
Jančar told Tuesday’s edition of the newspaper Delo that while “I was happy the ministry decided to finance a series based on my novel”, he also thought “the time is not right for such a call and any discussion on a film series”.
While he had been aware of the ministry’s plan for a series, he had not been aware of the timing of the call, he explained.
Jančar said that a theatre production based on his novel will soon premiere at the Maribor national theatre, directed by Janez Pipan. “Let’s see how this sensitive topic is received. In short, I don’t want to occupy myself with a film or series for now.”
The Slovenian Film Centre meanwhile welcomed the call, telling the STA that they had been pushing for more funds for film and audio-visual production for years. “We welcome any additional investment in this field.”