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Archival Film Shootings of Viba Film 1967-1975

Archival records of the late director Milan Ljubić, which were transferred into the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia in 2018, contains a lot of material that refers to the realisation of the so-called “Chronicles". These are archival film shootings of individual Slovenian workers, important for their role in cultural and public life of that time. Also preserved are separate notes of Milan Ljubić, who was the organizing producer of Chronicles between 1969 and 1975.

Records by Milan Ljubić: Chronicle 1969, p. 1. SI AS 2192, Ljubić Milan, box 11. | Author Arhiv Republike Slovenije

Records by Milan Ljubić: Chronicle 1969 (Anton Ingolič)

By the end of the 1950s, systematic so-called archival film shootings of individual Slovenian workers, important for their role in cultural and public life of that time, began to take place upon the initiative of Slovenian filmmakers and the Republic Secretariat for Education and Culture. From 1975 on, modest, yet regular, public funds were being set aside particularly for this purpose. The shootings were incorporated into the production of a film company Viba Film Ljubljana, founded in 1956. The purpose of such film shootings was to create film recordings in the form of working tapes, negatives, non-editorial copies, later also sound magnetic tapes, which would all be available if eventually needed in film or television production. Informally titled “Chronicle”, the majority of this material was never made public. Since most of the people that were being interviewed and portrayed in such films were representatives of older generation, film crew sometimes shared a joke when leaving for the shooting, saying “Are we going to measure the coffin again”. In nearly two decades, more than a hundred such film recordings were created, all of them extremely valuable source of research. Most of them are kept by the Slovenian Film Archives at the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia. Some of them are still in their original form of working tapes and will need to be digitised so as to prevent them from further deterioration.

Film recordings from 1958 to 1968 are characteristically shot on 35 mm black-and-white film tape, mostly with no sound. Later they were also accompanied by a sound recording on a 17.5 magnetic tape. Although initially short, only two to three minutes long, the films got longer after 1969 and lasted from five to ten minutes, but their number dropped. For the interviews with some of the Slovenian painters, colour technique was used.  

Filmmakers tried to portray and capture on film the image of a person that was being interviewed as authentically as they could. The shooting usually took place at that person’s home, his familiar surroundings or his workplace (at the studio, theatre, etc.). The films sometimes also included his or her friends or relatives, which from researcher’s point of view is very valuable information.

The film crew, led by organizing producer, was small. It usually consisted only of cameraman and sound director, who themselves had to undertake additional tasks, such as the setting of lights or arranging a stage set. Still, the desired goal always seems to have been achieved.  Among cameramen we often come upon the name of Ivan Marinček, as well as Rudi Vavpotič, Mile de Gleria, Veko Kokalj, Jure Pervanje and others. The two organizing producers who have left an indelible mark on the making of “Chronicle” were Ernest Adamič, who was the organizing producer between 1959 and 1962, and the film director Milan Ljubić, who worked on “Chronicles” from 1969 to 1975.

Archival records of the late director Milan Ljubić, which were transferred into the Archives of RS in 2018, contain a lot of material that refers to the realisation of “Chronicles”. Included here are various reports, accounts, list of suggested candidates for interviewees and correspondence with them, list of technical equipment used, and list of creators. Also preserved are separate records of Milan Ljubić. For individual Chronicles he transcribed the spoken part of the film from the soundtrack; this part of recording is always in blue, and in red he added his notes about the film shooting: the place, time, participants, technical data about the shooting, information about the person that was being portrayed, and sometimes also his observations about that person’s behaviour during shooting. The preserved written material is an excellent addition to the insight into creating film archival material.

Tatjana Rezec Stibilj

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