Sara Kern’s ‘Moja Vesna’ kicks off in Melbourne

'Moja Vesna'.

Filming is underway in Melbourne on writer-director Sara Kern’s debut feature Moja Vesna, in what is the first-ever Slovenian-Australian co-production.

The story follows ten-year-old Mona who, after the sudden death of her mother, becomes the unexpected grown-up of her immigrant family in suburban Melbourne, seeking to reconcile her troubled, pregnant older sister, Vesna, and disconsolate father, Milos.

Committed to casting the lead role of Moja from within the Slovenian-Australian community, in Sweetshop & Green engaged casting director Fiona Dann (Catapult Casting) in December to begin the extensive search.

Non-professional actor Loti Kovacic will play the role of Moja after being selected via a grassroots call-out to the Slovenian community throughout Australia.

The cast also includes Mackenzie Mazur as Vesna and Slovenian actor Gregor Baković as Milos, with Flora Feldman taking on the role of Moja’s best friend, Danger, and Claudia Karvan playing her mother, Miranda.

Moja Vesna will be produced by Gal Greenspan and Sharlene George of Sweetshop & Green and Rok Biček, of Cvinger Film.

The production team includes Slovenian cinematographer Lev Predan Kowarski, who has travelled to Australia for the shoot, line producer Rachel Forbes, production manager Ira Cecic, first AD Andy Pante, production designer Maddison Haywood, and costume designer Ellen Stanistreet.

Sara Kern.

Shooting will take place around the suburbs of Sunshine North, St Albans, Collingwood and Kew.

Screen Australia has led the investment, in association with the Slovenian Film Centre. There has also been support from Film Victoria and Radio Television Slovenija (RTV), with development funding via the Torino Film Lab and Cannes Cinéfondation Residence.

Writer/director Sara Kern’s previous work includes 2016 short, Good Luck, Orlo!, which premiered at the 73rd Venice Film Festival and went on to screen at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Chicago IFF, and Seattle IFF.

Sweetshop & Green co-managing director Gal Greenspan described her as a “very talented and unique” filmmaker.

“Over the last few years, she has built an incredible world through the script, team, and cast she’s brought together for Moja Vesna.

“We look forward to sharing her first feature with audiences in 2022.”

Cvinger Film co-founder Rok Biček paid tribute to his Australian and Slovenian colleagues for bringing the co-production to life in Melbourne.

“It will be fascinating to see Director Sara Kern and Slovenian cinematographer Lev Predan Kowarski teaming up together again to work their magic and create another gem in Australia,” he said.