Director, producer and former TV-reporter Igor Mirković is one of the most familiar faces of Croatian cinema today.
As one of the founders of Motovun Film Festival and the author of popular documentary films (Orbanići Unplugged (1998.), New, New Time (with Rajko Grlić, 2001.), Lucky Kid (2003.)), as well as feature film Night Boats (2012.) and three shorts, Igor Mirković is also one of the people most significant for the flourishing of domestic film industry and its return to the public, especially among the younger generation. He was born in Zagreb in 1965, where he graduated politics at the Faculty of Political Sciences. Since 1989 he had worked as a TV-reporter and editor for the shows In the Search Of, Public Stuff, 007 and From 5 to 12, both on Croatian National Television and in the independent production. From to 1994 to 1996 he worked for CNN’s news show World Report, receiving many awards for his film and television work so far.
Igor Mirković is in the ‘hood since always, so we readily grabbed him to find out his own and neighborhood secrets…
BK: Why do you live precisely here, in Martićeva? Was it a conscious choice or a result from the set of circumstances?
Igor Mirković: When I was young, if someone told me I would live in Martićeva one day, I would consider it ironic, since we bypassed the street during those years. It had a reputation of a place where you could get beaten up, because the street was a territory of a gang called Martićevci. You see, I’ve been living in the ‘hood since I was born — I’ve spent my whole life on a minute’s walk from The Mosque (Džamija). My family has changed four apartments and every time we would settle in the neighborhood again. Finally, we finished up exactly in Martićeva by chance. We have seized a good opportunity and decided without much thinking, believing the destiny arranged to keep us here.
BK: What’s so specific about this neighborhood? What are its distinct features?
IM: If you ask me, the center of the city lasts until you rech Smičiklasova Street — east of it spreads peaceful and residential Zagreb. I love this borderline position of Martićeva very much: I can reach The Main Square by ten-minute walk and I still don’t live in the center, but in the cozy street through which automobiles don’t drive during the night. Moreover, many of my favorite people live in the ‘hood, so it seems sometimes that we have all moved here on purpose. When I want to boast myself in front of friends and relatives, I talk about how I live in the building designed by Stjepan Planić and from the kitchen I can see Vitić’s skyscraper. Of course, I’m delighted about its reconstruction, because my view will become even more valuable!
BK: How has the ‘hood influenced your private and professional life?
IM: I am the product of the streets of Zagreb one hundred per cent — I’ve been hanging around the center my whole life, and when I moved in Martićeva I jumped at the opportunity to really be what I truly am, to live in the space which has shaped me and which is mine. Since my professional life is often stressful and full of travelling, this is my safe haven. Around here I can go to the store wearing beach sandals and my friends leave the stuff for me at the local bartender’s.
BK: What are your daily neighborhood rituals and which places do you hold in high regard?
IM: Actually, I’m a man of a few rituals. During early spring and summer, the gang of us neighbors gathers in the restaurant Golden Shell (Zlatna školjka), when it becomes our Cheers bar. I also like it that they consider me a regular guest At Šime’s. I watch football matches at Remy in Tomašićeva Street and I’m a regular costumer on the Kvatrić market, I consider it my own and know no other. In every other aspect of daily life I take advantage of the city’s vicinity, bicycling from my home to The Flower Square or anywhere else I need to go.
BK: What is a direction the development of the neighborhood should take? What kind of content is necessary around here?
IM: Martićeva has liven up a lot since I’ve been living here. It was full of hair salons before, but not much of anything else. Today we have several good restaurants and café bars around here, a superb bookstore, a quality grocery shop, the markets and supermarkets are a few steps away, we became a top destination for bicycle repairment. I would only love if cyclists and walkers didn’t hate each other — they should have enough space not to bump into each other. Of course, I’m aware that it’s not sole problem of our street, but a much broader issue.
BK: If you had to describe your relationship with the ‘hood in only one short sentence, what would it be?
IM: I don’t ever wanna leave this place.