Sonja is a poetic portrayal of the story of the sightless potter Sona Zeliskova, who despite adverse fate found her life journey in art and ceramics The film experiments with audio-visual components to recount Sona's unique story. Combining a documentary, narrative and poetic approach, this short film attempts to denounce the real life story via poetic film language.
Director Maroš Milčík and DOP Gašper Šnuder used special infrared technology, in order to achieve a surrealistic black-and-white visual. The unique picture thus emerged purely in-camera without the use of post-production.
Sona carries an one-of-a-kind story of a lifetime struggle, overcoming obstacles and love for art. At the age of 13, she was diagnosed with diabetes. At 26, right by the birth of her son, she completely lost her sight. At age of 39, nevertheless, she has found her life purpose and passion in ceramics and became a successful artist. Today, Sona runs ceramics courses, lectures at conferences and has become a life inspiration for others.
By the end of 2016, I was looking for inspirational stories by craftsmen and artists from Slovakia to create a documentary series of short films. My friend Juraj Vozar told me a story about Sona, who immediately grabbed my heart. Our team has not managed to get funding to shoot the original documentary series, but I did not want Sona’s story to remain unspoken.
After several interviews with Sona, I decided to shoot the story in a short form and in my own aproach.The visual approach was chosen and created during endless discussions between me and the cameraman Gašper Šnuderl, at the end of which we came to the conclusion that we will shoot some parts of the film with special infrared technology.
In order to build this unique visual approach, I have spent a lot of free time touring the outdoor locations across Slovakia. Since infrared technology is specific and I did not have the opportunity to see locations through infrared technology during the scouting tours, I decided to choose the surroundings of my hometown of Banská Bystrica in Slovakia, where I have the best knowledge of locations.
The resulting image in the “infrared world” directly depends on the intensity of the sun's radiation, so it has to be improvised to appropriate locations, as the weather changed. Only thanks to the persistence and willingness of our great crew, the story was able to be shot in 3 days.