Feature film, in development
A seemingly boring vacation with two old ladies turns into a life changing experience for 11 year old Sofia as she kisses a boy, reunites with estranged family and faces mortality on an idyllic island in the Mediterranean.
Writer: Ljubica Luković
Producers: Maja Popović, Milan Stojanović
Based on the book by Jasminka Petrović
Original title: Leto kada sam naučila da letim
Genre: Youth, Family
Developed through Film Teep 2016
Supported by Film Center Serbia (script development)
Sofia, a spirited but timid 11 year old girl dead set on having her first kiss this summer is forced to spend the vacation with her overbearing grandmother Maria on an island in Croatia. Time has stopped in the dilapidated family house, so Sofia fends off devastating monotony by escaping in her quirky daydreams. The only highlight for Sofia is her warmhearted great aunt Luce. On the other hand, grandma Maria is overjoyed to be back in her hometown after a 25 year absence she spent living in Serbia.
After overcoming her initially overwhelming boredom Sofia starts to enjoy her time on the island and learns there’s more to the seemingly dull old ladies. Sofia tries to create her ideal summer experience, but at the same time attempts to push her grandmother into overcoming a wedge in their family caused by a long running feud. She’s jolted out of her carefree vacation when Luce falls ill and has to be taken to a hospital, leaving Sofia in the hands of her great uncle and the family she didn’t even know existed.
Sofia finally has the summer she dreamed of when she befriends her two young cousins and experiences the much awaited first kiss. But reality deals a hard blow on her when Luce dies. In the wake of tragedy, family grudges are finally dropped as Maria reconciles with her brother and Sofia vows not to let anything break her new found family again. Sofia and Maria return home, both a bit older, one painful secret less, and one family more.
“With a clearly defined genre and style, and a strong signature of the author, this adaptation of Jasminka Petrovic’s novel possesses all the qualities of an exceptional family film as well as for children. At the same time the treatment is extremely touching as well as bizarrely humorous, told in a modern cinematic language that is close to young generations growing up in the digital age, with strong characters that linger in our memory long after reading. This is a story about growing up, about family, about the past and the future, as well as the power of forgiveness. Leaning on a rich tradition of Yugoslav “youth” film, the treatment for How I Learned to Fly not only manages to reach the expected goals, but fully exceeds them.”
Film Center Serbia selection committee