Branka Bogdanov

'We're trying to be purposely eclectic,' Branka Bogdanov, director of film and video, says of the museum's approach.

When the history of Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art is written, let the record show that at last Sunday's opening of the museum's splashy new waterside home, the first event in the fabulous 325-seat theater was a program of shorts by New England filmmakers.

And the first film in that first program? Karen Aqua and Joanna Priestley's six-minute animated "Andaluz," in which swirling green leaves turn into licks of red fire and Spanish mosaic tiles segue into flowers and then a flamenco dancer's dress.

Also included in the well-received 30-minute inaugural event were animated, live action, and experimental films by Nina Yuen, Chip Moore, Joe Gibbons, Robert Arnold, Gina Kamentsky, Suara Welitoff, and Louise Bourque.

Arnold's "Echolalia" got the biggest applause from the full house. The two-and-a-half minute film is a collection of clips of politicians ranging from President George W. Bush to Senator Ted Kennedy saying the phrases "weapons of mass destruction," "smoking gun," and "terrorist" over and over (Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary describes echolalia as "the often pathological repetition of what is said by other people as if echoing them").

Branka Bogdanov, who has worked at the ICA for 17 years and is its director of film and video, says that most of the filmmakers in the debut program have been presented at the ICA in the last two years.

"We wanted to show that this is a new beginning, but it's also about continuity," she says. "We have a new building, but it's also a continuation of everything that was good before."

The ICA will present 35 to 40 film screenings next year, says Bogdanov. Her plans include retrospectives and visits by filmmakers Jim Jarmusch and the Brothers Quay (identical twins Stephen and Timothy); surveys of films from geographic regions such as Yugoslavia and Vietnam; screenings of new independent cinema, works by "young upstarts," and "best of the best" commercial films; and collaborations with the Harvard Film Archive, Independent Film Festival of Boston, Boston Jewish Film Festival, and Balagan experimental film series, among others. "We're trying to be purposely eclectic," Bogdanov says.

Film programming starts in earnest on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. with "Videodrome," a 1983 sci-fi film by David Cronenberg. It is the first of a series that will play throughout January in conjunction with the ICA's art exhibition "Super Vision." The other films are Guillermo del Toro's new fantastical and brutal "Pan's Labyrinth," Matthew Barney's "Cremaster 5," and old favorites "The Matrix," "Being John Malkovich," and "Superman" (the 1978 Christopher Reeve version). The film schedule is online at and lists events through May 2007.

The new theater has three times as many seats as the old ICA's, and is fully equipped with two 35mm projectors and a state-of-the-art digital projection system. The space is also designed for live music, theater, and lecture events.

This is a heady time for Bogdanov. A film director from Belgrade, she stumbled into working for the ICA by accident. "In 1989, one of my films was screened at the festival in Los Angeles, and I was invited by David Ross, who was then director of the ICA, to visit and talk about Eastern European women filmmakers," Bogdanov says. She wasn't living in the United States, but Ross offered her a one-year position as the ICA's film and video curator, Bogdanov says. "I came on a Friday, and started to work at the ICA the next Monday. It's really amazing, but that's the story. And now I have one of the nicest cultural jobs you can imagine in the world."

Bogdanov has continued creating her own work. She produced the "Making of the ICA" film that shows, in time lapse, the new building going up, and short films about visual artists Nan Goldin, Laylah Ali, and Thomas Hirschhorn, whose work has come to the museum in the past. (Each of those artists is represented in the ICA's new permanent collection.) The films can be viewed on any of the 18 computers in the ICA's Mediatheque room.

As for whether the ICA will begin acquiring films to add to its permanent collection, the answer, is yes -- at some point. "Once things calm down, purchasing some of the video work or film should be on our plate," Bogdanov says. "For now, we don't have these funds. But we are thinking about it. Or," she adds with a laugh, "at least I'm thinking about it."

CONVERSATION WITH:A panel discussion will introduce a screening of "Longtime Companion" tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the Coolidge Corner Theater. The 1990 film, starring Campbell Scott, Bruce Davison, and Mary-Louise Parker, was one of the earliest movies about the AIDS epidemic. The panelists are Kenneth Mayer, a professor of medicine and community health at Brown University's School of Medicine; Joe Elia, editor at the Massachusetts Medical Society's daily news service "Physician's First Watch"; and Matt Foley, associate director of client services at the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. The evening is co-presented by AIDS Action and Fenway Community Health (617-734-2500 and

SCREENINGS OF NOTE: Also tomorrow, an evening of three modern silent films including Canadian director Guy Maddin's 2003 horror film "Cowards Bend the Knee," beginning at 7 p.m. at the Harvard Film Archive (617-495-4700 and ) . . . . Paul Yule's 2005 documentary "The Photographer, His Wife, Her Lover," about art and adultery, with steam train photographer O. Winston Link at its center, Thursday at 2:30 p.m., Friday at 5:15 p.m., and Saturday at 3:45 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts (617-267-9300 and ) . . . . Also at the MFA, Marcel Carné's 1945 "Children of Paradise," Friday at 7 p.m. and additional times through Jan. 7. . . . And Saturday and next Sunday, "The Wizard of Oz," at the Coolidge.

Leslie Brokaw can be reached at



Na 39 Svetskom filmskom Festivalu u Hjustonu, u zvanicnoj selekciji, Branka Bogdanov je primila najvisu, Platinsku Nagradu za reziju dokumentarnog filma “Utopia, Utopia:  Jedan Svet, Jedan Rat, Jedna Vojska, Jedna Odeca”.  


Film je snimljen u Parizu, u studiju Thomasa Hirshorna  (Thomas Hirschhorn), jedne od najprovoktavnijih i najzanimljivijih licnosti savremene umetnosti.   Njegove instalacije govore o politici, globalizaciji, pop-kulturi i filozofiji.  Film o ovom svajcarskom umetniku, koji zivi i radu u Parizu, svedoci o snazi umetnosti koja uspeva da prikaze tamne strane savremenog zivota, kao sto je rat, i istovremeno predstavljajuci alegoroijsko citanje ovog trenutka nase istorije.


Branka Bogdanov, reditelj, zivi u Bostonu i direktor je Fimskog i Video Odelenja u Muzeju Savremene Umetnosti.


From the Series    UTOPIA UTOPIA - ONE WORLD ONE WAR ONE ARMY ONE DRESS, Nomad vigil, 2003  work on paper, paper, prints, plastic foil, adhesive tape, marker, ballpoint pen, 50 x 60 cm


Iz nase arhive - maj 2002

Njen  film pozvan na festival u Montrealu

Dopisnik Boston Globa Cate McQuaid je objavila ovih dana veoma lep intervju sa Brankom Bogdanov, direktorom film i video produkcije (media director) na bostonskom Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). Pogledaj 

Branka i Dusko su nam bili u gostima prosle nedelje i druzili smo se u Barceloni obilazeci stari grad i tipicne katalanske restorane, puno pricali o Beogradu, Splitu, Bostonu, Barceloni, pa sam imao priliku da malo vise saznam i o njenom radu.

Onda sam pogledao web sajt njenog muzeja i pronasao kratki video klip (49 sekundi) o njenom poslednjem filmu o kineskom umetniku Chen Zhenu - mozete da ga pogledate ako kliknete na link koji prenosimo sa ICA sajta: 

Chen Zhen: Inner Body Landscapes
Friends and colleagues share their memories of Chen Zhen and his work in this excerpt from the ICA's new video about this internationally recognized artist.

Ovaj film "Chen Zhen: Inner Body Landscape" i njegov autor Branka Bogdanov su pozvani da ucestvuju na 21. Internacionalnom Festivalu Filmova o Umetnosti, (21 st Internatioinal Film Festival of Films on Art) koji ce se odrzati u Montrealu, od 13-22 Marta. To je veliko priznanje za Brankin rad pa pozivamo sve koji mogu da prisustvuju projkeciji u Montrealu da dodju na festival.

Videotaping art for art's sake


Branka Bogdanov filters ICA exhibits through a humane lens

By Cate McQuaid, Globe Correspondent  12/22/2002

Visual art doesn't smile for the camera.

Ask Branka Bogdanov, director of film and video at the Institute of Contemporary Art. In the 13 years since she came to the ICA from her native Yugoslavia, she has made 40 video documentaries about exhibitions here: light-footed, engaging videos that draw the viewers into the metaphors that power the art and let them get cozy with the artists.

Bogdanov says videotaping the art is a constant challenge. ''Art is not made for its cinematic values,'' she says. Then she smiles. As a videographer, Bogdanov thrives on challenges.

''To have the viewers see more than they can see in the gallery - it's an additional dimension you can only do with video,'' says Bogdanov, who is 56 but looks a decade younger. She lights up when she talks about her job: ''That's how I keep myself entertained.''

Sometimes, the artist as well as the art pose problems. Look at ''Chen Zhen: Inner Body Landscapes,'' the documentary that accompanies the show through Dec. 31. The challenge wasn't so much in showing the art as portraying the artist, who died in 2000 at 45. It became a personal mission for Bogdanov, who had met Chen when his work was included in the 1998 ICA exhibit ''The Quiet in the Land,'' a group show of work by artists made during a residency at a Shaker community in Maine.

''Because I came from Yugoslavia, a socialist country, and he came from China, we found many, many things in common,'' Bogdanov says. ''So we bonded. In his art, he crossed the boundaries of experience, his Western experience crossed with Eastern philosophy.''

Quiet, expert touches

To put Chen on video, the filmmaker conducted interviews. She culled film footage from China. In the documentary, she builds a palpable sense of the late artist's absence, even as she gives flesh to the metaphors of his work and lets his friends and family describe the great and generous heart that was lost when Chen died after a 20-year battle with blood disease. It isn't until well into the 20-minute video that Chen himself appears, at which point the viewer already misses him.

''Writing the script for this, I asked myself, `Should I start with him, or should I put that later?' Almost as if he isn't going to be on the tape at all,'' Bogdanov says. ''And then you show him.''

She pauses, pleased. ''You don't want to make another boring tape on art. You don't want only art historians and scholars. For that we have catalogs.''

These quiet, humane touches run through Bogdanov's work.

''There have been times when I've found Branka's documentaries more accomplished than the exhibitions themselves,'' says Boston area filmmaker and curator John Gianvito. ''As an artist, she takes the challenge of what could be a rudimentary educational sidebar to the exhibition, an audio visual guide, and uses it to be expressive as an artist herself and aligns it with the intentions of the artist on display. She does it expertly.''

Bogdanov engages the art she videotapes with deep questions and a sense of welcome. She sees contemporary artists as prophets and healers, here to take the heartbeat of our day and our culture and find the story in it.

''We need to listen to what artists say,'' says Bogdanov, chatting in a room beside the tiny theater at the ICA where her documentaries screen. ''They're talking about the concerns of our time. They make metaphors, and we need to decode what they say.''

A spell seems to drop over her, then she moves forward in her chair, speaking as if confidentially. ''Years ago, I encountered a music movement - Tropicalissimo in Brazil. It was rock and bossa nova, fused with avant-garde jazz. All this together! And Chen Zhen did the same. This crossing of boundaries is so important. When we listen and merge our experiences, it can only produce wonderful music and art.

''What,'' she then asks, ''can it do in a political situation?''

It's a loaded question. ''I'm more sensitive, coming from Yugoslavia,'' Bogdanov admits. ''The country that completely disintegrated for no good reason.''

From Belgrade to Boston

Bogdanov came to the US in 1989 at the invitation of the ICA's then-director, David Ross. She had been a senior producer at the television station in Belgrade. She and her 13-year-old son, Boryan Jovanovic, arrived well before the most recent troubles tore her country apart. She and her husband and compatriot, David Mladinov, whom she had known since her student days but married here in Boston, watched from afar as their homeland was bombed.

''It was difficult to be here. I didn't think NATO and the US did the just thing, bombarding Yugoslavia. I demonstrated with my fellow countrymen here. I was very disappointed. But you can say that in this country, and I appreciate this country because of that.''

Her in-laws came and stayed with Bogdanov and Mladinov during the war. ''My father-in-law was 80,'' she recalls. ''He said, `I lived 80 years in one town, but the countries changed around me.' He lived in Austria -Hungary, in Italy, in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, in a Nazi puppet state, in Yugoslavia, then Croatia. He stayed in one small town, but lived in six different countries.''

If this sense of flux is a geopolitical curse, it's also the grounding for great art - and film. Bogdanov often finds herself leapfrogging from one culture to another. She rolls her eyes, thinking about the Chen video.

''I had never thought I would edit in Chinese,'' she exclaims. ''We had the translation in English and tried to follow along. I've edited in Italian before, I know that a little. But in Chinese! My editor and I, we both fell in love with the Chinese language.''

Bogdanov felt it was important to interview Chen's wife and Chinese colleagues in their native tongue. ''I wanted their true experience on tape,'' she says.

One of her gifts as a documentary filmmaker comes across in conversation: She sets people at ease and lets them be themselves. ''I'm producer, director, and writer,'' Bogdanov says. ''But I don't hold the camera myself. It's important for me to focus on the subject. My job is to open up a person.''

Boston photographer Shellburne Thurber has appeared in three Bogdanov documentaries over the years.

''I know this as a photographer: If you've got the camera, you're in control,'' says Thurber. ''It's a huge responsibility. One feels taken care of by Branka. It's hard enough to be interviewed, it's a whole other thing when you're being filmed. You have to trust the person doing it.''

Thurber trusts Bogdanov. ''I've dealt with enough people around my work that my radar is out,'' she says. ''My work has been misread, and I've had to step in to take control. I feel completely relaxed around Branka. I've never felt I've had to require approval [of a Bogdanov documentary].''

These days, Bogdanov is at work on her biggest project yet: a documentary on the new ICA building on the waterfront, set to open in 2006. There, she'll oversee a new media gallery. Her son, now grown, has become a filmmaker as well.

''Boryan is interested in highly commercial films,'' she says. ''He's the second assistant director for Michael Bay's `Bad Boys II.'''

She laughs. ''The combination, isn't it wonderful? He's making `Bad Boys II,' and I'm making - in his view - obscure films about obscure artists.''

This story ran on page N8 of the Boston Globe on 12/22/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

A evo sta pisu o njoj na Artextu:  

Branka Bogdanov is a multi-award winning writer, producer and director of documentary, educational and feature films. Bogdanov first garnered international acclaim for her film and video work while working in her native Yugoslavia. Her devotion to the world of contemporary art led to the development of the ICA's in-house video production unit in 1989. Bogdanov has produced and directed nearly forty videos on artists and cultural issues, traveling to Italy, Prague, Mexico and numerous other site locations worldwide.

ARTEXT is the international distributor of the outstanding collection of videos on contemporary avant-garde art directed over the past 12 years by Branka Bogdanov for The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. For a full list of available videos with information on each work, please see our ICA Video Catalogue.

Ja sam samo brzo prebrojao na tom sajtu filmove koje je rezirala Branka i stigao do broja 33.

Cestitamo Branka!