Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pismo Timothyja Byforda: U Titovoj Jugoslaviji sam našao slobodu

Timothy Byford (25 July 1941 – 5 May 2014)

(Znali smo ga kao autora kultnih dječijih serija: Neven, Poletarac, Nedjeljni zabavnik, Tragom ptice Dodo, Babino unuče, Metla bez drške... Timothy John Byford rođen je na jugu Engleske. Došao je u Jugoslaviju 1972. godine kao mladi redatelj s ekipom BBC-ja da u koprodukciji s Televizijom Beograd napravi dječiju emisiju i - ostao tamo da živi. 
Serija Nedjeljni zabavnik za koju je bio redatelj i jedan od scenarista, snimljena je u produkciji TV Sarajevo. 
Prošle je godine Byford konačno dobio i nacionalnu penziju od Srbije, čiju je kulturu toliko zadužio.
S teškom bolešću borio se posljednjih devet godina. U početku je išao na hemoterapije, a kasnije je zavisio od lijekova koji sadrže morfij neophodnih pacijentima koji imaju jake bolove.
''Ako povremeno čujete vrisak sa Zvezdare, moguće je da sam to ja, jer zavisim od određenog lijeka protiv bola kojeg više nema u apotekama. Znam da nisam sam, ali volio bih da čujem za bilo kog političara koji je ostao bez lijeka od koga zavisi", objavio je prije godinu.)

Jasminka Griffin jedna je od mnogih osoba čije je djetinjstvo on obilježio. Jasminka je objavila kako je prije nekoliko godina pisala Byfordu povodom emisije u kojoj Đorđe Balašević pjeva o Titu. Učinilo joj se da je riječ o indoktrinaciji pa je odlučila da se obrati samom Byfordu koji joj je poslao sljedeći odgovor:
"Draga Jasminka,
Hvala ti na poslanom mailu. Drago mi je što si uživala ponovo gledajući Poletarca i drago mi je što imam priliku da odgovorim na tvoj upit o umjetničkim slobodama koje imaju scenaristi /tekstopisci.
Namjerno sam odabrao za objavljivanje prvu polovinu sedme epizode, jer se odnosi na predsjednika Tita. Kada sam pisao scenarij imao sam potpunu slobodu da pišem šta god sam želio i namjerno sam posvetio polovinu ovog programa čovjeku koga poštujem i u čijoj sam zemlji proveo 10 divnih godina. U vrijeme prvog prenosa, on je bio bolestan – umirao je – u bolnici u Ljubljani i bio sam ponosan što sam uradio nešto čime sam izrazio svoje poštovanje čovjeku koji je, uz sve svoje greške (znam da je bio odgovoran za nebrojene smrti, ali, također je to bio i Sir Winston Churchill, koji je naredio bombardiranje Dresdena sa ciljem ubijanja što je više civila moguće, da ne pominjemo njegovu odgovornost za postratnu situaciju u Istočnoj Evropi – i još uvijek ga tretiraju kao nacionalnog heroja, iako je, prema današnjim kriterijima, bio ratni zločinac), bio karizmatični gospodin. 
Znam jako mnogo ljudi koji su plakali kada je on umro, a koji su pljuvali na sjećanje na njega nekoliko godina kasnije. Kada sam bio dijete, imao sam obavezu da budem kršćanin I idem u crkvu svake nedjelje I morali smo voljeti I poštovati kralja. I ovo je bilo ispiranje mozga.
Posebno sam poznat po dvjema serijama – Neven i Poletarac. Iskreno ti mogu reći da ovakav program nikada ne bih mogao napraviti na BBC-u, gdje reditelji mnogih odjela moraju praviti programe koje im producenti kažu da prave, dok sam dolaskom u Jugoslaviju (odabrao sam da živim u Jugoslaviji, ne Srbiji – da sam došao 20 godina kasnije, sigurno ne bih ostao), našao televizijsku kompaniju koja je željela promjene, koja je željela eksperimentiranje, i stoga sam mogao da se razvijam na moj način, kao reditelj. 
Kada sam napravio kratki film u stilu Nevena, za BBC serije, rečeno mi je da moram mijenjati svoj stil ili napustiti program – odabrao sam napuštanje programa.
Sloboda koju sam otkrio kada sam došao u Jugoslaviju – Titovu Jugoslaviju, koja je bila visoko poštovana od strane svih iz Velike Britanije – bila je tako osvježavajuća. Poletarac je dobio prvu nagradu na festival Međunarodnih dječijih programa Prix Jeunesse u Minhenu (Children's Programmes festival Prix Jeunesse) 1980. godine. Moj bivši producent sa BBC-a je bio tamo i odnio je snimak Poletarca u Englesku, kako bi ga pokazao rediteljima kao, kako je to ona rekla “primjer kako pripremiti program za predškolsku djecu”.
Kada sam nekoliko godina kasnije posjetio BBC, nekoliko mojih bivših kolega je izrazilo zavist u odnosu na moje umjetničke slobode, i kada sam usporedio ono što sam uradio tokom prethodnih 12 godina, sa onim šta su oni uspjeli da urade, uvidio sam na šta misle. Oni su imali sjajne ideje, ali niko od njih nije uspio da ih realizira. Toliko o demokratiji.
U to vrijeme sjećam se da sam čitao intervju koji je Andrei Tarkovsky dao američkim novinama. Reporter ga je pitao kako je bilo raditi suočavajući se sa svim tim cenzurama. Njegov odgovor je bio taj da možda većina njegovih filmova nije prikazana u Sovjetskom Savezu, ali je bar bio u mogućnosti da napravi filmove koje je želio napraviti, čak iako su oni bili za ograničen broj publike.  Rekao je da je prava cenzura postojala u SAD-u, gdje su reditelji mogli praviti filmove koji će biti uspješni u kinima i zarađivati puno novca.
Cijeli moj TV opus je pripremljen u komunističkoj Jugoslaviji. Pogledajte TV u demokratskoj Srbiji. Upravo sam počeo raditi kao savjetnik pri Dječijoj TV na RTS-u, i za mene je očigledno da je danas nemoguće praviti programe kao što su Neven, Poletarac I Nedeljni Zabavnik.
Nadam se da sam odgovorio na tvoje pitanje, iako ćeš možda biti razočarana nekim aspektima mog odgovora. Cijenim Tita i njegovu Jugoslaviju i plačem nad raspadom tako divne zemlje – i ponijeću svoju nostalgiju u grob, ma koliko mi ljudi govorili da su moja osjećanja pogrešna/ zavedena."

(portal Radio Sarajeva)
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Jasminka Griffin
Goodbye, Timothy Byford. Loved watching "Poletarac" and "Neven" as a child. As I was too young, I wasn't aware that these amazing TV shows for children were made by a British guy who came to Yugoslavia for work, found love, and stayed with us... until the end.
Few years ago, I saw a video clip from "Poletarac", in which Djordje Balasevic sang about Tito. Even "padezi" (declination of words) were explained using Tito's name (by coincidence, the anniversary of Tito's death was yesterday!)
What I have seen in that video clip was cultivating a myth of Tito's greatness, and indoctrination. So I asked Timothy about it. And received a well thought out, beautiful response.
I was only eight years old when Tito died. I am not best qualified to make judgements or comments on what Tito's rule "was really like". The thing is, there will never be a unique and undisputed view of those times so many of us grew up in. But we will all agree that "Neven" and "Poletarac" brought smiles, light and happiness into our childhoods. Let's see what the great man

Tim had to say:
"Dear Jasminka,
Thank you for you e-mail. I'm glad you enjoyed seeing Poletarac again, and I'm glad to have the opportunity of answering your query about the artistic freedom of scriptwriters.
I deliberately chose to post the first half of the 7th episode because of the references to President Tito. When I wrote the scripts I had total freedom to write whatever I liked and I deliberately chose to devote half this programme to a man whom I respected and in whose country I had spent ten beautiful years. At the time of the first transmission he was ill - dying - in a hospital in Ljubljana and I was proud to have done something to express my respect for a man who, with all his faults ( I know he was responsible for countless deaths, but then so was Sir Winston Churchill, who fire-bombed Dresden with the aim of killing as many civilians as possible, not to mention his responsibility for the post-war situation in Eastern Europe - and he is still treated as a national hero, although by today's criteria he was a war criminal) - was a gentleman with charisma.
I know quite a number of people who wept when he died and the spat on his memory a few years later. When I was a child I was obliged to be a Christian and go to church every Sunday and we all had to love and respect the King. This was also brainwashing.
I am well-known for two series in particular - Neven and Poletarac. I can tell you quite honestly that I could never have made these programmes in the BBC, where directors in most departments have to make the programmes the producers tell them to make, whereas when I came to Yugoslavia (I chose to live in Yugoslavia, not Serbia - if I'd come 20 years later i certainly wouldn't have stayed) I found a television company that wanted change, that wanted to experiment, and thus I was able to develop as a director in my own way.
When I made a short film in the style of Neven for a BBC series, I was told that I either had to change my style or leave the programme - I chose to leave the programme.
The freedom I discovered when I came to Yugoslavia - Tito's Yugoslavia, which was highly respected by everyone in the UK - was so refreshing.. Poletarac won first prize in the International Children's Programmes festival Prix Jeunesse in Munich in 1980. My former producer from the BBC was there and took a video of Poletarac back to England to show her directors, as she put it "how a programme for pre-school children should be made".
When I visited the BBC a couple of years later, several of my former colleagues expressed their envy at my artistic freedom, and when I compared what I had done during the previous 12 years with what they had managed to do, I could see their point. They had had excellent ideas, but none of them had been able to realize them. So much for democracy.
At about that time I remember reading an interview Andrei Tarkovsky gave to an American magazine. The reporter asked him what it was like working with all the censorship he was confronted with. His answer was that maybe most of his films had not been shown in the Soviet Union, but at least he had been able to make the films he wanted to make, even though they were for a limited audience.
He said real censorship existed in the USA, where directors could only make films that were going to be successful at the box office and make lots of dollars.
My entire television opus was made in communist Yugoslavia. Look at television in democratic Serbia. I have just started as consultant in Children's television, RTS, and it is obvious to me that it is absolutely impossible today to make programmes anything like Neven, Poletarac or Nedeljni Zabavnik.
I hope this answers your question, although perhaps you may be disappointed at some aspects of my answer. I respected Tito and his Yugoslavia and I weep for the break-up of such a beautiful country - and I shall take my nostalgia to the grave, however much people tell me that my feelings are misguided."

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