Martin Horvat, writer, and David Henry Gerson, director, had the opportunity to show their film, All These Voices, at the Newport Beach Film Festival. All These Voices is about how a young SS officer who realizes that he was complicit in killing innocent people during World War II, including those who had artistic talents.
Horvat is multilingual—as he is from Ljublijana, Slovenia. A recent graduate in screenwriting from American Film Institute, Horvat can speak fluent Slovenian, Croatian, English and French. He also has working knowledge in Greek and Latin—he has worked as a translator from the Ancient Greek language. In All These Voices, you can hear Polish and German, supported with English subtitles.
The Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) is one of Orange County’s big annual events where screenwriters, producers, directors, cast, and the media mingle together and view various screenings of films—both shorts and features of all types of genres and many languages.
“It’s (the NBFF) a great opportunity to meet many other filmmakers who come to show their films, which I would argue is the festival’s biggest and most important feat,” Horvat said. “The screening of a film is the actual completion of the process, and it does give you a sense of accomplishment. All These Voices screened in an interesting group of short films all related to the theme of war, and it was fascinating to see all the different approaches of other filmmakers to a fairly similar theme.”
Horvat is aware that writing can be a daunting task—with the responsibility and decision making using words to explain difficult ideas and concepts and to develop the characters. “You just have to learn to laugh when your ideas and mistakes blow up in your face and your life as a writer becomes an endless parade of jokes; sometimes they’re even funny.” Horvat said. He likes seeing the finish line of writing a good screenplay the best—when it is completed.
He also teaches screenwriting as a volunteer with Young Storytellers Foundation, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that runs one of the biggest outreach programs. Horvat teaches children ages 10 to 12 to write their first short screenplays. Those students get the opportunity to see their scripts come to life on stage at the end of the semester, and professional actors perform the scripts. “Teaching kids puts you back into that playful state of mind where anything is possible and you can just play with ideas,” Horvat said. “It’s really amazing to observe how a young uninhibited brain, free of censorship, takes writing as easily and joyfully as running around with a basketball and a group of best friends.”
Horvat came to America to study screenwriting at the AFI—because of the differences in European and American attitude towards screenwriters. “I wanted to study screenwriting in an environment that nurtures screenwriting as an autonomous part in the process of making a film, and in an environment that cherishes functional qualities of a compelling story, namely its function to entertain the audience,” Horvat said. He hopes to return to the NBFF in the future.