Friday, 12 June 2009

Vladimir and me

Van: []
Verzonden: zondag 12 april 2009 20:46
Aan: Melanie de Vocht - Jan Vrijman Fund
Onderwerp: thirst of a stone sea


i watched thirst of a stone sea last year at the london international documentary film festival

it moved my heart and changed my life

recently i have been speaking to many people about it

and they all say they would love to see it

is there any way to get a dvd?

many thanks and all the best,


From: Vladimir Perovic [mailto:biliv@eunet.yu]
Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 8:39 PM
To: ' '
Subject: RE: thirst of a stone sea

Dear Briony Greenhill!

Melanie de Vocht from Jan Vrijman Fund from Amsterdam
forwarded me your message.

Well, when my film move someone’s heart, it always moves my
heart! For your information: the film was selected for 36 festivals
around the world and won 12 awards so far. Thank you for having
your heart/eyes/mind/soul open for new contents, new messages,
new experiences, new knowledge and new empathies!

May I be simply curious to learn more about how it moved your heart
and changed your life!? Please don’t get me wrong! Or: consider it as
a natural vanity and a pride of the author… ;-)

About DVD – I can send you one. Or: I think some of my friends who
live in London will soon come here and go back to London – they could
bring you the DVD. Of course, you don’t have to pay anything.

Best regards,

Vladimir Perovic
the director/writer/producer

Subject: Re: thirst of a stone sea
Date: April 22, 2009 7:58:36 PM EDT

Hi Vladimir

it's great to hear from you. 

What can I tell you.

I stumbled late and tired into a London cinema on a cold winter evening to begin watching your film, about five or ten minutes in.

Tired and drained by pressurized and hectic urban life, but unclear on any alternative, I began to watch, and my heart began to lift like it was seeing what it didn't know it had been thirsty for.

A few scenes stick out in my mind.

One of the first that caught me was the men harvesting the field of wheat. I saw how they kept their rhythm together all day, and I felt their feeling of deep satisfaction when the day was complete and the field harvested. I never felt such a simple satisfaction as that; at the end of every day there is always an infinite amount of more work to be done.

When the shepherd goes to the head of the valley and shouts out; my heart leapt and cried - sometimes I want to do that! Sometimes I want to stand at the head of a valley and shout, but in my culture if I did that the police would be called! Where can I shout at the top of my lungs???

When the man goes to get honeycombe from the bee hives with his bare hands, and he lifts it up golden in the sun, by that point my heart nearly exploded

'why do i live in this halogen world, and walk the fluorescent lanes of the dead supermarket to buy my honey from a squeezy bottle when this man lifts his honey from the living bees in the sunshine?'

For the next few days I could think of little other than the film. My urban world seemed dead compared to the characters in the film. At age 28, I had so many skills to equip me for contemporary London - research, ICT, project management, organisational stuff - but how to milk a cow, how to make cheese, or honey - I had no idea.

I wanted to learn. I didn't know how.

"Go," a friend said to me. "Find them. Learn from them."

I started to consider that possibility, to consider what I could exchange in return, how I could find people, could that really be done?

Gradually I learnt that it's not just in montenegro that people live this way. I learnt the term 'self sufficiency' and discovered that people do it in this country too :)

Over the next few months, I dreamt more and more of living a life more like the characters in your film, and less and less like my urban life. I started to feel a little unsettled; I don't think it's good to be living one life and dreaming of another; one must make dreams and reality align, I believe

I was invited to a weekend at a place called Embercombe, where they grow their own food, sleep in yurts and poo in compost toilets. I accepted.

The first morning when I walked with a basket to the vegetable garden to harvest food for lunch, something inside of me said, "I am in a period of preparation."

That ended my anxiety about living one life and longing for another. I was in a phase of preparation.

I named what I was after a 'blended lifestyle', where there is a greater blend between self-sufficiency and participation in the formal economy. Mornings at the computer, afternoons in the garden. You can have a blended lifestyle, a blended community - even a blended economy.

I spoke about it with many people and their eyes would light up. 'I am hungry for something similar,' they would say. Londoners are hungry for a closer relationship with nature, with self sufficiency, with a smaller community, but we don't want to entirely give up the interesting parts of our work and our feeling of being plugged into stuff.

Now some friends and I are coming together to see if we can create a blended community. We have been working for years at an office for social entrepreneurs called The Hub. We are discussing creating a rural hub, where people can live or visit, and experiment with a blended lifestyle. It's early days.

I wrapped up my projects and went to India for three months. (I had this planned before I saw your film). Between them, the people I met and lived with taught me how to make curd, to make cheese, to extract sugar from sugar cane, to separate wheat from the chaff, to separate seeds from dusty seed pods. I'm learning!

I came back and volunteered at Embercombe for a couple of weeks, working in the organic vegetable garden and learning all about it.

Now I have been employed to travel the world for a year finding and documenting ways to have really good fun. While I'm at it I think I shall try to keep learning learning learning all these secrets people know of how to do and make things for themselves, and all the while my friends and I shall explore and, hopefully, eventually realise this dream of a blended lifestyle.

Les temps, as my friend Didier says, parlora - time will tell. Who knows.

But your film gave me a vision of a beautiful kind of aliveness; now my life is about gently, slowly, with a bit more music (I think the characters would have been happier if they played music together), and a bit more connection with the rest of the world, figuring out how to bring that vision to life.

It's a lovely, lovely project. I am extremely grateful :)

I'm no longer tired and drained and going too fast. Life is much much better.

Hey I'm really glad I got to tell you all about it :)

Great that I can have a DVD! Thanks so much!

My address is G24 Du Cane Court, London SW17 7JP. I am in no hurry, I can collect it from one of your London friends when they come back, whatever works for you.

Thank you.


Subject: RE: thirst of a stone sea
Date: April 30, 2009 4:57:49 PM EDT

Hi, Briony!

Thanks for you sincere and deep explanations! You exposed
your soul. I’m impressed.

Your letter looks like a beginning of a novel which has
a kind of an astonishing transformation at the end!
I’m happy my film revealed these feelings and abilities
which were asleep in the middle of the rural chaos…
I feel it deeply since I spent my first seven years in the
region you saw in my film. Then I moved first to a small
coastal town in Montenegro and then to Belgrade. Of course
I felt also the atmosphere of NY, London, Paris, Shanghai,
Tehran, Cairo and many other megalopolis’… and I found
many people are also very sad by realizing that they walk
the fluorescent lanes in the halogen world, as you said…,
while the true life is at the doorstep, but they don’t realize
it’s so close nor recognize the beauty of it...

Due to your resonances regarding my film, I know you’re
the person who will love to watch few more films of the
similar kind.

I’ll send you three short docs on one DVD (“The Contact”,
“Sustainable Development of a Flow”, “Let There Be Light”)
and a trilogy without any word pronounced, with no music
but only the sounds used: “The  Steps”
I’m sure you’ll find a part of the world you’re thirsty for in
all of them, or at least you’ll share with me some statements
(about this world) which were not said using verbal means
of expression but by cinematic ones… To enable you to have
the clear, unspoiled impressions, I won’t tell you anything
regarding the subjects…

Oh, yes: one of my friends just came from London, which
means you’ll get your DVDs very soon…

By the way: I’d like very much to publish the transcript
of our correspondence in one serious Montenegrin daily
newspaper. Do I have your approval?

Best friendly regards,


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