Ema Kugler and the Old Believers

Once upon a time in Posočje


Ema Kugler, winner of this year’s Prešeren Award, is preparing a documentary about the Old Believers entitled “Nekoč v Posočju” (Once Upon a Time in Posočje). The film has been supported by the Slovenian Film Centre and we will include it in our programme of the European Capital of Culture Nova Gorica – Gorizia.


The theme of the Old Believers of the Posočje region is the story of our region. It tells about the old belief as a way of life, discovered and conveyed with great feeling by Pavel Medvešček. In his book “From the Invisible Side of the Sky”, he documents it as a holistic system that has been embodied and is tangible in all aspects of human existence and offers us cultural codes that open up completely new aspects of understanding our civilisation. Medvešček collected and recorded the testimony of the old belief in the last fragment of its existence, at the moment of the extinction of its function, and Ema Kugler will document its legacy on film tape, with a cinematic image of the Posočje landscape and its mysteries.


“We have already shot the scenes, we still have to film the sacred places and landscapes, the nature scenes, and then the post-production process awaits us. We have explored interesting corners of Posočje with the crew, we have filmed in Gorenja Trebuša, Zakojca, and at the Šturmajce homestead,” Kugler told us.


Ema Kugler is a multidisciplinary artist and in her almost forty years of work she has proven herself to be an artist who seeks new ways of expression, exploring different media, blending and composing them into new forms of artistic messages. The central motif of her work is often the man as a being, figure and object. Man in all his comprehensiveness, from the naked body in an empty, abandoned space or landscape to the multi-layered, physically transformed image surrounded by materials and colours. In her work, she translates her inner images and does not follow the current artistic and visual trends; on the contrary, she usually exceeds them and goes beyond the time and space in which she works. The excellence of her artistic work has been recognised by juries, experts and audiences on almost every continent, and she has been awarded with an impressive array of prizes. In Slovenia, she has received several Slovenian Film Festival awards, the Zlata ptica Award (1994) and the Prešeren Fund Award (2008), and this year’s Prešeren Award. Ema Kugler is the author of feature films, shorts and documentaries, with the most awards, 118, for Man with Shadow (2019).