Maria Juranic is a filmmaker, dancer and an artist.  An immigrant from Yugoslavia, her early years were spent in midwest, USA where she learned to listen, observe, and reflect.  Her formative years were spent between the two worlds, which gave her a global perspective in telling entertaining stories.  Her films explore themes of belonging, love and transformation.

Our first project with Maria was a few years ago for our client New Era.  We gave her some basic parameters but were able to really let her run with it with no restrictions.  Unsurprisingly, she knocked it out of the park.

One of Maria’s specialties is creating music videos.  Her latest music video for Polica “Agree”  was recently designated as a 2018 Vimeo Staff Pick.

We recently caught up with her for a quick interview via text messages…rock on.

VIMBY: Hey Maria, congrats on getting recognized as a Staff Pick from Vimeo for your video for Polica + stargaze!  How did you first connect with the artist?

Maria Juranic: Hi!  Polica is from Minneapolis, MN, which is the city I lived in for many years.  We have mutual friends and over time became good acquaintance as well.  Minneapolis artists tend to work together and foster each others work, so I wanna say this was the extension of that. I reached out to them saying I’d like to do a video for them and they were in to it.  I was really excited, I wanted to do something for them for a long time.

V: You’ve directed several music videos; is that how you got started?

MJ: Yes I was friends with musicians in Minneapolis. Actually, I lived with many of them at the time, and after I graduated college one of them said “hey you do film stuff, right? Wanna do a music video?.”  It kind of went from there. That first video was really successful, and the label that represented the artist brought me on to do more.

V: Nice! Incidentally, check out this video we produced on Minneapolis for MTV a few years ago. As a local Minny kid I think you’ll dig it.

MJ: Oh. I know those ladies 🙂 funny. Its a small world.

V: When you’re developing a concept for a music video, how collaborative is the process with the artist? Do you come in with an idea that you want to execute and pitch it to them?

MJ: If an artist approaches me with an idea, I’m usually into collaborating or spring boarding off of what they are thinking. Combining their key points of interest with my style is the most successful way to make them. But most often it’s up to me to submit an idea to the band and they decide if they are into it. My favorite ones have been where I had full  creative freedom – and it’s really nurturing to me (as an artist/filmmaker). I get to try new ideas or techniques this way, experiment with the medium and my limitations. This is the most exciting thing about music videos.Even on low budget videos, I try to get craftier, smarter so I can still make it interesting.

V: What inspired the creative behind the Polica video?

MJ: I was experimenting with a technique with dismembered limbs in another music video (Grieves “Gutz”) and really liked the effect and what it did in amplifying a disconnect between two people.  I wanted to use this technique again and push it even further.  I thought it would be interesting to use stills, or barely moving images, what a memory feels like, and then add people in it.  The song itself is very dreamy and it felt like it was about someone that the singer is longing for.  It inspired a love story gone wrong.  So, to give it an edge and something tangible, I added a money heist and a Bonnie and Clyde type of a story was born. Originally I wanted to make it between a man and a woman, two outlaws on the road, but soon realized how boring that was to me.  I didn’t want to see another man and woman for some reason, and wanted to explore a story of two women instead.  It felt more powerful, and more sensual.

V: Very cool. How was the video selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick? Did it need to be submitted or do they just discover it and give you that designation?

MJ: A Vimeo curator saw it through a collective I am part of called Brooklyn Film Collective and showed it to the rest of her team at Vimeo.  So, yeah, kind of random.  And they all agreed on making it a Vimeo Staff Pick!

V: Congrats again, that’s awesome. Does that recognition help you get more attention for your work, lead to new business?

MJ: Ha. It definitely helped get more eyes on my work!  I got 100K views in one week on that video. And a few interesting proposals came from it, so yes, it definitely is a positive for my portfolio.  Hoping more work comes from it. Thank you.

V: You also do a lot of branded work as well. I assume that process is much more restrictive on one hand, with less creative freedom, but on the other hand you get to work with larger budgets. Is that the case?

MJ: Branded content can be fun, especially when I can employ a visual style or film technique I used in a music video.  That way I also know that it’s a technique that works and I have experience in it and can show the clients examples of what I have already done.  And yes, most often they are bigger budgets, but these days even those are getting smaller.

V: OK so big picture, do you envision yourself going down a particular path that you prefer, or continue to play in multiple sandboxes?  Would you like to focus on branded content, music videos, directing movies etc etc?

MJ: Big Picture: To keep pushing my own style and vision through everything I do, so yes, one day I can make movies.  I am definitely at a shift right now where I prefer to do more branded content.  And concentrate on short films on the side.

V: Sounds good.  Any new or recent work you’d like to share with VIMBY Nation?

MJ: I’m working on a few things right now – but nothing to show yet. Hoping I will soon tho!

V: Cool well it was fun “interviewing” you.  Keep us in the loop on new projects.  Thanks for your time!  

MJ: Yeah!!! Thank you for doing that. 🙂 really happy to do it. And I’ll definitely reach out soon.


Follow Maria @MoJuranic