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Slavoljub Slavko Vorkapić

Slavoljub Slavko Vorkapić (Serbian Cyrillic: Славољуб Славко Воркапић; March 17, 1894 – October 20, 1976), known in English as Slavko Vorkapich, was a Serbian-American film director and editor, former Chair of USC Film School, painter, and a prominent figure of modern cinematography and film art.

Slavoljub Vorkapić was born on March 17, 1894, in the small village of Dobrinci near Ruma in the Syrmia region, at the time part of the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Serbia). His father Petar, the town clerk, insisted that young Slavko should be well-educated.

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After finishing his primary education, he became a student in a well-known regional high-school in the nearby town of Sremska Mitrovica, where he made his first steps in art and drawing. He continued his high-school education in Zemun and later in the famous Art School in Belgrade. With a scholarship received from Matica srpska, Serbia's highest cultural and scientific institution at the time, Vorkapić went to Budapest, Hungary, where he studied art. At the beginning of World War I he immediately returned to his homeland where, with the country besieged on all sides, he survived the tragic Serbian retreat across Albania in order to reach Allied positions in Greece. From there he sailed to Italy, from where he reached France. He managed to enter Art Academy in Paris but soon after moved to Montparnasse among other Avant-garde artists. He took part in the 1917 and 1919 collective painter exhibits.

Slavko Vorkapić's dream to go to the United States was fulfilled in 1920. For a short time, he lived in New York City. Then, for almost a year, he roamed the country nearly homeless, until his arrival in Hollywood in July 1921. Although he started his film career as a painter and an actor, he became best known as a special effects expert, film artist, film teacher, director, editor and became one of the most respected filmmakers in the period between the two World Wars. Vorkapić made a great number of documentaries and experimental films.

Vorkapić co-directed the experimental short film The Life and Death of 9413: a Hollywood Extra (1928) with Robert Florey, and Moods of the Sea (1941) and Forest Murmurs (1947) with filmmaker John Hoffman (1904–1980).

He is best known for his montage work (see montage sequence) on Hollywood films such as Viva Villa (1934), David Copperfield (1935), San Francisco (1936), The Good Earth (1937), and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). In October 2005, the DVD collection Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant Garde Film 1894-1941 was released and included a one-minute montage sequence Vorkapich did for the otherwise lost film Manhattan Cocktail (1928), directed by Dorothy Arzner.

The now-common montage sequence often appeared as notation in Hollywood scripts of the 1930s and 40s as the "vorkapich" because of his mastery of the dynamic visual montage sequence wherein time and space are compressed using a variety of editing techniques and camera moves. Vorkapich used kinetic editing, lap dissolves, tracking shots, creative graphics and optical effects for his stunning montage sequences for such features as Meet John Doe, Maytime, Crime Without Passion, Manhattan Melodrama, and Firefly. He created, shot, and edited these kinesthetic montages for features at Universal Studios (then known as Universal Pictures), MGM, RKO, and Paramount.

His protege, Art Clokey, learned kinescope animation techniques under him and went on to create the Gumby animated series.

He was appointed chair of the Department of Film of the University of Southern California from 1949-1951.

In 1938 Vorkapich commissioned modern architect Gregory Ain to build a garden house for his Beverly Hills residence. It was a minor landmark in prefabricated architecture. It has since been destroyed.

During the 1950s he was in Yugoslavia and worked as a professor at the Belgrade Film and Theatre Academy. In Yugoslavia in 1955 Vorkapić made his last full-length movie Hanka.

Slavko Vorkapić died of a heart attack in Mijas, Spain, on the estate of his son on October 20, 1976.

Two of his many master drawings, his gift during a visit to Yugoslavia, are kept in the Syrmia Museum in Sremska Mitrovica. Recent reports say that his descendants are ready to fulfill Vorkapić’s last will and testament to donate the same museum with all of his remaining art drawings.

Sources

  • The Most typical Avant-Garde James, David - 2005
  • On True Cinema, Babac, Marko - 1998
  • Slavko Vorkapich: Reminiscences - Davis, Ronald - 1978

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Notes On Ecumenism

Written in 1972 by St. Abba Justin Popovich, edited by Bishop Athanasius Yevtich, translated from Serbian by Aleksandra Stojanovich, and proofread by Fr Miroljub Ruzich

Abba Justin’s manuscript legacy (on which Bishop Athanasius have been working for a couple of years preparing an edition of The Complete Works ), also includes a parcel of sheets/small sheets of paper (in the 1/4 A4 size) with the notes on Ecumenism (written in pencil and dating from the period when he was working on his book “The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism”; there are also references to the writings of St. Bishop Nikolai [Velimirovich], short excerpts copied from his Sermons, some of which were quoted in the book).

The editor presents the Notes authentically, as he has found them in the manuscripts (his words inserted in the text, as clarification, are put between the slashes /…/; all the footnotes are ours).—In the appendix are present the facsimiles of the majority of Abba’s Notes which were supposed to be included in his book On Ecumenism (written in haste then, but now significantly supplemented with these Notes. The Notes make evident the full extent of Justin’s profundity as a theologian and ecclesiologist of the authentic Orthodoxy).—The real Justin is present in these Notes: by his original language, style, literature, polemics, philosophy, theology, and above all by his confession of the God-man Christ and His Church. He confesses his faith, tradition, experience and his perspective on man, on the world and on Europe—invariably in the Church and from the Church, in the God-man Christ and from Him, just as he did in all of his writings and in his entire life and theologizing.