When Day Breaks is the story of a retired music professor who discovers his true origins under unusual circumstances. A metal box containing documents is found on the site of a former Nazi World War II concentration camp. It was buried in 1941 by inmate Isaac Weiss, a composer, and includes an unfinished musical score called When Day Breaks. Besides finding out that Weiss was his real father who gave him away to friends before being taken to the camp, the professor discovers the little-known truth about Judenlager Semlin camp, one of the worst Nazi execution sites in the heart of contemporary Belgrade.
When Day Breaks was written by Paskaljević and Filip David and stars Mustafa Nadarević, Predrag Ejdus and Nebojša Glogovac.
Paskaljević is best known for Cabaret Balkan (aka Powder Keg), which won the FIPRESCI prize at the European Film Awards in 1998. His film Special Treatment (Poseban tretman) was in Cannes competition in 1980.
Besides When Day Breaks, there were only two more films that applied to represent Serbia at the Academy Awards: Srdjan Dragojević's regional blockbuster and winner of three Berlinale awards (including Audience Award) The Parade, and Miroslav Terzić's Sarajevo competition title Redemption Street, which gained Uliks Fehmiu the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Actor.
Until this year, all Serbian films that fulfilled the Oscar conditions were automatically in the running for the candidature, but now producers have to submit their films and pay a €300 fee to the Serbian Academy of Film Art and Science.
Read more exclusive contents on cineuropa.org.