Interview: Dora Filipović, Sound Designer and Filmmaker

Award-winning sound designer Dora Filipović joined BEYOND in 2020 presenting her early PhD research, “Altered Perceptions”. She returns this year, showcasing her final creative output of the PhD research, a VR short with 3D sound design, ‘Return to Impression’.

Dora FilipovicIn 2020, Dora was nominated for the Motion Picture Sound Golden Reel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing, for Computer Cinematic for the video game ‘Ghost of Tsushima’. During her PhD studies, she won seven awards at national and international film festivals for her Master Thesis documentary film, ‘Glances of Closed Eyes’. 

We caught up with Dora to find out more about her work, her latest film, and how BEYOND has helped her in her career so far. 



How did you begin your career as a sound designer and filmmaker?

I began my professional career back in 2011, while still a BA student at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade in Serbia. I had started working with a team on numerous noted feature and short films as a sound editor and sound designer. 

Among these films were Zvizdan (The High Sun), directed by Dalibor Matanic – winner of the ‘Un Certain Regard – Jury Prize’ at Cannes Film Festival in 2015, and the documentary film Good Luck, directed by Ben Russell – winner of the ‘Experimental Film Award’ at National Society of Film Critics Award USA, 2018.

What I love most about this time, and what still excites me every time I begin working on a new project, is the opportunity to meet and learn from creative professionals.


Tell us about your studies and your Master Thesis, ‘Glances of Closed Eyes’

My Master Thesis documentary film ‘Glances of Closed Eyes’ won seven film festival awards. The most prestigious award, and one I am most proud of, is ‘The City of Belgrade Award’ for the greatest accomplishment of youth in the field of arts in 2017. 

My research work has been presented at multiple events, including the ‘Practice-Reflect-Share’ Symposium at London Guildhall in 2019, Beyond Conference in 2020, the South by Southwest Conference in 2021, and various seminars and conferences organised by the University of Surrey.


Tell us a little about your connection to BEYOND Conference 

In 2020, I participated in the Poster Exhibition at BEYOND conference, where I presented my PhD research titled “Altered Perceptions: Using immersive sound and vision to depict the experience of blindness”. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was held entirely online, and I was impressed by how well organised it was. Despite being virtual, I was able to listen to other researchers’ work and interact with them through different chat rooms. I remained in contact with the organisers and in 2021, they held a hybrid conference in Belfast. I decided to attend it in person to meet everyone I had interacted with virtually, the year before. 


What do you like about BEYOND conference and how has it supported your work? 

BEYOND conference is an excellent opportunity to learn from fellow researchers and industry professionals, as well as network with like-minded individuals. Presenting my work through a poster exhibition proved to be a valuable experience for me. The feedback and questions I received from the audience helped me to refine my writing. 

After BEYOND, I also had the opportunity to participate in the online South by Southwest Film Festival, as part of Immersive Futures Lab, and Conference UK House 2021, which was a fantastic experience. The exposure and practice I gained from presenting at both events gave me the confidence and strength to continue with my research.


What are you working on now and what will you be sharing at BEYOND 2023?   

At the end of September, I passed my PhD viva exam, subject to some minor revisions, so at the moment, I am working on that. The creative output of my PhD was a virtual reality short fictional film with three-dimensional sound design entitledReturn to Impression’, which I am going to present at this year’s BEYOND conference. 

Return to Impression by Dora FilipovicIt is the story of an artist, Filip, who is losing his sight. He is visited by the muse Vera (a female first name of Slavic origin, meaning ‘Faith’). She is a personified force, a metaphor, and the source of inspiration for the artist. 

Afraid that Filip will give up painting completely, Vera takes the artist on an inspirational journey to help him paint the scene by listening to the sounds which she experiences. The virtual reality medium allows the audience to experience the character’s point of view by switching their sense of sight and hearing to the senses of the character who is losing sight. The film is entirely audio-led, and the audience at BEYOND will be able to choose whether they want to experience the story with both visuals and audio (VR headset and headphones) or just audio (headphones). 

I’m really looking forward to sharing my work with the BEYOND’s creative community, in November. 


Experience Dora’s latest work at BEYOND

Dora’s virtual reality film ‘Return to Impression’ will feature as a showcase in the Immersive Futures Lab at BEYOND Conference on November 21-22nd. Take advantage of Early Bird Tickets before November 5th!