Miljen Kreka Kljaković
Miljen Kreka Kljaković, born in 1950 in Osijek, is a Serbian production designer with a forty-year long career, international reputation and acclaim, and filmography with more than thirty films. He graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade. He is a member of a number of associations, including the American Art Directors Guild, Serbian Film Academy, Maison Des Artistes in Paris, France, etc.
Kljaković received numerous awards, including the French Film Academy Award and the European Film Academy Award for Delicatessen (1991) by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. This film required building set − an apartment building that gets flooded and demolished. Emir Kusturica’s Underground (1995) demanded the construction of several different sets. For the shots at the beginning of the film, Kljaković built streets and buildings damaged during the German bombing of Belgrade in 1941, including the interiors. He also built the basement where the protagonists waited for the end of the war that had long ago ended, and the set that represented the network of underground tunnels spanning across Europe. He had previously worked with Kusturica on both Time of the Gypsies (1988) and Arizona Dream (1993). For the latter, Kljaković built the interiors of the Cadillac dealership and the ranch in Arizona. He also built a very striking prop − a hybrid of a bicycle and the Wright brothers’ flying machine. This peculiar aircraft is constructed in the film by the protagonist, played by Johnny Depp. As production designer, he worked on The Brave (1996), Johnny Depp’s directing debut, where he was to make a settlement surrounded by desert and a large landfill. He was nominated for the Primetime Emmy award for his work on the television film Rasputin (1996) by Uli Edel. Building a replica of the ancient Troy for the mini-series Helen of Troy (2003) brought him a nomination for Art Directors Guild Excellence in Production award. For the film Species II (1998), Kljaković built the interiors of a space ship and a bio lab, where xenomorphic species from the fantasy world of H. R. Giger move. Making of the mini-series Dune (2000) required building sets such as the Imperial palace, Harkonnen palace, and the capital of the Dune − the city of Arrakeen with its streets and buildings. For Secret Passage (2004) he built a replica of a part of Venice from the sixteenth century, covering 80.000 square meters. The Order (2003) included a replica of the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, including Bernini’s bronze baldachin on the tomb of the first head of the Church. The set for the film Muhammad (2015) by Majid Majidi is the largest set Kljeković has built so far. On the surface of 120.000 square meters, he built a replica of the medieval Mecca, the Byzantine monastery Bosra and several interiors.
Miljen Kreka Kljaković is the author of the exhibition which shows the development of the sets of some of the films he has worked on − from sketches to realization.