When her studies of Theoretical Physics were interrupted by the war in Sarajevo in 1992, Jelena Popović emigrated to Canada where she graduated with a B.A. in Film Production at University of Québec in Montréal. Her films Galapagos (1999) and The Knights of Orlando (2007) address psychosocial impacts of the Yugoslav wars.
Jelena has been with the National Film Board of Canada for the past 15 years, forging her skills on national and international productions of conventional and hybrid documentary and animated films (e.g. Facing Champlain, Zero Tolerance, No More Tears Sister, They Chose China). Complementing her production work, Jelena was an Editor on animated films including Patrick Doyon’s Academy Award-nominated short Sunday, and Claire Blanchet’s stereoscopic 3D short The End of Pinky, based on the story by Heather O’Neill. She has also edited three editions of Hothouse, the NFB’s acclaimed apprenticeship program for emerging animation filmmakers. She was Associate Producer on another two editions of Hothouse, as well as on the interactive documentary Here At Home/Ici Chez soi, a radical social experiment to end homelessness.
Producer at the NFB Animation Studio since January 2014, she co-produced with Marcy Page Donald McWilliams’ Norman McLaren: Animated Musician, Theodore Ushev’s Blood Manifesto (Prix Créativité, Festival du nouveau cinema 2015), Munro Ferguson’s Minotaur (VR and dome versions) and My Heart Attack, (Grand Prize for Best Animation, Ottawa int’l short film festival 2016), an animated memoir by iconic Canadian filmmaker Sheldon Cohen (The Sweater). With her colleague Maral Mohammadian, she coproduced Naked Island, a series of public service alerts by some of the top Canadian artists exposing the dark underbelly of modern times. Her latest release is Hedgehog’s Home, a stop-motion fable exquisitely directed by Eva Cvijanović. The first NFB coproduction with Croatia in 40 years (Vanja Andrijević – Bonobostudio), its world premiere is at this year’s Berlinale.
Popovic is also one of the initial co-founders of the KINO movement promoting independent short film production, which has grown to over 60 cells across the world.