Whether I like it or not, He will make up my next big American thing…

The Birthday Player is a poetry movie based on a poem by Ksenija Pavlovic. It is the part of the new exciting Public Pool poetry project that publishes the best poets of today from Geoffrey G. O’Brien to James Franco.  

Ksenija Pavlovic 2016
Ksenija Pavlovic : Author and Executive Producer of The Birthday Player

Ksenija Pavlovic, Poet & Executive Producer 

I am interested in searching for new forms of storytelling and turning poetry into movies. In my creative process, I take emotion as a point of departure. I consider a poem to be an emotion in a frame. The Birthday Player is sort of self-inscription: autobiographical in intent and documentary in form. The kind of poetry I am doing is “Autobiographical Fiction“.

The Birthday Player allows for cinematic symbolism. Elements that I have used in my poetry film  allow for certain visual language that would not really work in a feature film unless we were shooting the specific scene in the screenplay. The protagonist in The Birthday Player goes around New York City with balloons. Who goes through the city with balloons? What is the point of these balloons? Poetry allows for that image. It is symbolic of the emotion and the tone and the persona I wanted to depict, and it is an interpretation of reality, it blurs the lines between fiction and what is real. In that sense, my work is contemporary but also experimental. I am very attracted to this form of storytelling and critics say that my poetry is very cinematic and it reads as a screenplay.

Filmmaker Catalina Ramirez Chavez immediately understood my vision and from writing down the first notes to scouting for locations to actual filming to post production, the whole process unfolded organically. I am an author with a very specific vision as to what I want to achieve and having a crew of strong and talented individuals pushed each one of us to give the best from ourselves to tell the poem in a truthful way to the way it has been written.

The Birthday Player
                                     Scene from The Birthday Player

It was important for The Birthday Player to have an original music scores so I called the British composer, Rupert Cross. He was at that moment in L.A. very busy working on the Kanye concert at the Hollywood Bowl and we were on deadline. So he told me he will  compose the music on a plane from L.A. to London which he did. Rupert perfectly understood not only my poem but also this eerie vibe of  New York City where the protagonist played by Nevena Pavlovic is all the time surrounded by people but actually alienated and alone. Rupert is a spectacular composer, he immediately felt that the mood of night time New York felt best suited to the electronic world. Authentic narration of Stephanie Machado young actress of Yale School of Drama stroke the right tone and accurately voiced what I have written.

Nevena Pavlovic: Protagonist 

Nevena Pavlovic The Birthday Player
Nevena Pavlovic, the protagonist of The Birthday Player. Copyright: Stephanie Cornfield

The Birthday Player is a modern poem with the unique author’s  voice, already cinematic in the way it has been written. It explores a new genre and a new form of communicating poetry with the viewer.

I enjoyed filming which was very challenging and demanding because of the location and unpredictability of NYC. Filming on the streets of New York was at the same time liberating and demanding to control which made it even more beautiful and special.

The Birthday Player portraits an isolation and solitude of a woman in a megalopolis. The protagonist is searching for meaning,  love and connection while holding on the identity like holding on to balloons that can fly away at any moment if the wind blows slightly harder. It’s a constant battle between being secure and untamed and always on the splitting point between brute reality and fiction.

Nevena Pavlovic is an Opera Singer and a Principle Soloist of the National Theater of Belgrade. She holds  MMus from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Pavlovic made her American debut in the summer 2015 in the National Opera Centre of America performing the role of the Countess in Marriage of Figaro under the conductor Benoit Renard directed by award winning director Louis Walker.

Alongside operatic roles Pavlovic has performed widely in concert and recitals in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Serbia. Some of the concert includes: National Opera Center in NYC, Burgh House in London, Lauderdale House in London , Christ Church Spitafields in London , St Giles Church in London, Hayd Park Chapel in London , Proms at St Mary church in Henley on the Thames and many other venues.

Nevena lives between London and Belgrade.

Catalina Ramirez Chaves : Director 

“The first time I read the Birthday Player, I felt like I could instantly see the images coming out from my mind, like I connect so much with the emotions and suddenly I was visualizing every word and feeling every shade of it.”

Catalina Ramirez
         Catalina Ramirez Chaves , Director

Catalina Ramirez Chaves was born in Cali, Colombia. Winner for best director of the 48 hour film project at Colombia, she has been a director of many short films including, Being Carla, Los Segundos de Alicia, The Birthday Player and Galactic Love. She has direct many fashion films as wells with brands such as Zara, Polite, Armani, among others. She has been an editor for 4 years, working in projects such as Crossroads in Belgium with Lawyers without Borders and the miniseries Outpost with Univision Networks. She is currently working at the international sales department at Magnolia Pictures and focus on writing her first feature length movie. She believes in love, declares herself as a feminist, a red lipstick enthusiastic and Colombian coffee lover.

Rupert Cross : Composer

“When I compose for film I am always guided by narrative and character and this was no different. Here these elements were so strong, as was Ksenija’s clear instruction, that I found writing for The Birthday Player to be very straightforward indeed.”

rupert crosss
              Rupert Cross, Music Composer

Rupert Cross studied music composition at the University of Southampton with Michael Finnissy where he won the Lytell Prize, the Edward Wood Award and achieved first class honours. He received a scholarship from the Laurin and Arthur Glaze Trust and the AHRC for postgraduate composition study with Julian Anderson at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he achieved distinction.

Between 2010 and 2015 Rupert worked as an Assistant and Music Programmer for Patrick Doyle at both Shepperton Studios and 20th Century Fox Studios in Los Angeles for the films Cinderella, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Brave, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Thor, La Ligne Droite, Sarajevo and Sir Billi the Vet, the documentary Jig and the concert pieces Impressions of America and Tam O’Shanter.

Rupert has written music for works at the Barbican, Pleasance Theatre, Arcola Theatre, National Theatre Studio, B.A.C., The Old Vic Tunnels, Silk Street Theatre, The Albany Theatre, Camden People’s Theatre, New Wimbledon Theatre, Ovalhouse, The Place: Robin Howard Dance Theatre, Resolution! festival, Latitude Festival, the New Music Festival and The City Of London Festival. He is also Composer-In-Residence for Sketty Theatre.

His work was also performed at the Festival Internazionale della Musica in Milan by Jarvis Cocker, Badly Drawn Boy, Marianne Faithfull and the London Sinfonietta. He orchestrated the song ‘Learn Me Right’ by Mumford & Sons for the closing credit sequence of Brave. In 2015 he orchestrated the entire Kanye West album 808s & Heartbreak for full orchestra with Rosie Danvers for a concert with Kanye at the Hollywood Bowl.

Since 2013 Rupert has regularly collaborated with DJs Tim Paris [Marketing Records] and Ivan Smagghe [Kill The DJ/Les Disques de la Mort] on albums, singles and remixes. His first album with Tim Paris, entitled Music for Film, TV & Radio was released on Magnetic Records in 2016, while a second album is to be released on the Village Green label in the summer. He will also be releasing an album with Ivan Smagghe later in the year under the name Smagghe & Cross.

His remix of Manureva by Alain Chamfort with Ivan Smagghe was used in the Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2016 by Karl Lagerfeld. He has also composed for films and collections of the designer Brooke Roberts.

He has written original scores to the films Some of Us directed by Toby Clarke and Calm directed by Kwame Lestrade.

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The Birthday Player

Tonight, J is sleeping alone

In the tallest building on Manhattan.

Whether he likes it or not, whether I like it or not

He will make up my next big American thing

Fancy terrible, fancy raisins terrible

Yet a huge hit

We were not quite as good a fit

But novel makes everyone sink

And my life is just that

One true American story

American Psycho and the Oscar winning glory

Gordon Gekko

The zero sum game

His shares fell 30 percent last week but then, who cares?

Man looks in the abyss, there’s nothing staring back at him

What’s gonna be J: “off a cliff, in your new Maserati?”

I don’t remember who invented what

Oh, remembrance is so unnecessary

Wharton, Dartmouth, Columbia, Yale

I am yesterday to him as he was to me

And yet, I am still writing

The American novel Bob Dylan dictated on the velvet floor

Rock and Rolla is my smart

Who cares about the genre?

It could have happened even in the tallest building on Manhattan.

“It’s two minutes to closing, K. What do you want to do? Decide.”

There are lots of buildings

I usually notice the one on 75th Upper East


How I wouldn’t when Hank Moody was there

Witnessing the scene his screenwriter would have wished to have

Califorinication, Babe

But I’ve forgotten the scene

I’ve forgotten everything

It was quite striking how I deleted everything that made up

my life

It was a brutal act of detachment,

The future congressman with a hairdresser from LA

Well done, JFK

See you in a campaign

With fake boobs and T.J. Maxx discounted Chanel purse.

But you know I’m sorry.

I could not handle you loved me that much.

Completely unnecessary

I know how to detect when someone is not strong enough

J is strong

Maybe too strong

But J proved to me he has a heart too

It is always the J

Oh please excuse my American predicting


That’s another story

I just know I was animated by him

I don’t get excited about anyone ordinary

High achievers-that’s just what life serves me

Liam and Liam and Rock and Roll suite

The family Forbes

Everything I could not be

We saved the world from the headlines

Can I just keep on being me?

So J, J is peculiar

He could be easily taken for a bully

The manhood and extortion


Quite separating, don’t you think?

“It’s all about bucks, kid. The rest is conversation.”

J lives on fucking Manhattan

Oh sorry, this was not indicative enough

J lives in the tallest building of Manhattan

He likes to call girls to visit him in his glass wall apartment

Very beautiful

I mean

New York beautiful

I am sure Trump tower would have been a strong aphrodisiac

If I haven’t seen it all

If I haven’t had Mark Rothko on the wall

Picasso, Goya, Francis Bacon

Some guy on the match dot com told me I have an expensive taste

But I don’t know if there’s such thing at all

Pi has always been an irrational number.

And J has always been a letter I should avoid.

Still, everyone knows I will soon become a millionaire

I’m going to make you rich, K

I don’t really know what it means, but apparently something huge

And when it’s huge, most likely won’t interest me

But it’ll buy lots of Champaign

Sheep get slaughtered

So let’s just jet away

Happy Birthday to Miss Extraordinaire!

It was quite amazing to know

Valentino and I, we have the same muse

in common

What to tell you world, I always had a good taste in men

Even if they were gay

So let’s go back to J

If I go

If I went out with him, he must be having something astounding

If I am rejecting him, then he must be super absorbed

Past tense

I managed to ruin a prospect of happiness


But this time it was not only me

J was a complicit in crime

I apologized

Then he said we were not a good fit

Wish you well and all that crap

Oh, how happy I was to hear that

One new mischance prevented

Not quite

But who would want to look for a superior enlightenment.

Pi called yesterday to see if I am well and in a need of anodyne

Never before Pi used the word anodyne

Pi knew where I was getting

But J was smart  to save me from it

J was in fact very honest

So I told him I appreciate it.

Yes, I mean it,

I learned this from the Forbes Man

“Dad isn’t on the Board of Directors of *that* company”,


“I’m hot on this stock. It’s ready to take off.”

“Having sex with her was like reading the Wall St Journal”

”We are not here to indulge in romance and fantasy”

“We’re all just one trade away from humility”.

Oh well, Oh well

So it’s the day of my Birth

If I was less of me I would be celebrating with J

But I took a good care it won’t happen


He took a good care it won’t happen


Why to celebrate life in the tallest building in Manhattan

I already burned down the one in Spain

But I’ll change

It’s time to change

No one would want to be alone on his birthday

Her birthday

Life is making copy of everything

I am this transformative force

I change wonders in people

You know, sometimes I miss you.

But free market doesn’t match sentimental

“If you want a friend, get a dog”

“You can call him Greed or Nostalgia”

“I showed you how the game works, now school’s out.”

My way or the highway: is that an American saying?

And J?

I keep him out of the abyss.

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