SAN RAMON -- A pair of Serbian brothers with dreams of making it in Hollywood are hoping they have America's next big indie film.
San Ramon filmmaker Vladimir Lisinac hopes their independent film, "Along the Roadside," will be the cinematic gem that gets plucked from film festival hopefuls and launched into mainstream movie success.
"Ultimately, the goal is to get the film into American theaters," Lisinac said. "For something like that, you need a big festival endorsement."
Lisinac is on his way toward that goal. The film premieres this month at the 41st annual Belgrade International Film Festival in Serbia.
"It's going to be wonderful going home, seeing my parents and all my cousins and friends," said Lisinac, a Serbian native. "Everyone's going to be in attendance. It's going to be very special."
The movie is truly a family affair. It was written and directed by Lisinac's brother, Zoran Lisinac, with Vladimir in the roles of producer and executive producer.
"A producer is like a CEO, and he employs everyone," said Vladimir, 31. "The executive producer is someone who finds the money to make the business run."
Both brothers came to the United States from Serbia to pursue their dreams. The 6-foot-9 Vladimir came in 2000 to play basketball at a North Carolina high school. He got a basketball scholarship to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, ultimately graduating with a degree in international business management.
Younger brother, Zoran, 29, went to the Danube Film Academy in Serbia before moving to Los Angeles in 2003. He wrote screenplays while working the desk at a Santa Monica hotel.
Vladimir's day job is working as a major market sales consultant for a payroll company. Vladimir Lisinac believes "Along the Roadside," just one of his brother's six screenplays, has the appeal to reach a broad audience.
"It's a road-trip movie," Vladimir said. "The film is about how life happens and prevents you from pursuing your dreams in some ways but then opens some side doors for you. The entire movie is set in California."
While they are thrilled about the Belgrade premiere, the brothers' dream is to get the movie into the San Francisco International Film Festival this spring. They have already pitched the movie and are waiting to hear if it has been accepted
"San Francisco is my number-one choice because it's in my backyard and the film is set in California," Vladimir said. "It will be even more special going to San Francisco because we live here. I can take my wife and kids to the premiere."
Once Zoran moved to America, the brothers focused their efforts on breaking into the movie business.
"We've always known we wanted to make movies our career," Vladimir said. "We love motion pictures. By watching so many American motion pictures, we learned English in Serbia."
Another family member who got in on the film action is Cole Bonner, a cousin of the Vladimir's wife. Bonner, a 2007 graduate of Monte Vista High School in Danville, wrote the 12 original songs in the film.
"I had a hard time accepting that my music could play a huge part in the film until I saw the trailer," Bonner said. "It really fits well with it."
Bonner, who lives in San Francisco, said Lisinac has long supported Bonner's work as a musician.
"Vladimir's always been enthusiastic about my songs," he said. "That's cool coming from someone who wants to use your songs in a different art form. I had never considered getting my music into films."
The Lisinac brothers shot the film at 30 locations in just 32 days. San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and Pleasanton's Tommy T's Comedy Steakhouse are featured in the flick. The brothers picked eight YouTube phenoms and a couple of Hollywood actors as stars. The 32-day film shoot was a grueling schedule with each day presenting new challenges, Zoran said from his Los Angeles home.
"You want to make a movie, but there's a whole world outside that doesn't care about your schedule, your plan, your sunset," Zoran Lisinac said. "You have to push that vision through if you care enough about it. We had to fight for everything. That's what I love about it. It definitely brings out the best in me."
Despite the struggles, the younger Lisinac -- who quit his day job in June to pursue filmmaking full-time -- is pleased with the end result and eager for audiences to see his film.
"It's definitely worth watching," he said. "I'm very proud of it. I can't wait to share it with everybody. I really think there are a lot of people out there who would like this movie. It's definitely a film that can inspire people and give them a good time at the movies."