Tamara Koteska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s film “Honeyland” from North Macedonia and “The Physics of Sorrow” by Bulgarian-born Canadian filmmaker Theodore Ushev have been shortlisted as potential Oscar nominees.
“Honeyland” has been shortlisted in two categories, for Documentary Feature Film and also for International Feature Film, formerly known as Foreign Language Film.
The film centres on Hatidze Muratova, a rural beekeeper who, along with her ill, 85-year-old mother, Nazife, are the only people left in an abandoned and isolated mountain Macedonian village.
The film turns into an environmental allegory, when Hatidze’s in-tune-with-nature approach to beekeeping, guided by the principle of “take half [of the honey]and leave half [for the bees]”, comes into conflict with her neighbours and their more profit-focused endeavour – driven by the need to generate an income for the family.
“Honeyland” entered the shortlist of ten films in the running to be nominated for International Feature Film, out of 91 candidates.
It is North Macedonia’s first shortlisting for Oscar since 1994, when Milcho Manchevski’s Venice Golden Lion winner Before the Rain was the first Macedonian film ever nominated for the prestigious award.
Bulgarian-born Ushev’s “The Physics of Sorrow” also made an impression by qualifying among the contenders for animated shorts at the Academy awards.
The film is based on the popular novel of the same name by award-winning Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov and follows the life of a man sifting through memories as he struggles to find his sense of self, home, family.
It comes just two years after another of Uschev’s films, “The Blind Vaysha”, which is also based on one of Gospodinov’s stories, received an Oscar nomination.
The final list of nominees will be announced on January 13. The 92nd Academy Awards are about to take place in February 10.