Official name: Macedonia
GDP in Euro per capita: $10,718
Currency: Macedonian denar (MKD); (1EUR = 62MKD)
Time zone: CET (UTC+1)
Calling code: +389
HISTORY OF THE MACEDONIAN FILM
The appearance of the cinema in Macedonia dates from the beginning of the 20th century. Ten years after the promotion of this new art at the famous Grande Caffe in Paris (1895), the Manaki brothers shot the first filmed scenes in the Balkans, on Macedonian soil, thus marking the expansion of the new medium.
The shots by Milton and Janaki Manaki at the beginning of their careers were in Bitola, Bar, and Avdela. Conceived as individual film episodes, these scenes of family life and collective rites and customs have preserved their documentary and ethnologic value up to the present day (these include Despa Manaki Spinning, The Celebration of Epiphany, A Fair in Ber). However, scenes of films made in the following years already announced the maturity of Milton's talent. In the documentary about the visit of Sultan Reshad to Thessaloniki and Bitola (1911), he displayed abundant documentary material in more complex genre forms (feuilleton, chronicle, and report).of the new medium.Before the Manaki brothers appeared, there had already been a number of travelling artists, whose programs included the sensational presentations of "moving pictures."
The first projection took place as early as 1896, and by the beginning of the 20th century they grew frequent.
An increasing number of projectors were owned and operated by such individuals as Milan Golubovski from Skopje and Konstantin Comu from Bitola.
In this period, the cinema careers of the Manaki brothers did not gain many supporters and successors. It was not until the Ilinden Uprising and post-llinden events that Macedonia became an area of interest for foreign film-makers. Patte staged scenes of bloodshed in Macedonia, wishing to direct attention to the resistance of the Macedonian people. Much more valuable to the historian than these stage-managed massacres and atrocities are the authentic documentary films about the battles at Bregalnica and Skopje, made by the cameramen of Patti, Gaumont, and other Austro-Hungarian and German companies.
In the interwar period, Macedonia occasionally spawned film enthusiasts, such as Arsenie Jovakov and Georgi Zankov, authors of the documentary Macedonia (1923), and vigorous professionals such as Riste Zerdeski — actor, cameraman, producer, and creator of the feature film The Two of Them in Zagreb.
A greater degree of organisation in the programmes was introduced in the 1930s by the Skopje Public Health Institute. Their list included a considerable number of stories with didactic themes, as well as the feature film Malaria, filmed in 1932. In this period, the documentary director Blagoja Drnkov began his prolific film-making career, leaving behind a rich collection of works with high ethnological and historical value: notably, the Bombing of Bitola and The Gliders’ Meeting in Skopje, both from 1940.
In 1945, the first institution for organised production, distribution, and display of films in Macedonia, FIDIMA, was founded. This was the beginning of mobilisation of the Macedonian film industry. It has continued to the present day, although not without productive and qualitative unevenness.
A large number of Macedonian film-makers were integrated in the production house Vardar Film (established in 1947). Here, the emphasis was on making films with historical content and themes. The historical spectacle remained, for a long time, one of the preoccupations of the directors and producers; the doyen of post-war documentary film, Trajce Popov, likewise gave his contribution to the promotion of this genre (Macedonian Blood Wedding, 1967). Directors of the younger generations followed this lead, such as Ljubisa Georgievski (A Blazing Republic, 1969), Kiril Cenevski (Bitterness, 1975), and directors who had often been guests of Vardar Film, such as Zika Mitrovic (Miss Stone, 1958).
The films are often interwoven with the theme of war: Frosina, 1952 (the first Macedonian feature film), The Macedonian Share of Hell, 1971, Black Seed, 1971 (where Kiril Cenevski was discovered, winner of The Golden Arena in Pula, and acknowledgment at the International Festival in Moscow). War films like The Price of the City, 1970 made use of the motifs of ancient legends, while the drama of The Wolves' Night, 1955, recognised the spirit of moral stoicism, skepticism, and fighting asceticism.
Macedonian films demonstrated much greater creative thought, originality of ideas, and boldness of poetics in the part of production which treated issues of contemporary moral behavior. For modern dilemmas and temptations, analogies are looked for in the past: Time Without a War, 1969, by Branko Gapo, used Biblical analogies to link the fates of the father and the son in two different social environs — the war and the peacetime period. Stole Popov used the themes of the exodus of the Macedonian population (The Red Horse, 1981), the tragic period of the Cominform, when ideals were lost along with the disintegration of the homogeneous communities like that of the family (Happy New 1949, 1986, winner of The Golden Arena in Pula), and the degradation of the individual to the point of physical destruction (Tattooing, 1991).
Close to both the thematic and creative position of these films was the feature debut of Vladimir Blazevski, Hi-Fi, in 1987, followed by debuts in single episodes of the film Light-Grey, 1993, of Aleksandar Popovski, Srgjan Janicievic, and Darko Mitrevski. An outstanding success was achieved by Milco Mancevski with BEFORE THE RAIN, a Macedonian, English, and American co-production, winning The Golden Lion at the Venice Festival (1994) and more than 20 other awards and acknowledgments at international festivals worldwide. This film was nominated for Oscar in 1994.
It is worth noting that Macedonian motion pictures have included a wide range of themes: comedies (Peaceful Summer, 1961, by Dimitrie Osmanli); thrillers (A Visa to the Evil, 1959); melodramas (Stand Up, Delfina, 1977, by Aleksandar Gjurcinov); social plays (Thirst, 1971, by Dimitrie Osmanli); and prison films (Tattooing, 1991, by Stole Popov). Macedonian directors and animators have achieved significant success in the production of documentaries and animated films. Recent short films include several distinguished creations, which can be easily considered as world treasures. In terms of the eternal nature of the problems treated, films like Border, 1962, by Branko Gapo, Fire, 1974 and Dae, 1979, by Stole Popov (winner of a Grand-Prix in Oberhausen and an Oscar nomination), A Cudgel, 1973, by Laki Cemcev, The Sixth Player, 1976, by Koco Nedkov, The Twelve From Papradnik, 1965, by Dimitrie Osmanli, Golgotha, 1979, by Meto Petrovski, Tulgesh, 1977, by Kole Manev, Liquidator, 1983, by Trajce Popov meet, to a considerable extent, the production paradoxes which usually follow the unimpeded development of the documentary film.
This vital current was supplemented by the movement which was promoted in the early 1970s by a group of animators who, after the expansive presentations at the Yugoslav and International film festivals, found themselves on the defence. Their response, the works created by Darko Markovic (Stop, 1976, A Hand, 1980), Petar Gligorovski (Adam. 5 to 12, 1977, Phoenix, 1976), and Boro Pejcinov (Resistance, 1978), will most likely remain as lasting guarantees of the potential abilities of Macedonian animators to find appropriate creative expression for their affinities. This dimension of creation can extend to a considerable extent to the remaining part of the feature and documentary production of the Macedonian film.
The International festival of filming camera “Manaki Brothers” in Bitola is organized by the Macedonian Film Professionals’ Association (MFPA).
Founded on May 21st 1950, MFPA represents the interests of film professionals and film authors of the country. In spite of defending its members’ rights and interests, MFPA encourages the professional development and growth of film creativity in the Republic of Macedonia. The Association aims to strengthen the Macedonian cinematography and to ensure its continuity amid different activities. Through the years, MFPA offers significant contribution to the Macedonian cinema and affirms world film art here in our country. One of the main activities of MFPA is the International Cinematographers Film Festival “Manaki Brothers”
Each year, the ICFF “Manaki Brothers” is held in Bitola under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Macedonia and is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia. The remarkable festival is attractive to both film professionals and film fans from all over the world.
The main part of the Festival’s program is “Camera 300” – an Official Competition of Feature Films from the most recent European and global production.
The Festival of European Film CineDays, which is annually held in Skopje usually around mid November, is a festival which celebrates the diversity of European cinema. The focus of the festival program centers on the promotion and the projection of the European cinematography as well as the discovery of young and talented European authors. It has become the festival’s tradition to open and close with the very best films of Cannes Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival respectively. Launched in 2001, the festival has grown to become a meeting place for filmmakers and film goers to exchange knowledge or share cultural experience, accompanied by the array of events, activities, social and educational projects and workshops which are all part of the festival.
The International Film Festival "AsterFest" is a festival of film authors. Starting from 2005, the festival has been held in city of Strumica annually each year. "AsterFest" has a review program in other cities as well, and is also internationally presented. It is held annually, usually around the end of May. The filmmakers compete in three categories: the "Star Documents" category (on new creative documentaries), the "Global Fiction" category - short fiction films from recent worldwide production, the "Animotion" category - world animations and the "Movieland" category on shorts (each year presenting a different country). The main festival awards are: Golden, Silver and Bronze Horseshoe as well as Aster Award for Lifetime achievements. "AsterFest" is organized by the Association "Tiberiopolian Film Alliance – Institute for Shorts & Docs". "AsterFest" is an interesting new festival in the region which primarily targets professional short-length films and documentaries.
SKOPJE FILM FESTIVAL
The Skopje Film Festival, with its rich and diverse program, consisting of the latest European and global cinematographic releases, is a meeting point for the traditional achievements of eminent film authors on one hand, and a sharp consuming audience, on the other. Over 950 films have been presented, with an audience of over 160.000 viewers over the last 12 years, which leads to the fact that this festival is the most frequented cultural event in Skopje. The Macedonian viewers have had the opportunity to watch exceptional works of: Lars fon Trier, Wong Kar Wai, Thomas Vinterberg, Todd Solondz, Kim Ki-duk, Takeshi Kitano, Aki Kaurismaki. Moreover, they have had the chance to discover: Gaspar Noe, Javier Fesser, to experience the magic of Korean filmmakers: Kim Jee-Woon, Park Chan-Wook, Kang Je-gyu, to feel the extraordinary charm of Scandinavian production: Lukas Moodysson, Petter Naess, Bent Hamer, to continually have access to contemporary Latin-American cinematography, to find out more on the newest Iranian films. Each year the audience shows a great interest in following the programs of short films, musicals, documentary films as well as the regional program which presents the most significant achievements in the region.
The festival organizes lectures and workshops, and from the last 12 editions we can point: Stephen and Timothy Quay, Igor Toshevski, Jean Samouillan, master class by movie magnus Peter Greenaway, and the workshop of The Script Factory-Europe’s first script development organization. Skopje Film Fest has had the honor to host exceptional directors such as: Aktan Abdykalvkov, Fatmir Koci, Julian Temple, Jafar Panahi, Javier Fesser. The Macedonian audience has also had the opportunity to meet with: Slavko Shtimac, Nina Persons, Neithan Larson, Srdjan Todorovich, the selectors of Berlin International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Zagreb Film Festival, Sofia Film Fest, and Warsaw Film Festival. Skopje Film Festival, as a part of the European coordination of film festivals, is supported each year by the Ministry of Culture and City of Skopje as main patrons of the manifestation
MakeDox is inspired and financed by people who love documentaries. People with a great will to create their own festival.
Films which speak through their relevance, idea, message, thought, inner cry… which stratify, but do not insist on changing, which dig up the roots and penetrate daringly without worrying about the soil and the dirt… which don’t tend to wash things out or sort things through so that they could look better… And they do it in their own, powerful, unique way… they intrigue you, make you think, make you tremble… they might even change you against your will. That’s the kind of documentary films we focus on.
“Animax Skopje Fest” is the first animated film festival in Macedonia. The festival aims to unite and encourage all animators in the Republic of Macedonia and to facilitate verification and presentation worthy of their creative potential and product.
This festival aims to raise and build culture in terms of making animated films for adults and children who present different aspects of everyday life. The main reason to organize an international festival of animated film in the Republic of Macedonia, is the desire and need for this animated film to get a wide door in Macedonia.
The festival is the right address for anyone interested in animation as a way of communication, as a way of expanding horizons, as an effort to support a cultural form and spend leisure time in creative and constructive way, as part of a global trend of creative industries in Europe and the world. “Animax Skopje Fest” is organized by the production company “Auripigment”, in collaboration with the Association of Citizens Creative Center “Tintiri - Mintiri” of Skopje, Macedonia, with the support of Ministry of Culture of Republic of Macedonia.
Animax Skopje Fest is held in November each year. The festival is by nature competitive and is open to animators from around the world.
OSFAF is an international festival of non-professional film which is held in Skopje, Macedonia (Part of Former Yugoslavia). OSFAF stands as an acronym for the: Universal Yugoslav Students’ Festival of Amateur Film, or Universal Students’ Festival of Amateur Film. OSFAF has a long tradition. The Academic Cinema Club used to be the organizer of the festival. Unfortunately, with the break of former Yugoslavia ACC stopped organizing the festival. OSFAF was a festival with a global reputation and a very important film festival in former Yugoslavia. The festival was a member of the International Association of Film and Video Festivals – IAFV.