The new feature film "The Happiest Man in the World" by director Teona Strugar Mitevska has been selected in the official competition program of the Venice Film Festival, where it will have its world premiere.
Macedonian cinema returns to the Venice Film Festival after almost thirty years with the film "The Happiest Man in the World" directed by Teona Strugar Mitevska. This is the first participation of Macedonia with a majority project in one of the official competition programs of one of the three biggest festivals in the world - Venice.
After the success of "Before the Rain", Milco Mancevski had the honor to open the festival with his next film "Prashina". Finally after a long time, we have a film in Venice again, this time in the Horizons program, where Teona S. Mitevska will compete for the awards for best director, best film, roles and other important awards.
– Personally, I have a very strong sentimental connection with the Venice Festival. There, as a teenager, I stepped on the red carpet for the first time and was irrevocably enchanted and so far I have not returned with my own film project and, of course, I feel incredible excitement at the very thought that "The Happiest Man in the World" by Teona Strugar Mitevska is taking me back to Lido, at one of the three most significant and prestigious festivals in the world. This time we have been invited to the prestigious, author-oriented program "Horizons" and it somehow confirms to us that Teona`s persistence to speak with her own film language is intriguing for the world`s biggest film gatherings - said Labina Mitevska, actress and producer of the film, at the press conference of which the good news was announced.
The film is a co-production between Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Belgium, BiH and Denmark. The development and production is supported by the Film Agency, Creative Europe – MEDIA, Eurymage, the Danish Film Institute, Belgium Tax Shelter, the Croatian Audiovisual Center and the Sarajevo Film Fund. The budget of the film is 1.450.000 euros, including 487.000 euros from the Macedonian Film Agency.
The film was shot on locations in Skopje, mostly in an adapted space at the NUB "St. Kliment Ohridski", during five weeks, as well as one week in Sarajevo. The co-screenwriter of the film is Elma Tataragić, the director of photography is Virginie St. Maarten from Belgium, the scenography is by Vuk Mitevski, the costumes are by Teona`s long-time collaborator from Slovenia, Monika Lorber, and the make-up is by Mojca Gorogranc Petrushevska. The editor of the film is Per Kirkegaard from Denmark, and the sound designer is Ingrid Simon from Belgium. The casting is by Kirijana Nikolovska, the first assistant director is Raša Petrović, and the director of the film is Elena Stanisheva.
– I see this film as a symphony of choreographed movements that unravel layers of emotions, slowly enveloping the viewer to the point of vertigo. The location is key: a hotel in the style of the eighties, a witness to the architectural style of the former Yugoslavia: concrete brutalism or modernism, and then there is the wounded city of Sarajevo, a testimony to the open wounds and pains of the past. Here the questions arise, what defines us: our ethnic, religious or gender affiliation? What separates us or unites us? This is a story about the unpredictability of life, the chance encounters between the attacker and the victim, the revival of the painful past; this is a story about impossible connections, about love and absurdity. The film begins as a humorous excursion and develops into a mountain of layered experiences. The film is based on a true story, directly from the author of the script, ElmaTataragic - as stated in the director`s explanation by Teona S. Mitevska.
The main roles in the film are played by Jelena Kordić Kuret and Adnan Omerović, and the other roles are played by Labina Mitevska, Ana Kostovska, Nikolina Kujača, Firdauz Nebi, Cevdet Jashari and Zorica Nusheva from Macedonia, Ksenia Marinković from Croatia, Izudin Bajrović, Irma Alimanović, Vedrana Bozinovic, Mona Muratovic, Sinisa Vidovic, Kemal Rizvanovic from BiH.
- The selection in the competition program of the Venice Festival for "The Happiest Man in the World" is a huge success, in itself. We expect, first of all, an excellent presentation, but we also hope for awards, because we believe in this film project - said the director of the Film Agency, Bojan Lazarevski.
Source: Sloboden Pechat