September 22, Bitola – Tonight in front of the Center for Culture in Bitola, together with the public from Bitola, the Oscar-winner Roger Deakins and the acting diva Claudia Cardinale walked the red carpet. Bitola was the center of the film world tonight.
The performance at the opening ceremony, directed by Srgjan Janikijevikj, this year passed in a light of the magic of film and was devoted to the festival’s motto “Hats Off”. The actress Jelena Jovanova then took on the presenter’s role and introduced the awards.
The full hall at the Center for Culture greeted this year’s laureates with standing ovations, amongst who was the Macedonian actress Milica Stojanova who was awarded the Big Star of Macedonian Film, awarded by the Macedonian Film Professionals Association.
Gena Teodosievska, ICFF Manaki Brothers director, was the first one to greet the attending film art lovers.
-It is not at all easy to stand here tonight before you, the ones who work on film, it is not easy to be a director of this Festival because I have behind me the ones who traced the path of this festival. Certainly, the result that comes this year are 95 films in 14 programs, a result created for 39 years, Teodosievska said.
She gave her gratitude to the Macedonian Film Professionals Association, the Macedonian Film Agency and all the filmmakers who let their films be part of our program.
-They say the film should belong to everyone. And that is also what I want. But they also say that knowledge will save the world. I don’t say that meaninglessly because I think that someone’s knowledge has brought us up until now to this 39th edition and I think that we will make that knowledge even greater from the 40th edition on, the director Teodosievska pointed out.
The mayor Natasha Petrovska welcomed the attendees in Bitola on behalf of the host city Bitola and its residents.
-The festival is significant for the people of Bitola, but also significant for the whole world because it affirms the way you can defy time and affirms that even the fourth dimension has relativity. A good picture can quite skillfully capture the moment, brake the transience, spatter through eternity, as nothing else could. Therefrom comes my deepest bow to all cinematographers, but also to our award recipients tonight who confirm that these values are ones to which we should not only bow, but send them to eternity. Enjoy the seven festival nights because life is too short, Petrovska addressed.
The recipient of the Golden Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement, the modest camera wizard Roger Deakins received the award from the festival director Gena Teodosievska. She pointed out that the cinematographers are like real stars during shooting and it is hard to get to them, and thanked for the opportunity given to the festival to host Roger this evening in Bitola.
-Standing here in front of you I feel as though I am on the wrong side of the camera. I would rather be behind it. I think that the Festival lasts as many years as I shoot films. I am very happy that I am part of this history because I know so many people who were here before, but I didn’t have the possibility to come so far. I am overjoyed to become part of this history, Deakins said.
The award Special Golden Camera 300 for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema Art was given to Claudia Cardinale by the Minister for Culture Asaf Ademi.
She gave a short addressing where she gave her gratitude for the award, said it is beautiful and thanked the Festival for awarding her.
The Macedonian actress Milica Stojanova, who is this year’s laureate of the award Big Star of Macedonian Film, awarded by the Macedonian Film Professionals Association, received her award from Igor Ivanov Izi, president of the MFPA.
-In less than 2 years from now, the Macedonian Film Professionals Association will have its 70-year jubilee of existence, and in just a year from now we will celebrate 40 years of our top priority and our biggest project, the Manaki Brothers Film Festival.
Big Star of Macedonian Film was so far a privilege of the ones shining behind the silver screen. We have made an exception this year. We present the award to an actress, one who managed to shine on the silver screen besides all the stigmatization of the woman in the Balkan, especially in the Macedonian cinematography, Igor Ivanov, director of the MFPA, said at the presenting of the award.
Giving her gratitude for the given recognition, Stojanova pointed out that the MFPA have succeeded in acknowledging her efforts in front of the camera, having her become a laureate of this prestigious award.
-This award means a lot to me because the acting in front of the camera differs from the one in the theater, but it is the equal artistic challenge. I give my gratitude to all the film and TV directors who gave the opportunity to come together with the lives of various people in front of the cameras, Stojanova said.
President Gjorgje Ivanov, the patron of the festival, wasn’t able to attend the Festival, so he sent his greetings and congratulations to all the award recipients from the film world via telegram, and gave his best wishes to the film lovers to have a fulfilling stay in Bitola and unforgettable moments in front of the silver screen.
-The festival days ahead are a festivity for Bitola and for our whole country. I believe that this year as well we will present ourselves with upmost dignity and promote the Macedonian cinematography and Macedonian culture in general. We are honored that we have great masters of the world cinematography at the Manaki Brothers festival this year as well, which is certainly another sign of the significance and the greatness of the festival.
After the award ceremony, the attendees had the opportunity to see the world and the Macedonian premiere of the short film The Lover, directed by Igor Ivanov Izi, followed by the greeting of the film crew: Tomi Salkovski, Dejan Dimeski, Natalija Teodosieva, Sasho Petrovski, Marija Apchevska.
In honor of the Golden Camera 300 laureate, the cinematographer Roger Deakins, the opening ceremony film was the Blade Runner 2049, which landed him the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.
Roger Deakins wore his festival shirt. At the red carpet and opening ceremony, Roger Deakins wore an elegant suit with the festival logo shirt underneath, having the people of Bitola notice that and have pictures taken with him, whereas he posed in the Manaki Brothers shirt with pleasure and with great patience.