September 29, Bitola – For the finish of the 39th edition of the International Cinematographers’ Film Festival, tonight, a large number of film workers, politicians, ministers, members of MFPA, representatives of the Film Agency, Municipality of Bitola, film art lovers and the Bitola public walked the red carpet – all in the honor of the creations of the best cinematographers. They filled in the Big Hall of the Center for Culture in Bitola for the closing ceremony of the festival which started with The Lover of Igor Ivanov, and finished with Scout of Alex Cvetkov, which are pieces of the most recent film productions supported by the Film Agency and are announcing the new wave of Macedonian cinematography.
The last 8 festival days in Bitola were filled with screenings of more than 95 films in 14 programs, Master Classes with Roger Deakins and Claudia Cardinale, the energies of the cinematogrpahers from the Balkans gathered at one place at IMAGO, but the most done thing was watching films.
This evening was an evening of awards. The creations of cinematographers were valued by Olympia Mytilinaiou, Rainer Klausmann, Mattias Troelstrup, Rebecca Fayyad Palud and Gjorche Stavreski.
-We are honored to be present at this wonderful festival which celebrates the film camera. The Manaki Brothers festival is a miraculous place where you can learn new things and create new friendships. We will bring home a wonderful experience and we hope our colleagues will get the opportunity to experience this sometime as well. We are grateful to Gena for inviting us, to Dore for the great selection and to everyone who worked hard behind the curtains. Our first decision as a jury was to rate the camerawork together with the whole quality of the film. The camerawork is equal to all elements in the film and shouldn’t disrupt the balance of the whole. We live in an era of pictures which we use to tell stories. But the hardest thing is to find the right picture, which doesn’t have to be the prettiest one. The right balanced camerawork touches feelings, but isn’t a goal in itself, the president of the jury Olympia Mytilinaiou said.
The Small Golden Camera 300 award for short film was presented by Rainer Klausmann and it was awarded to Adric Watson, an Australian cinematographer of the film All These Creatures.
-This film deals with a very important subject, it is very human, it has a wonderful storytelling and the camera perfectly complements the story. The Small Camera 300 award for a short film goes to Adric Watson for the film All These Creatures, Klausmann announced.
Gjorche Stavreski presented the Bronze Camera 300 awards, which went to the Polish cinematographer Lukasz Zal for the film Cold War.
-It was a big honor to be present at this festival. I thank Gena for convincing me to come here because I met great friends. The camerawork was one of the many brilliant aspects of this film, which portrays an epic love story. It is a film that celebrates the long tradition of cinematography and we feel that the pictures in the film are timeless. They brilliantly captured the changes in the atmosphere in the different epochs and places. That is why the Bronze Camera 300 goes to Lukasz Zal for the film Cold War, Gjorche said.
Mattias Troelstrup announced the recipient of the Silver Camera 300 which went to Eric Gautier for the film Ash is Purest White.
-We witnessed times change, as well as love and struggles, but the camera was never rushed. It was flawless and restlessly followed the film plot. It is a rebellious and intimate story, and that is what the camerawork is too. That is why the Silver Camera 300 goes to Eric Gautier for the film Ash is Purest White, Troelstrup announced.
The laureate devoted this award to Robby Muller who was his role model in his work and a great friend of the ICFF Manaki Brothers.
-I want to thank you for being invited to this wonderful festival, in this wonderful company of cinematographers and in a great selection. The camera is only one part of the film and this award is connected also to the director of the film and I would like to share it with him. It was truly a wonderful experience to shoot in China, the main actors were very inspirational, but the rest of the crew was as well. However, I would like to devote this award to one of the people who were a great inspiration of mine when I became a cinematographer, and was also a great friend of this festival, Robby Muller. If you look closely in the film, you can clearly see his influence, Gautier pointed out.
The president of the international jury Olympia Mytilinaiou announced the recipient of the Golden Camera 300 award, which went to the South Korean cinematographer Kyong-Pyo Hong for the film Burning.
-It was most beautifully told from all the festival stories we saw, beautifully made, every move of the camera transferred a feeling. A perfect combination of fun and art shot in a way which came naturally from the story. A really great deal of this camerawork is that it managed to put the audience in the head of the main actor. That is why the award goes to Kyong-Pyo Hong for the film Burning, Mytilinaiou announced.
She added that she hopes this festival will continue the good work because cinematographers from all around the world communicate here: “Thank you a lot, Bitola!”.
The festival director Gena Teodosievska believes that the film belongs to everyone and that the knowledge will save the world.
-I am taken away by all these visual sensations which streamed inside and through us. But I was most taken away by the audience in Bitola which visited all evening screenings. Thank you a lot!, Teodosievska said, thanking the selectors, the president of the MFPA, the Film Agency and the Municipality of Bitola, as well as the authors of the films, as, in her words, this work cannot be done a single person.
-I know that the day is passing by and all this will be history tomorrow. But don’t even think that we aren’t the ones making history. Every moment spent with like-minders is small, yet a small miracle at the same time. Thank you, dear audience!, Teodosievska said at the end.
The mayor of Bitola, Natasha Petrovska, greeted everyone present, thanking everyone who fully put their efforts in a successful run of yet another edition of the ICFF Manaki Brothers.
-Between the borders of day and night, between the borders of our dreams, plans and actions, we had an amazing festival week in which, through the projection of the camera, we could see someone else’s dreams and actions. Still, we didn’t have only that privilege, we had an opportunity to hang out with many filmmakers these days, many cinematographers and actors, the students who are getting ready to work in the film industry had an opportunity to meet new people and make new memories. I won’t mention a closing – let these moments, the memories from this week stay alive until the next edition, inviting you to the next 40th edition of the Manaki Brothers festival, Petrovska said.
After the premiere of the film Scout, the crew of the film bowed in front of the audience, and the director Alex Cvetkov thanked the Macedonian Film Agency and his crew for, as he said, working as one.
Right after, the screening of the film Blackkklansman, directed by Spike Lee, followed as the last film of the Camera 300 selection.