The International Cinematographers’ Film Festival “MANAKI BROTHERS”, is the first and oldest film festival dedicated to the creativity of cinematographers across the world. It started in 1979 with the initiative of one of the main founders - MFPA/ the Macedonian Film Professionals’ Association. It was also co-organized with the Cinematheque of Macedonia and host-city of Bitola, established in honor and inspired by the abundant photographic/cinematographic opus of the MANAKI brothers: Yanaki (1878-1954) and Milton (1880-1964).
The festival grew with great potential so that after the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Macedonia, on the 8 of September, 1991 it was transformed into an International Festival of world cinemas represented with feature films, competing for the three festival awards: the Golden, Silver and Bronze Camera 300. Thus Bitola became the Mecca of the best international cinematographers, discovering many new talents who are today deemed superb wizards of film photography and cinema aesthetics. They are adorned with the awards of our festival, and at the same time recognized as glorious Oscar-winners who have strolled down the streets of Bitola, which they have considered to be an artistic hub, going back for many years.
Apart from the multitude of laureates of the awards from the CAMERA 300 competition, the Manaki Brothers is also proud of its CLUB OF GREATS, which features the greatest world masters of cinematography/photography who have been awarded the two highest, honorary awards: the "Lifetime Achievement Award Golden Camera 300" and The "Special Award Golden Camera 300" for Outstanding Contribution to World Film Art.
After the posthumously presented Golden Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement to Milton MANAKI, on the 17th edition of the Festival in 1996, and the following year, in 1997, the Golden Cameras 300 for Lifetime Achievement went to the Macedonian doyens - cinematographers Ljube PETKOVSKI and Branko MIHAJLOVSKI, while in the oncoming editions to date, laureates of these precious recognitions have been great cinematographers of world cinema art, such as: Sven NYKVIST, Henri ALEKAN, Freddie FRANCIS, Jose Luis ALCAINE, Jerzy WÓJCIK, Raoul COUTARD, Vittorio STORARO, Vadim YUSOV, Miroslav ONDŘÍČEK, Tonino Delli COLLI, Walter CARVALHO, Michael BALLHAUS, Vilmos ZSIGMOND, Billy WILLIAMS, Peter SUSCHITZKY, Dante SPINOTTI, Anatoli PETRITSKY, Luciano TOVOLI, Chris MENGES, Ryszard LENCZEWSKI, Jaromir SOFR, Bozidar Bota NIKOLIC.
While the winners of the second-in-rank award are: Christopher Doyle, Anthony Dod MANTLE, Robby MÜLLER, Bruno Delbonnel, Roger PRATT, Christian BERGER, Agnès GODARD, Luca BIGAZZI; as well as the actors: Victoria ABRIL, Daryl HANNAH, Catherine DENEUVE, Isabelle HUPPERT, Juliette BINOCHE, Bruno GANZ, Charles DANCE, Miki MANOJLOVIC, Aleksey SEREBRYAKOV and the directors: Jerzy MENZEL, Veljko BULAJIĆ, Karen SHAKHNAZAROV and Menahem GOLAN, as well as the double Academy Award winner –producer, Branko LUSTIG. Many of these great cinematographers in the role of presidents or members of the main international jury, have contributed in significantly increasing the importance of the award for the winners