Manaki Brothers - International Cinematographers’ Film Festival

The Festival “Manaki Brothers”: Master-class for Rotunno, guests of the “Directions” crew and the ARRI company

24.09.2017 Bitola – The team of “Directions”, a film which opened the 38th edition of “Manaki Brothers”, which is also a part of the main selection, present at today’s press conference

Part of the team of the film “Directions”, a Macedonian-Bulgarian-German co-production, was present at the press-conference: the cinematographer Veselin Hristov, the co-producers from the Macedonian production house “Sektor Film”, Vladimir Anastasov and Angela Nestorovska, the actors Trojan Gogov and Borislava Stratieva, as well as the make-up artist Martin Pavlovski and the costume designer Zhaklina Krstevska.

The producer from “Sektor Film”, Angela Nestorovska, said that this is not their first collaboration with the director Stefan Komandarev, because their production house already collaborated with him on the film “The Judgement” and hopes that the collaboration will continue in the future. 

– The world premiere of the film “Directions” was already screened in Cannes, in the section “Un certain Regard“; the film was also part of the official program in Sarajevo, as well as part of Toronto Film Festival. The next premieres are expected in Bulgaria at the “Golden Rose” film festival and Hamburg, Germany – said Nestorovska.

Vladimir Anastasov emphasized that the film was low-budget, filmed with only 600.000 euros, but very successful in regards to the festival and distribution impact.  

– After the premiere here in Bitola, the film will be distributed throughout Macedonia; the film will be shown for the Bitola public and afterwards in Skopje and in other cities as well. The film is already sold in France, China and Turkey, and many other countries are interested in it. ARRI did will in the distribution of the film; we are very content with the festival and distribution impact that we have so far.

The cinematographer Veselin Hristov said that the shooting of the film was challenging, because it was done in nighttime, in a very claustrophobic space of a moving taxi vehicle with long shots.

-The filming was finished quite fast, in about two weeks. One shot lasts around ten minutes and that is why the shooting went fast, we were filming one scene per night. Shots in a vehicle and night shots are very difficult, so we used a small ARRI camera, “ALEXA Mini”. We wanted the whole film to look like a documentary, which is why we decided to film with a handheld camera that can constantly follow the actors in and out of the vehicle – explained the cinematographer Hristov. 

The actress Borislava Stratieva says that it was a great honor for her to work with Komandarev; “Directions” is her first feature film. 

-I went through a great psychological and physical transformation during the shooting of the film; we were pushed over the edge, it was a really hard day. I even went as far as to hurt my finger, which is why there was blood in the taxi – says Stratieva.

The actor Trojan Gogov recalled even more interesting details from the shooting.

-The role was a great psychological test for me. My part is in a scene with a suicidal man who jumps from a bridge. I consulted the best psychologist and criminologist in Bulgaria for the part, so I can find more about the phases a suicidal man goes through – said Gogov. 

The costume designer Zhaklina Krstevska and the make-up artist Martin Pavlovski were the ones present from the Macedonian part of the team. Both of them expressed their contentment as a result of working in the film as well as the great collaboration they had with the director and the whole team.

The script of the film is a result of a research conducted by the director Stefan Komandarev, who spent more than 12.000 km riding in a taxi in Sofia. The story is a conglomerate of the stories he heard from the taxi-drivers, explained the producer Angela Nestorovska.

-The scene with the murder is made after a real event that happened approximately ten years ago in Burgas; the character of the priest who drives the taxi is also made after real people, because in Sofia there are three taxi-drivers who work like priests during the day, while at nighttime they earn money by driving a taxi – explained Nestorovska. 

Right after the presentation of the guests of “Directions”, the artistic director of the festival, Gena Teodosievska, talked with Clemens Danzer, a representative of the global company within the motion picture media industry – ARRI. ARRI is celebrating its 100-year anniversary since its creation. The company was formed in 1917, in Munich, Germany, where the headquarters is still located today. ARRI is a leading designer and manufacturer of camera and lighting systems for the film and broadcast industry, with a worldwide distribution and service network.

-I am very excited to be here. This is my first time in Macedonia and I am sorry I can’t speak your language yet, but I hope I will come here more often and that will change. What I really like about the festival is that it’s focused on the cinematographers, I think that is very special compared with the rest of the festivals in Europe. The cinematographers are the people that enable the magic of the film and that convey the emotion – said Danzer.

Further on he said that the heart of ARRI, the company in which he works for 26 years now, are in fact the engineers who constantly work on innovations and the bettering of the equipment for shooting films which sets ARRI as a leader in the world market, especially with the new mini camera ALEXA, which is used by more and more cinematographers as a main camera for shooting films, although it was initially considered as a smaller, secondary camera.

The master-class with Luca Coassin is also being held today, honoring the laureate Giuseppe Rotunno. Regarding the film part of the program, the film “Spoor” in the competition for “Golden Camera 300” will be screened tonight, directed by Agnieszka Holland and Kasia Adamik, and shot by the cinematographers Jolanta Dylewska and Rafal Paradowski.

From the documentary program the film “Dancing Beethoven” is also being screened today, as well as two films from this year’s countries in focus – Austria and Denmark; “Ugly” directed by Juri Rechinsky and “Rosita” directed by Frederikke Aspöck.

After the press-conference, the guests and journalists had the chance to try authentic Macedonian products, such as ajvar, lutenica, quality cheese from Hina and Bitolska Mlekara, as well as wine from the Tikvesh winery.