Manaki Brothers - International Cinematographers’ Film Festival

The filmmakers at “Manaki Brothers”: We have a responsibility to appeal to the important subjects in the society

September 26, Bitola – The fourth festival day of “Manaki Brothers” passes in the light of the great cinematographer names. Master Class with Christian Berger in collaboration with First Film First, a film projection for the youngest audiences, as well as a great selection of films for the film lovers of European cinema and documentary films.

The artistic director of the festival Gena Teodosievska presented this year’s jury who will be judging the cinematographers of the films from the main competition for “Golden Camera 300”. President of the jury is Paul Rene Roestad from Norway, and the other members are Luca Coassin from Italy, Jani-Petteri Passi from Finland, Macedonian director Darijan Pejovski and Erol Zubcevic from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The president of the jury Paul Rene Roestad pointed out that it is no easy job to judge such good cinematographers, and according to him, that is like picking out of masterpieces of Van Gogh or Rembrandt, but for that cause they have three criteria which will guide them in their choice:

-We first judge the framing, then the use of light and, of course, the creativity of the cinematographer – said Paul Rene, adding that he is lucky and honored that he is present at the festival in Bitola, which, according to him, is the most charming film festival he has visited.

In terms of the experience of being part of a jury, all members agreed that it is no easy job to judge the work of another cinematographer, and that they can learn a lot in the process themselves.

-When you survey the way in which the young cinematographers translate the language of the director into emotions, you inevitably learn yourself – says Luca Coassin.

Jani-Petteri Passi, last year’s recipient of the “Golden Camera 300”, pointed out that by detecting other people’s mistakes he pays attention not to repeat them himself later, and Darijan Pejovski said that it is an interesting experience to be the only director in a jury consisted of cinematographers.

Luca Coassin was pleasantly surprised when Gena Teodosievska handed to him the Small Golden Camera 300 at the end of the press conference, which he won at last year’s edition of “Manaki Brothers” in the short film competition for the French film “The Park”, but the statuette never made it to his arms by now.

The film “The Frog”, which was screened as part of the official competition, was greeted greatly and with awe by the Macedonian audience. The story of coping with the post-war trauma of the main character, done according to the script by Pjer Zalica and Elmir Jukic, achieved great success with its film version, as well as the version before – as a theater play. The producer Ademir Kenovic, the Macedonian cinematographer Dejan Dimeski, the director Elmir Jukic and the co-producer Tomi Salkovski talked about the film.

A Macedonian team also worked on “The Frog”, as part of a complex co-production between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.

The producer Ademir Kenovic got into the project because he thinks that the post-war stress is a subject which is very significant for this region, but these such subjects in films shouldn’t have a goal to scare people, but on the contrary, to get something positive out of it:

-Right when I saw the theater play “The Frog” I thought that this needs to be seen by many more people, and I was overjoyed that the circumstances came together in such a way to make this film which the people can identify with and experience it as a kind of a collective therapy. We as filmmakers have the responsibility to address these subjects and to try hard to move things in the society to the better with what we work – said Kenovic.

The producer Tomi Salkovski said that he is oversaturated with post-war films, but as he got to the end of the script he realized that this is, in fact, an optimistic film for a new beginning:

-This is an important subject which proves that we have strength in us and we can start over. I am filled with joy that all the ex-YU states saw the importance of the subject and came in as co-producers. The Macedonian part of the team participated with its own crew of cameramen and in the area of sound – said Salkovski.

The director Elmir Jukic pointed out that the story is not margined on the Balkans at all, but would work perfectly well in a broader context as well.

In terms of his part of the job, the cinematographer Dejan Dimeski pointed out that it was a challenge to work in an enclosed room with many windows and mirrors and with long takes which would capture the energy and the performance of the actors – to who the shooting has been adjusted.

Rainer Klausmann, the cinematographer who has been working only in a tandem with the director Fatih Akin in the last few years, with his last film “In the Fade” was perceived with great interest from the festival audience with its theme, as well as the quality of this new achievement by Akin. Klausmann is a previous winner of the “Golden Camera 300” with the film on which he also worked together with Fatih Akin “Head On”, and he also participated at the festival before with the film “The Edge of Heaven”.

On the question of how did he achieve the quality of the film, Klausmann answered that he can point out a few things as most significant:

-For a film as this one you need a good script, then a good director and, of course, good actors. The actress Diane Kruger had a really stunning performance, which surprised me, to be honest, because I had never been met with her work before – said Klausmann.

As a cinematographer, he has quite an interesting approach towards the work, and he says that he works more with his guts that with his brains.

-I don’t have a rigid concept in my work. If something has been planned ahead, but the circumstances on set require a change, then I make a change right away. Honestly, I work more with my guts then with my brains – says Klausmann.

About the exclusivity that he has in the work with director Fatih Akin, he explained that he had to make a choice, and with that director they had most understanding and they functioned great as a team:

-In one period of my career I had too much work, I was seeing the team more than I was seeing my wife and I had to make a decision at one moment. I decided to work only with Fatih and not to accept working with other directors because he is certainly a great director in every way – concluded Klausmann.

The legendary French master of cinematography Pierre Lhomme, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award “Golden Camera 300” at the 38th ICFF “Manaki Brothers”, talked about his film work in the small hall of the Center for Culture. The talk with Lhomme was led by the English filmologist Nigel Walters.

-To be a cinematographer is a serious job and is no joke because the people who are included in making films invest their whole life in it, and here I don’t only think about cinematographers, but also about directors, actors, editors, producers, and all these aren’t filmmakers, but they are cinema makers.

Lhomme explained that if you want to work with making films you have to know the most important part, and that is the camera. Although he was interested in music at the start, especially jazz, he realized he had no such talent and enthusiastically committed himself to the film camera, shooting documentaries through Paris at the beginning, for that in the present time he had become one of film history’s most significant cinematographers.

From the main competition for the “Golden Camera 300” on September 26th, the films “Felicite” and “Loveless” will be shown. The film “Viktoria” is in the European Perspectives program, and in the documentary program there is the film “Operation Wedding”. From the Country in Focus program, the film lovers will see the Austrian film “Night of a 1000 Hours” and the Danish film “Long Story Short”.