Manaki Brothers - International Cinematographers’ Film Festival

From Austria to Italy and Hungary – cinematographers from multiple countries presented themselves at “Manaki Brothers” today

September 28, Bitola – Cinematographers, producers and actors from Austria, Italy and Hungary talked about their films which the audience had the chance to see as part of the festival program, and they also explained the challenges of cinematography in their countries.

The Hungarian film from the main competition “Jupiter’s Moon”, which tells an interesting story of a refugee who gains a power of levitation, caused great interest with the audience, having in mind the societal aspect of the refugee subject. The cinematographer Marcell Rev explained at the press conference that the script for the film was, in fact, written a whole year before the refugee crisis happened, and the chain of events that followed in Hungary only added to the film’s popularity and current relevance.

About the technical part of the shooting, the cinematographer explained that it was a challenge to shoot the scenes where the main character levitates, so they had to shoot with a construction crane.

-We were trying for every one of the scenes with levitating to look different and that was the main challenge of the filming. The film was mainly shot on 35mm, except in a few scenes where that was impossible to execute and we had to switch to digital technology. We wanted to create a real Eastern-European film in which all the cruelty will be captured, and with 35mm you capture exactly that rough, dirty look – said Rev.

On the other hand, in terms of the political subject, which probably had the audience most interested in, Rev explained that they tried to showcase the refugee crisis from multiple aspects.

-When you live in an immediate touch with the refugee crisis, you see both sides of the situation. You understand that that inflow of refugees seems scary to some people, especially in the economically weaker countries, and also Hungary as a country constantly heats up those fears in people. On the other hand, it is a human responsibility to help those people who had escaped from a terrifying war – said Rev.

Karin Schiefer from the Austrian Film Center, together with the cinematographer Martin Gschlacht, explained the challenges of the film industry in Austria.

Karin Schiefer, who deals with promotion of the Austrian films and their placement on the world festivals, pointed out that, sadly, it is sometimes easier to reach to the foreign market than to the domestic audience, which is very lower in numbers.

-The festivals are inevitable in the promotion process of our films. They are almost the only places where you can get the, conditionally said, smaller films to gain on viewership. It is easier for the Austrian films to achieve international success, than to get popularized on the domestic market. That is one of the questions we seek a solution for – says Schiefer.

Martin Gschalcht, who also works as a producer beside his primary vocation as a cinematographer, pointed out that the Austrian market is quite specific.

-The Austrian market is very small. It is unfeasible for a film to be made and to be placed on the market only in Austria. Another problem is that the German market is accessible to us because of the language differences, so our films have to go there with a subtitle and that is also a great limitation – explained Gschlacht.

It is the fourth time for Martin Gschlacht to be at the festival “Manaki Brothers”, and once he had even had a role of a member of the jury. This year he presented himself as a cinematographer with two of his films in the program Country in Focus with the film “Goodnight Mommy” and the dystopian film “Hidden Reserves”, on which he had achieved great visual effects despite the low budget of the film.

The Italian director Michele de Angelis and his cinematographer Ezio Gamba spoke of their surreal film “Case study: The Man in the Movie Camera”. It is a film consisted of multiple sequences, most of them in a surrealist style, which idea is to capture the nostalgia of the past century cinema.

-I am interested in old films. According to me, the film died out in the 70s and we only recreate what we have already seen ever since. Hence, this film is an homage of the old films – pointed out Michele de Angelis.

He also stated that the surreal film is the only possible film, and playing with multiple genres is his passion in the work.

-The surreal film is the only possible film. I will even go as far as saying that the only reality is the film – the film is the reality! – says De Angelis.

Sophia, the actress playing in his film, was also present by the director’s and cinematographer’s side. Michele de Angelis noticed her on the Greek coastline and simply asked her to act in his film.

-I want to thank the director for the opportunity to be here with you. I am not an actress, Michele noticed me in my homeland of Greece and simply called me to work with him – she pointed out.

The film is made in a collaboration with a Macedonian co-production team, so the post-production is entirely finished right in Macedonia. The producer Kornelija Ristevska pointed out that it is a rarity for a country as Macedonia to collaborate with larger countries because we bear significantly smaller participation in the total budget of the film, but she hopes that this collaboration with the Italian team will open other perspectives as well.

Finally, Michele de Angelis pointed out that he has relatives in Macedonia and that he would really like to shoot a film here.

-I work on another three scripts at the moment. I would want at least two of them to be filmed in Macedonia – said De Angelis.

The first part of the Short Film program was shown yesterday with films that participate in the competition for the Small Golden Camera 300, and today the second part will be shown.

A few representatives of the teams that worked on the Macedonian short films – participants in the competition were guests at the press conference. The youngest one amongst them was Monika Boshkovikj, the girl that acted in “Iron Story”, a film directed by Zlatko Kalenikov.

The director explained that even though it a serious and socially sensitive theme, he chose to film it from a child perspective, so that in the end he gets a bright and optimistic product.

-I am aware that this bright, naïve form isn’t always receptive for the film festivals, but my goal was to put the emphasis on the naivety of the child perspective and to make a happy-end-story, filmed in bright and clear colors that are used in filming of children’s films – explained Kalenikov.

Ivana Shekutovska, producer at “Stream On Film”, said that this film is a debut work of their production company and has hopes for further collaborations with the team.

The short film “Ambi” directed by Marija Apcevska, which was screened yesterday, touches the subject of alcoholism.

-The film script is done with no exact goal, it is simply a matter of story that I wanted to tell, and this is my second collaboration with Vlatko Samoilovski behind the camera – pointed out Apcevska.

The cinematographer Naum Doksevski presented himself with two films in the Short Film competition this year. One of them is in collaboration with the director Dina Duma, and the other one with Goran Stolevski.

-I had an opportunity to see the two film on the same night for the first time and to compare them. They are truly drastically different films, where I used a different filming approach, in accordance with the directors’ ideas. In Duma’s film I used steady shots to capture the atmosphere, and with Stolevski, we shot with a handheld camera to capture that documentary approach of closeness to the actors – said Doksevski.

The producer Marija Dimitrova from “Krug Film”, who collaborated with Dina Duma, pointed out that they haven’t yet tried to apply for support from the Macedonian Film Agency for the short and more experimental films and they make them in collaboration with other production companies from Macedonia.

-We have never tried because we know we can make them in collaboration with the other productions. I personally think that they aren’t paying attention to such short and more experimental films, at least not yet. It might open up as a segment in the next period, one that the Agency will develop, because I think that our cinematography needs such films, because they bring along some freshness and diversity, a new way of thinking – said Dimitrova.

The actress Sara Klimoska gave to everyone the greeting of the director Goran Stolevski, who wasn’t present in Bitola, expressing the pleasure of working with him, because she thinks that he is a great and serious director with potential for much success in the future.

Four short films of film students from Romania were screened at yesterday’s student program. Present from the directors of the films were Teona Galgotiu and Bogdan Marinescu, who through a conversation with the audience explained the ideas and motives of shooting their films. The Romanian cinematography was also discussed, and the young students explained that solely propaganda films were shot in pre-revolution Romania, but that had changed afterwards.

The film “Hidden Reserves” from the Focus – Austria program was screened after the student program, and before the screening itself, a greeting was sent by the Austrian ambassador Renate Kobler, which was given to the audience by Valentina Ilieva.

In collaboration with First Films First at the 38th edition of ICFF “Manaki Brothers”, a Master Class was also held by the world renowned production designer Maria Djurkovic, who had so far worked as a production designer on about thirty films, amongst which are the cult films “Billy Elliot”, “The Hours”, “Mamma Mia”, and she also has numerous nominations and prizes at British and European festivals.

During the Master Class, Djurkovic focused on the work with the director Stephen Daldry on the production design of the films “Billy Elliot” and “The Hours”. In terms of creating the set for a film, Djurkovic explained that every detail of the set is part of the “bigger picture”, i.e. it has an impact in defining the characters in the film and it emphasizes the act in the film. In terms of films where multiple historical periods are interwoven, as in “The Hours”, she tends to unite the different periods in one visual aesthetic.

In today’s program, the Russian film “How Viktor Garlic Took Alexey the Stud to the Nursing Home” and the Hungarian film “On Body and Soul” will be screened in the main competition. The film “Album” is in the European Perspectives program, and from the Country in Focus program, the Danish “Key House Mirror”. In honor of the Manaki brothers, there will be a screening of the film “Manaki – A Story in Pictures” by the director Robert Jankuloski.