A TALK WITH MILAN JAKSHIKJ: THE RENAISSANCE EMBRYO IS A FILM INSPIRED BY THE FAMOUS MACEDONIAN FRESCO THE KURBINOVO ANGEL
In the Makpoint program at the Manaki Brothers festival, the documentary film The Renaissance Embryo is amongst the four films that will be screened on September 25. This about-30-minute documentary view of fresco painting with an alternative approach is directed by Milan Jakshikj. This is a premiere of the film, which has gone through a path lasting multiple years from the very idea to the finish of the making. We talked with Jakshikj about the initial idea, the opportunities for the young filmmakers and the working process.
Jakshikj says that this idea had come all the way back when he was still a student at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts. He had an extensive research, and the story built up by itself.
“The beginnings of this first independent project of mine date back to 2010. The idea came when I visited and had a talk with a curator at the Museum of the City of Skopje. I came across a fresco of the Kurbinovo Angel (fresco that can also be found on the 50 Macedonian denars bill) and I was informed that some big undiscovered truth lies over there. That was enough of a fact for me to keep updating and informing myself about the monastery itself, to research and inform myself of the time and the historic circumstances of Macedonia in that period. As my research went further, I came across a fact which was enough of a sign for me that there was a good script for a documentary there. I figured out that the embryo of fresco painting is lurking from that period in Macedonia. Following what I have figured out, it took me about 2 months to write and develop the script.
I worked on it in detail, backed up by scientific facts and references from literature found in world-renowned magazines of Byzantine art history. I also want to thank Labyrinth Production and the producer Petar Dzurovski, as well as the DoP, Prof. Goran Naumovski, for the collaboration and the successful making of my first independent documentary film. I think that we succeeded in proving something other, proving that the world Renaissance started in Macedonia 2 centuries earlier than the one in Italy in the XIV century. I felt the responsibility and the need to fix that historical injustice with facts and arguments in my film”.
He says he is especially drawn to the documentary film because this sort of expression is a way to speak of various truths.
“I am a big fan of documentary film. According to me, this form showcases what I am basically. A fighter for truth. A good documentary film for me is the one that proves the truth of some story. Bringing myself up as a person working with film, most of the works I have done so far are documentary films. It is incredible how much I love and how much I see myself in documentary film.”
According to Jakshikj, Macedonia has great film treasure, starting from the time of the Manaki Brothers up until today. Still, he thinks that the conditions for the filmmakers are complicated and the road to a final product is bumpy.
“In Macedonia, the conditions for working on film are tough. The road that all the film workers walk is rocky. I think our work isn’t appreciated enough. During my stay in Belgrade, when I was doing my Master studies of film editing at the FDA – Belgrade, I had the honor to hear words of praise for my mentor at the FDA – Skopje, Prof. Dimitar Grbevski, even since the entrance exam. The professors at Belgrade recognized my mentor’s schooling through the works I have submitted for that entrance exam. Then I realized how much more we as people are praised abroad than at home. I think that the stimulation of the Macedonian cinematography should start all the way from the studying period. A bigger support from the Ministry for Culture is needed, exchanges of experience with students from abroad are needed with the purpose of enriching information, but also creating better works. I send an appeal to the Ministry to pay attention to that, it’s all about the future generations of editors, directors, producers, cinematographers, playwrights etc. When all of us are supported in creating artworks from a younger age, our crave for film (motion pictures) won’t burn down.”