Manaki Brothers - International Cinematographers’ Film Festival


September 28, Bitola – Eric Gautier, the cinematographer from France, whose film Ash is Purest White was screened last night at the Manaki Brothers festival in the Golden Camera 300 competition, spoke today at the meet-up with the press about the shooting of the film.

-The Manaki Brothers festival is quite an important festival for cinematographers. The film Ask is Purest White is one of my favorite films, the festival selector Blagoja Kunovski – Dore pointed out.

Eric Gautier is one of the leading cinematographers in France and he spoke of the experience on working on a film in China.

-I was rather familiar with the work of the director Jia Zhang-Ke, his films were viewed quite much. I met him for the first time 15 years ago when a film of his was screened, and when his cinematographer didn’t take on working on this project, I was invited to work. I was aware that I will be living in China, that I will travel long distances and that there was almost no script at that moment, almost all of it was improvisation, which is actually the Asian way of work. They don’t work like us in Europe or in USA, but I felt that way of working as an adventure, Gautier said.

This film is a parabola of the modern Chinese society, it talks about the Chinese underground.

-I have worked abroad multiple times and I always want to film with a local crew because I learn and think in a different way then. The Chinese don’t speak English and I knew I will have difficulties with the communication. Still, the work with a crew is always a matter of trust, and since they knew I asked for, we had a great collaboration. My crew usually is about 3 people, but now I had 6 assistants, and they can make you a platform in just half an hour, they come out of nowhere and work. I was filming with an ARRI ALEXA Mini in 4K, but we also shot afterwards on filmstrip with different lenses and a different camera, and all the scenes at the Yangtze river are shot on a filmstrip, and, at the end, I was filming with an ARRI ALEXA Red because I was trying to give a violent contrast, an aggressive contrast, Gautier explained.

Marija Dzidzeva, the selector of the documentary program, today introduced the film The Future is Ours of the director Andrej Georgiev, with cinematography done by Dario Sekulovski, and part of the crew is also Sandra Georgievska, who worked on the film’s editing. This is a film that talks of a recent subject from our everyday life and has a young film crew.

-It was wonderful to see the end credits because everyone in the crew is a student, this is actually a graduation film and it is a beautiful moment for all of us because we see that a new generation of film authors is created, Dzidzeva said.

The film has a documentary approach and the fast reaction is to be praised, as the events showed in the film happened only a year ago.

-The film has within itself a theme and a time in which we have all lived. The background of the story are the student protests, the sorts of events and injustices that happened to the people around us. Some of them are brave, some of them fight, some of them sacrifice. I think that we, as young authors, should be quick on our feet for the events and subjects that concern us and show them through our viewpoint, Georgievska said.

Last night, as part of the festival program, the film Persona, directed by Ingmar Bergman, was screened as part of the marking of the 100-year anniversary from the birth of the legendary Swedish film author. The Ambassador of Sweden in Macedonia Mats Staffansson gave his gratitude ahead of the screening to the Manaki Brothers festival and the Cinematheque of Macedonia for organizing this event for the anniversary.

The film Persona is one of his most complex films, and also one of the most criticized film. Still, Persona is a psychological drama which is the Mount Everest of film art. Bergman’s films are very deep, he is a fantastic person, the Ambassador Staffansson said.

The festival was visited last night by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Macedonia as well, Mr. Wouter Plomp, who met with the director Gena Teodosievska and his colleague from Sweden. The Dutch Embassy supports the Manaki Brothers festival this year, where a few film works by Dutch authors were screened.

-As an Embassy, we are proud to be part of the successful story of the Manaki Brothers festival. I am happy to have visited Bitola and I witnessed the magic brought by the festival myself, one which shows the real cosmopolitan spirit of the city, the Dutch Ambassador Wouter Plomp stated.

As part of the documentary program, the film Cobra was screened last night, a film about the Olympics-winner Shaban Trstena, directed by Igor Ivanov Izi. He said that he made the film on the invite of the producer Tomi Salkovski and it was a challenge for him to make a documentary film. He didn’t want this film to have a voyeur approach, but to be an observation, an honest story and to send across the real situation.

In the meantime, the preparations for tomorrow’s closing ceremony of the 39th edition of the International Cinematographers’ Film Festival Manaki Brothers are coming to an end. After the performance of the actress Jelena Jovanova, the international jury, this year lead by the Greek cinematographer Olympia Mytilinaiou, with the members Rainer Klausmann, cinematographer, Mattias Troelstrup, cinematographer, Rebecca Fayyad Palud, cinematographers’ agent, and Gjorche Stavreski, director, will announce the names of the recipients of the awards Golden, Silver and Bronze Camera 300, as well as the Small Camera 300 for a cinematographer of a short film.

The short film Scout, directed by Alex Cvetkov, and the last film of the official program Blackkklansman, directed by Spike Lee, are the films to be screened at the closing ceremony of the festival.