Manaki Brothers - International Cinematographers’ Film Festival

The jury for the 40. ICFF “Manaki Brothers” introduced

16 September, Bitola – The third festival day at the “Manaki Brothers” started with the introduction of the jury which will decide on the winners of the Golden, Silver and Bronze Camera 300.

-This year, the members of the jury are: Ed Lachman, Kaloyan Bozhilov, Dominique Welinski, Fejmi Daut and Nenad Dukic, and as you can notice, the cinematographers dominate, the selector of the main program of the festival and artistic director, Blagoja Kunovski – Dore, said at the presentation of the jury.

In terms of impressions and the films seen so far, as well as the criteria for their decisions about the choice of the three best works in the main competition, they were all on the same page that they can’t separate images from the content.

-The criterion for giving out of each award is tough to set because it’s tough to separate images from the content of the film itself. The cinematographer can create poetic or authentic images which tell a story, but if the acting is not on a high level, it all goes down. So, we still look at the big picture. You have chosen strong films and the choice will be tough, but it won’t be influenced by the fact that a lot of the films were awarded at Cannes or Berlin. That is why it is important to have such a festival because it gives a recognition straight to the way you tell the story. The problem with the Oscars, at least for the cinematography, is that 80% of the Academy are actors and they don’t really understand the camera. All they see is beautiful images. They don’t understand if it is digitalized and that is why a film like The Life of Pi or Avatar by James Cameron have won an award for cinematography, and they are a complete animation, Lachman, who is the president of the jury, said.

According to the members of the jury, if there is no good collaboration between the actors and the directors, then there will be no final result and that they will give it their all to recognize the quality of the good image in the best films.

Darijan Pejovski talked with the cinematographer of the film The Boy in the Chequered Shirt, Katherina Wahl. Her short film was screened the previous day.

-We had a close collaboration with the director. The work was sensitive because we worked with children in multiple schools. We had the script and we tried to find the core and to show the feelings of the children in a language which will explain it outside of reality, but it will capture the essence of the emotion, Wahl said.

Slagjan Penev, the selector of the European Cinema Perspectives program, introduced the authors from the Film center in Montenegro, Ivan Marinovic and Sehad Cekic. This year there are 5 films from Montenegro at the festival. It is the country in focus.

-Our film center supports film production, we are members of the MEDIA Desk and EURIMAGES. There are big changes in the past few years, we have achieved a lot. We have a greater budget, which is very important for the Center, we even negotiate to increase the budget, we started with co-productions etc., Cekic said.

Ivan Marinovic is the director of the film The Black Pin and he said that the film is received wonderfully, even besides the challenge of the black humor, which is all over the film, not being fully understood abroad, because it is specific for this region.

The cinematographer of the film Those Who Are Fine, Silvan Hillmann from Switzerland, at today’s press conference said that he joined the director in about half a year before the shooting started.

-The director and I went on excursions in the city we both grew up in to find the tableaux vivants with the architecture and surfaces as structuring elements. That’s where we encounter the conversations of our protagonists, Hillmann said.

The special screening of the film Jazzman by Aljosha Simjanovski was a subject at today’s talk between the author and Gena Teodosievska. They spoke about the jazz as a spiritual everyday life, Velibor Pedevski – the great lover of jazz, to whom the film is dedicated, the Skopje Jazz Fetsival…

-The film had its premiere at this ICFF “Manaki Brothers”, and the premiere in Skopje will be at the Skopje Jazz Festival. It is shot in a few locations: Skopje, New York, Sofia, Belgrade… At that moment, the idea to make a film about Velibor Pedevski grew, one line of the film is a “life story”, the other one is the jazz as a form, and the third one is the new technologies in music and jazz. We filmed 10 big jazz stars and they all came out exactly as the script idea. We had a quality photography, we have technical tools which are outstanding, and the MRTV, thanks to Velibor Pedevski, has the largest jazz archive, Simjanovski said.

EURIMAGES held a presentation of the new criteria for the members of this European fund for support and development of the cinematography of the continent.

At the start of the presentation, the director of the ICFF “Manaki Brothers”, Gena Teodosievska, introduced the guest Sergio Garcia de Leaniz, project-manager of EURIMAGES, and the Macedonian national representative in this association, Tatjana Kjurchinska – Pepeljugoska. EURIMAGES is founded in 1989, as a cultural fund of the European Union, with its center in Strasburg, and Macedonia is a member since 2003.

EURIMAGES has 38 full members (not including the UK) and 2 associated members, Canada and Argentina. The annual budget of the fund is 25 million euros, which are distributed as support to film projects in 5 programs. Besides the regular evaluations of the activities of EURIMAGES, a general evaluation of this fund is ongoing, which will bring up the new criteria.

-As you know, EURIMAGES is a supranational fund, created to support co-productions between the member-states. In that way, we are very happy that Macedonia is also a member of EURIMAGES and the collaboration keeps growing. The number of supported film projects from Macedonia keeps growing and we are very happy that we are present at the Cinematographers’ Film Festival in Bitola as its collaborators, and, of course, to also celebrate the jubilee, Sergio Garcia de Leaniz says.

The main point of his presentation is to increase the visibility of the fund, to explain the opportunities to the producers and film authors who apply for support of their film projects, as well as to increase the co-productions between the Macedonian producers and the film authors in other countries, De Leaniz pointed out.

Presenting the general data and activities of EURIMAGES, De Leaniz pointed out the data which create the image of the functioning through numbers. In that way, from the founding in 1989 up until today, EURIMAGES completed 2031 film projects, and only in the last year 210 projects were completed.

De Leaniz presented the steps to apply to the programs of the fund to the attending producers, film authors and national representatives, all through 4 annual calls.

Today, the children had the opportunity to see the film Wildwitch, and the attending children were from the primary schools “Sv. Kliment Ohridski” and “Stiv Naumov”.

Also, after the screening, the festival, Mlekara AD Bitola and the playhouse Chudesna Zemja, organized a children’s workshop Draw Your Favorite Cartoon Hero.

Last night, with the screening of the first films in the Balkans shot by the Manaki brothers, as the first Balkan cinematographers, the program of the Cinematheque of North Macedonia at the 40th ICFF “Manaki Brothers” started. The screened film material from the Manaki brothers was in duration of about 50 minutes, and the screening was opened with an anecdote from Vladimir Angelov, the director of the Cinematheque of North Macedonia.

-I can tell you one story: one foreign guest from previous years once told me that Baba Despina, the person who is shot in the first film by Milton and Janaki Manaki was 113 years old, and the film was shot in the beginning of the 20th century, in 1905. That means that she is a person who was born in the 18th century, lived through the 19th century, and died in the 20th century. That means you will have an opportunity to see a unique film material during this presentation – Angelov said.

The first evening also saw the screening of the film Midnight Dancers by the recently deceased Meto Petrovski. The film was shot in 1981 and was screened at the Manaki Gatherings in 1981, when the “Manaki Brothers” festival was only three years old. The following days, the wonderful ambiance of the Magaza, part of Museum of Bitola, will see the screenings of the films produced by Vardar Film and films from the student program.

During today, the students had a meeting and talk with Ed Lachman and Arto Halonen, and that will be followed by the screenings of the films: As I Fall, When Tomatoes Met Wagner, Open Door, Comma, The Comrade, Baby, The Last Coffee, Donka, Ashes, The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao, Monster God, House of Others, Macedonian Saga, Lazy Guy, and The Golden Glove.