Manaki Brothers - International Cinematographers’ Film Festival

The laureate Arvanitis and the guests of the “Manaki Brothers” festival visited the grave of Milton Manaki

20 September, Bitola – Paying respect to the work of the Manaki brothers and the visit of Milton Manaki’s grave at the Vlach cemetery in Bitola is a tradition which is kept up for years by the ICFF “Manaki Brothers”, together with the hosts from the Commune of the Vlachs and the Council of the Municipality of Bitola.

The guests were welcomed to the Vlach cemetery complex by Stefan Hadzi-Andonoski, who reminded of the fact that Milton’s grave is located in Bitola, whereas Janaki Manaki is buried in Thessaloniki. He also added that this year marks a 55-year anniversary from Milton Manaki’s death.

-At this place 40 years ago, when we organized a commemoration for Milton Manaki, we raised the initiative for an eternal memory of the great work of the Manaki brothers. That is how the idea of the Manaki Gatherings was born, which grew into the International Cinematographers’ Film Festival “Manaki Brothers” – Stefan Hadzi-Andonoski explained.

The director of the 40. ICFF “Manaki Brothers”, Gena Teodosievska, paying respect to the work of the Manaki brothers gave the gratitude for all who gave the unselfish support in the conducting of the festival, such as the Municipality of Bitola, the Ministry for Culture, the Film Agency, all the cultural institutions in Bitola, and, of course, the locals and the audience in Bitola.

The cinematographer and laureate Yorgos Arvanitis, taking a bow on the grave of Milton Manaki, said that we should continue in the nurturing of the work of the Manaki brothers and he remembered that he was on the same spot for only a day more than 10 years ago, when along with the director Theo Angelopoulos they made shots for the purpose of the film Ulysses’ Gaze. There had been great snow that day in Bitola, and he now noticed that the city is totally different from that time.

The delegation of the Council of Bitola was led by Valentin Gruevski, and the other attendees were the councilors Biljana Popovska and Ivancho Toshevski. The others to pay respect to the work of Milton Manaki were Paul Rene Roestad, president of the Board of IMAGO, the cinematographer Rainer Klausmann, the members of the festival jury Dominique Welinski and Fejmi Daut, the artistic director of the festival Blagoja Kunovski – Dore, as well as other cinematographers, authors and guests at the 40. ICFF “Manaki Brothers”.

Gleb Filatov, cinematographer of the Russian film The Bull, which is in the main competition for the Camera 300, today at the press conference spoke of the idea about its shooting, the collaboration with the actors, the financing of films in Russia etc.

-This is a young cinematographer from Russia, who in an explosive way captures the problems in Russia, especially the stories of the underground. There is an essential energy in this film, along with Les Miserables, Piranhas, The Wild Goose Lake, and a few more films which were screened at the ICFF “Manaki Brothers”, speak about local criminal gangs. In The Bull one can see the decadence of the society in the era of Yeltsin, Blagoja Kunovski – Dore, selector of the main program and artistic director of the festival, said.

Filatov said that the project started as a result of the years-long collaboration with the director Boris Akopov, who he had shot a few short films with, and where he had learned to hold a long shot and he had to shoot a scene in only one take. In terms of the influence on him as an author, Filatov gave a few references.

Dallas Buyers Club had the biggest influence on me to start shooting, because it seems like it is shot easily, the aesthetic is aggressive, but it tells it in an easy way with a soft natural light and it all became my reference during the work. Also the film Nice Times, in which the cinematographer Lisa Fati, who came from France to Russia, shot great scenes with almost no light whatsoever and that is why it is educative and encouraging. Whereas, in terms of directorial references, it is the television series by Steven Soderberg, The Knick, where a historical image is created with a more dynamic camerawork and more movements, Gleb explained.

The film is financed by the Ministry for Culture of Russia with 25 million rubles, which is 400.000 dollars, and that was good for them, because, as Gleb said, they could finally work.

-While there was not budget, we were all sitting at home, and sketching the shots. But then we looked for shooting locations with our own cars… it was literally made as as student film, we were preparing for 7 months and that is why we could allow this sort of flow of the preparations of the shooting. I think that it is important where, how much and when you shoot and that is why the film looks so professional, although not much money was invested in it, Filatov said.

As part of the “Manaki Brothers” program, the Film Talks with a few film authors were held, organized by the MEDIA Desk MK of Creative Europe. Before the start of the session, the attendees were addressed by Gena Teodosievska, director of the festival, who said that this edition of the “Manaki Brothers” festival is a success for her, with all the authors, films and meetings which have happened all these past festival days.

“I am happy that authors, like our guest Rainer Klausmann, are part of this session and are part of the success of this festival. And the real success can’t be measured, but only felt”, Teodosievska said.

The subject of the talk was success and what it represents, festival awards or full cinemas? Is the award nomination enough of an accolade for a successful film and how much are awards a trap for future projects?

The Film Talks session was held for the first time at the “Manaki Brothers” festival. The Croatian editor and director Dubravka Turic, the German director Max Zahle, the Macedonian director and editor Eleonora Veninova and the cinematographer Rainer Klasumann, openly talked about the successes and the fails in their career.

“I decided to only work with Fatih Akin and I no longer accept offers from other directors. To me, greatest success is to have time to do what I want to do and only with the people I like” – Klausmann spoke about his success aspects.

The film talks are useful because they have the power to share personal stories and lived experiences. The thesis for what is success is disputable, and those things always need to be talked about. The talks were led by Bistra Georgieva, representative of the MEDIA Desk MK, and the event was co-organized with the MEDIA Desk from Croatia and Germany.

The past two days, the Balkan conference of IMAGO, the international association of cinematographers, was also held, and it was attended by the president Paul Rene Roestad, as well as representatives from multiple national associations of cinematographers.

Organized by the Film Agency, the intensive Pre-writing workshop (of the LESS IS MORE program) is held these days as part of the 40th edition of the “Manaki Brothers” festival. The Pre-writing workshop is held in Macedonia based on the one-year partnership made with the Film Agency and Le Groupe Ouest, which is the founder of the European program for development of feature-length film LESS IS MORE.

Mentors of the workshop are Pierre Hodgson and Nolwenn Guiziou, and the participants are six Macedonian authors and three authors from the region (Montenegro, Slovenia and Croatia).

The participants of this 5-day intensive workshop have the unique opportunity to develop their film ideas through creative and original exercises. The characteristic thing about this workshop is that, through the experience of the mentors and the previously established program for work, it is filled with really original ways of analysis of the characters and the actions in the film ideas, through which the participants improve their skills for development of the stories and they gain knowledge on how to push themselves and contribute to greater originality, authenticity and attractiveness of their future films.

As part of this program, an open-for-public masterclass was organized by the Film Agency in collaboration with LESS IS MORE, which was held on 18 September 2019, in 11AM, in Porta Jazz, where Pierre Hodgson spoke on the new ways of development of a script. The masterclass was also attended by our director and scriptwriter Gjorche Stavreski, who shared his experience from the participation in this year’s training program of LESS IS MORE.

Today’s attraction at the festival was the presentation of Easyrig, the company from Sweden which produces a shooting accessory which is attached to the back and it transfers the weight of the camera. The company is represented here by Johan Hellstem, Rasmus Ram and their representative from Slovenia, Marjan Cerar.

PINA held a round table on the subject: “Women journalists and the challenges of working in high risk situations”, as part of the additional program of the “Manaki Brothers” festival.

-This year we will hold a festival devoted to research journalism for the third time, Kristina Ozimec, who was the moderator of the event, pointed out.

The group of female journalists who have faced high risk situation in their work were represented by Milka Smilevska, Dushica Mrgja, and Eleonora Memeti. Each one of them talked about her experience. Smilevska talked about the experiences from the reports about the refugee crisis on the Greek-Macedonian border, and Mrgja about the experiences from the events on 27 April in the Republican Parliament.