Manaki Brothers - International Cinematographers’ Film Festival

The Oscar-winning Janusz Kaminski is the recipient of the Golden Camera 300 at the “Manaki Brothers”, the AFPM awards the “Big Star of Macedonian Film” award to Stole Popov

August 26, Skopje – At the press conference devoted to the 41st edition of the International Cinematographers’ Film Festival “Manaki Brothers”, the festival director, Gena Teodosievska, and Igor Ivanov – Izi, the president of the Association of Film Professionals of Macedonia (AFPM), announced that this year’s laureate of the Golden Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement is the Polish-American cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, and that the recipient of the “Big Star of Macedonian Film” award of the AFPM is the director Stole Popov.

Due to the pandemic, the ICFF “Manaki Brothers” will not be held as a festival edition, but will be marked with a central event in Bitola and a couple of online activities.

“Covid-19 struck us all and we are all living the consequences of this disaster, and the same goes to the “Manaki Brothers” festival. The festival is the basic priority of the Association of Film Professionals and the Governing Board held seven meetings on which we followed the situation in our country, and even more in the world with the people from our profession and the other festivals from a high category, as “Manaki” is built on the basis of the A List festivals and that is where it mainly draws its program from. Cannes was optimistically announcing that the festival will be held, yet it didn’t happen. Karlovy Vary and Locarno completely cancelled their festival editions. Having in mind the specificity and the aesthetic profile of their programs, they are festivals from which “Manaki Brothers” draws its own program as well. We were thinking about spending the money we got from the state fund for some online version, the way some smaller festivals do it, without having gatherings and screenings in Bitola, or cancel it and make a modest marking of the festival”, Igor Ivanov, president of the AFPM.

He added that it is indecent and inappropriate to screen films online and to evaluate the art of cinematography, and, in these conditions, it would also be impossible for the festival to be a celebration of the film art, as the filmmakers cannot get together in Bitola.

“Taking into account all these circumstances and following after the experiences of the European and world festivals, in consultations with our members of the Assembly of the Association, the decision to not hold the Festival in its traditional form was made, but it to only be marked in Bitola on September 19. This was a tough decision. Time will tell whether we were right or not. AFPM thinks that the country should primarily spend money on film production, that, in these times of severed budgets, it is more important to film than money to be given for an online festival”, Ivanov said.

The director Teodosievska said that the 41st edition of the ICFF “Manaki Brothers” will be marked with the presenting of the highest awards, the Golden Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement and the “Big Star of Macedonian Film” of the AFPM. The central event in Bitola will see the addressing of the patron of the festival, the president of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, the mayor of Bitola, Natasha Petrovska, and the president of the AFPM, Igor Ivanov – Izi. Via video message, we will also see the addressing of the president of IMAGO, Kees van Oostrum, and the laureate of the Golden Camera 300, Janusz Kaminski. The Macedonian Television will also screen one film from each of the awards recipients. There will also be two online workshops organized with the recipients of the awards and with the members of IMAGO, the international association, which the AFPM is also a member of.

“I was not happy at all with the decision of the Governing Board of the AFPM, I believe they weren’t either, to not have any screenings, as they state for the sake of keeping the health of the film art lovers. I had an idea to have certain open-air screenings in the program in Bitola, but the idea was not accepted. I was chosen to be the festival director at the end of June this year and I will respect their decision made beforehand.

We hope that in this way we will pay respect to all those before us for what they have done for this oldest and most significant festival. The AFPM and I have agreed that it is out of the question to screen a competitive selection online because of the fact that it isn’t professional to evaluate the creation of cinematographers by seeing a film on a computer. To be able to evaluate the visual structure of these film artists to who this festival is dedicated, one needs the big screen and the comfortable cinema darkness. This festival is specific in its essence, the ICFF “Manaki Brothers” is founded specifically for valuating the work of the filmmakers, specifically for those who, using their camera, fill up that film screen”, Gena Teodosievska, the director of “Manaki Brothers”, said.

She announced a dynamic festival web page, as well as an energetic social media activity.

This year’s laureate of the “Big Star of Macedonian Film” award of the Association of Film Professionals of Macedonia is the director Stole Popov.

“This list of the previous recipients is undoubtedly missing this great name of the Macedonian film, which was voted for by the Governing Board of the AFPM, as a man who needs to get this award with no disputes over the aesthetic greatness and the historical value of his work. Aside from the documentary films which were receiving awards on the significant film festivals in ex-Yugoslavia, Stole Popov shot legendary feature films, from “The Red Horse”, to “Happy New ’49” and “Tattoo”, which are films whose lines are still being cited in city life and among the people, becoming a sort of proverbs, extremely popular in their time, they were filling up the cinema venues. They were followed by “Gypsy Magic” and the latest film, “To the Hilt”. Stole Popov is the first film direction professor in Macedonia and he is the founder of the film direction department at the FDA in Skopje. Also, he has a significant contribution in the sphere of reportage, he was part of a large number of festivals, he has received significant accolades, amongst which the one that shines the most is “Dae” and the Oscar nomination for Best Short Film, when in 1979 it managed to get its spot among the five best films in the world”, Ivanov said.

The highest festival award, the Golden Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement is received by the Polish-American cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, who is also the youngest recipient of this award of the “Manaki Brothers” festival so far.

The director Teodosievska shared that Kaminski was honored for receiving this award, additionally also because he is well acquainted with the work of the Manaki brothers. He had expressed his gratitude and his wish to visit Bitola and the festival next year.

The film critic and the long-standing artistic director and selector of the main program, Blagoja Kunovski Dore, has written about Kaminski: “Kaminski gained his worldwide glory through the creative collaboration as a tandem partner of the leading American director Steven Spielberg, whose films have earned him two Academy Awards: one for the SCHINDLER’S LIST (1994) and one for SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1999). In fact, he is the cinematographer of 7 of Spielberg’s films which have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best picture, including: MUNICH (2002), BRIDGE OF SPIES (2015), THE POST (2017), plus the three Academy Award nominations as a cinematographer of the films AMISTAD (2008), LINCOLN (2013) and the WAR HORSE (2012), while his last nomination is for the film THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY (2008), directed by Julian Schnabel. The two Academy Awards and four Oscar nominations are more than a sufficient testament to the genius class that he belongs to as a cinematographer, and to this we may add another 36 international awards and 67 nominations, so that our Golden Camera 300 is only a symbolic cherry on the top of his body of work so far”.