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In October, digitally restored Slovak films from the National Film Archive collection of Slovak Film Institute (SFI) will be presented at renowned international film festivals! Retrospective of Viktor Kubal will introduce in Spanish premiere the works of Slovak director, animator and artist at 51stSitges International Fantastic Film Festival(October 4 – 14, 2018) while
The Case of Barnabáš Kos (1964) by Peter Solan will be screened in world premiere at the prestigious 10th Lumière Festival (October 13 – 21, 2018)
in Lyon.

Retrospective of Viktor Kubal will present digitally restored film The Bloody Lady (1980), inspired by the legend of a countess, whose obsession with eternal youth has cost many young virgins´ lives. The audience of Sitges will further have the chance to see Earth (1966), Tom Thumb at the Magician´s(1973), Cinema (1977), What Happened to Johnny on the Road (1981), 
The Weatherman (1983) and The Idol (1989).

Digitally restored film The Bloody Lady has had its world premiere last year at the 9th Lumière Festival in France, within the section Archival treasures and curiosities, that brings together unique restored archive films from all over the world. This year´s edition of the section will present in world premiere digitally restored satirical tragicomedy The Case of Barnabáš Kos (1964) by Peter Solan. The story is about Barnabáš Kos, triangle player in a big symphony orchestra who is unexpectedly appointed its director. At first, the modest musician resists, but soon he realizes what kinds of behaviour form the inevitable rules governing people's careers.

The screenings of Slovak films in Sitges and Lyon will be introduced by Rastislav Steranka, director of the National Cinematographic Center of Slovak Film Institute.

More information HERE

September 22, Bitola – Tonight in front of the Center for Culture in Bitola, together with the public from Bitola, the Oscar-winner Roger Deakins and the acting diva Claudia Cardinale walked the red carpet. Bitola was the center of the film world tonight.

The performance at the opening ceremony, directed by Srgjan Janikijevikj, this year passed in a light of the magic of film and was devoted to the festival’s motto “Hats Off”. The actress Jelena Jovanova then took on the presenter’s role and introduced the awards.

The full hall at the Center for Culture greeted this year’s laureates with standing ovations, amongst who was the Macedonian actress Milica Stojanova who was awarded the Big Star of Macedonian Film, awarded by the Macedonian Film Professionals Association.

Gena Teodosievska, ICFF Manaki Brothers director, was the first one to greet the attending film art lovers.

-It is not at all easy to stand here tonight before you, the ones who work on film, it is not easy to be a director of this Festival because I have behind me the ones who traced the path of this festival. Certainly, the result that comes this year are 95 films in 14 programs, a result created for 39 years, Teodosievska said.

She gave her gratitude to the Macedonian Film Professionals Association, the Macedonian Film Agency and all the filmmakers who let their films be part of our program.

-They say the film should belong to everyone. And that is also what I want. But they also say that knowledge will save the world. I don’t say that meaninglessly because I think that someone’s knowledge has brought us up until now to this 39th edition and I think that we will make that knowledge even greater from the 40th edition on, the director Teodosievska pointed out.

The mayor Natasha Petrovska welcomed the attendees in Bitola on behalf of the host city Bitola and its residents.

-The festival is significant for the people of Bitola, but also significant for the whole world because it affirms the way you can defy time and affirms that even the fourth dimension has relativity. A good picture can quite skillfully capture the moment, brake the transience, spatter through eternity, as nothing else could. Therefrom comes my deepest bow to all cinematographers, but also to our award recipients tonight who confirm that these values are ones to which we should not only bow, but send them to eternity. Enjoy the seven festival nights because life is too short, Petrovska addressed.

The recipient of the Golden Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement, the modest camera wizard Roger Deakins received the award from the festival director Gena Teodosievska. She pointed out that the cinematographers are like real stars during shooting and it is hard to get to them, and thanked for the opportunity given to the festival to host Roger this evening in Bitola.

-Standing here in front of you I feel as though I am on the wrong side of the camera. I would rather be behind it. I think that the Festival lasts as many years as I shoot films. I am very happy that I am part of this history because I know so many people who were here before, but I didn’t have the possibility to come so far. I am overjoyed to become part of this history, Deakins said.

The award Special Golden Camera 300 for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema Art was given to Claudia Cardinale by the Minister for Culture Asaf Ademi.

She gave a short addressing where she gave her gratitude for the award, said it is beautiful and thanked the Festival for awarding her.

The Macedonian actress Milica Stojanova, who is this year’s laureate of the award Big Star of Macedonian Film, awarded by the Macedonian Film Professionals Association, received her award from Igor Ivanov Izi, president of the MFPA.

-In less than 2 years from now, the Macedonian Film Professionals Association will have its 70-year jubilee of existence, and in just a year from now we will celebrate 40 years of our top priority and our biggest project, the Manaki Brothers Film Festival.

Big Star of Macedonian Film was so far a privilege of the ones shining behind the silver screen. We have made an exception this year. We present the award to an actress, one who managed to shine on the silver screen besides all the stigmatization of the woman in the Balkan, especially in the Macedonian cinematography, Igor Ivanov, director of the MFPA, said at the presenting of the award.

Giving her gratitude for the given recognition, Stojanova pointed out that the MFPA have succeeded in acknowledging her efforts in front of the camera, having her become a laureate of this prestigious award.

-This award means a lot to me because the acting in front of the camera differs from the one in the theater, but it is the equal artistic challenge. I give my gratitude to all the film and TV directors who gave the opportunity to come together with the lives of various people in front of the cameras, Stojanova said.

President Gjorgje Ivanov, the patron of the festival, wasn’t able to attend the Festival, so he sent his greetings and congratulations to all the award recipients from the film world via telegram, and gave his best wishes to the film lovers to have a fulfilling stay in Bitola and unforgettable moments in front of the silver screen.

-The festival days ahead are a festivity for Bitola and for our whole country. I believe that this year as well we will present ourselves with upmost dignity and promote the Macedonian cinematography and Macedonian culture in general. We are honored that we have great masters of the world cinematography at the Manaki Brothers festival this year as well, which is certainly another sign of the significance and the greatness of the festival.

After the award ceremony, the attendees had the opportunity to see the world and the Macedonian premiere of the short film The Lover, directed by Igor Ivanov Izi, followed by the greeting of the film crew: Tomi Salkovski, Dejan Dimeski, Natalija Teodosieva, Sasho Petrovski, Marija Apchevska.

In honor of the Golden Camera 300 laureate, the cinematographer Roger Deakins, the opening ceremony film was the Blade Runner 2049, which landed him the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.

Roger Deakins wore his festival shirt. At the red carpet and opening ceremony, Roger Deakins wore an elegant suit with the festival logo shirt underneath, having the people of Bitola notice that and have pictures taken with him, whereas he posed in the Manaki Brothers shirt with pleasure and with great patience.

September 24, Bitola – At today’s press-conference, the crew from the film Noble Lies was introduced, the film that was screened last night in honor of Claudia Cardinale, the recipient of the Special Camera 300 for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema Art.

A surprise for the journalists today was the appearance of Claudia Cardinale herself, alongside Paolo Rossi, the film’s producer, and Emanuela Zaccherini, producer.

The festival director Gena Teodosievska introduced the crew, pointing out that the film Noble Lies, filmed in 2017, caused great interest to the public, and Cardinale added that she very much liked her role in the film.

-I liked the script and I reacted enthusiastically to it because it was also a debut film of the director Antonio Pisu. I play an old lady in the film, one married to an older man and I have an older brother, but I have to say that I was surrounded by very good actors and I think that it is quite important for a film to have a good acting crew. The cinematographers left a big impression on me because they are very important, and I favor the directors Visconti and Bolognini. Otherwise, I don’t have a favourite cinematographer, I have good collaboration with all of them, Cardinale said.

-No, no, I am not a film diva, I am a normal woman! – Claudia Cardinale kept saying.

Paolo Rossi gave his gratitude to the given space at the festival and said that he had picked Claudia for the film because she is a very special person.

-She lives a normal life, not the one of a star and that is what the people around the world like. I am thankful for the support as well, because she does know how hard it is to make a debut in Italy with an independent production and she wanted to help us. She is not like Sophia Loren and the other stars. The most famous Italian film critic said for this film that, considering the fact that it is very hard to make an independent film nowadays, it as piece has overcome that obstacle because it is different from the rest of the films of the Italian cinematography, Rossi said.

-Paolo is an exceptional person, a professional in every way and I think that the film will be here to stay, having some new influence on the film world, Zaccherini said.

All the members of the film crew were unanimous on their loving feelings of Bitola, the festival’s organization and the fascination with the mosaics of Heraclea and the Macedonian cuisine.

The cinematographer of the film Transit, Hans Fromm, shared the experience from the film’s recording. This film was screened last night as part of the official competition program. Considering the fact that the film’s plot is in Marseille, where refugees from World War II and nowadays meet, the guest spoke about the refugees’ situation in his talk with the selector Blagoja Kunovski – Dore.

-It is a recent story, it is the negative experience of contemporary Europe which now has to deal with the refugees. Germany wasn’t so strict in terms of the policy towards the refugees, but right-winged parties are starting to appear and they are against the refugees or they want to stop the flow of emigrants. I have to say that what happens in Germany is that the people are generally not leaning towards excluding the migrants or some sort of neo-fascism, Fromm said.

The director of the film Deaf Child, Alex de Ronde, in his talk with the selector of the documentary program Marija Dzidzeva, spoke about the motives for shooting the film and dealing with the problems of deaf children.

-The main motivation to make the film Deaf Child was the fact that the biggest part of the other deaf children films are a lot more focused on the handicap that has to be fixed by the doctors or the teachers, but my main goal was to showcase the deaf child as part of a cultural minority, with its own language and culture. I simply wanted to say that I am concerned for the future of deaf children. All around the world there are schools for deaf children that are closing down, they have to go to regular schools and it is not easy for them there, Alex de Ronde said.

Master Class with Roger Deakins, recipient of the Golden Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement

The open talk with the cinematographer Roger Deakins, the Academy Award winner with Blade Runner 2049 which opened this year’s edition of Manaki Brothers, literally overflowed the Small Hall of the Center for Culture in Bitola with film professionals, journalists, festival guests, domestic students and ones from abroad. The talk was moderated by Nigel Walters from IMAGO (European Federation of Cinematographers, with 53 national associations and over 4300 member cinematographers).

Deakins went back to his beginnings in film, first of all as a student at the London National Film School in the early 70s, coming from the small town of Torquay in Southwest England.

Before starting to shoot feature films, Deakins recorded documentaries, so he shared his experience working with that genre.

-When shooting documentary films, one needs to exercise the eye to see what will happen next, opposed to the feature films, where you can do rehearsals and retake scenes a couple of times, Deakins says.

At the start of the talk, he mentioned his experience with a technique of desaturation (lowering down the intensity of the colors) on the film 1984 (a screen adaptation of the George Orwell novel), saying also that that is the film feature-length film that used that technique. Anyhow, no visual effects were used in the making of the film 1984, but all was made with a combination of various off-screen techniques.

-We played with some techniques which allowed us to showcase something that nowadays is only done by a push of a button, Deakins pointed out.

He said that one crucial role of the cinematographers in the film’s making is to give the actors the space to do their part.

He did his first American film with the director Bob Rafelson, the film Mountains of the Moon, a film in an ironic-comedy style, but he thinks that that film didn’t turn out that well.

-I think that I wasn’t the right person for the work on that film and with that director, Deakins stated self-critically, adding that the people that work on a film sometimes just don’t fit together.

The moderator Walters pointed out the film The Shawshank Redemption as one of his favorite films, and he asked Deakins why is it not amongst his own favorites.

-I imagined that the film’s story will be portrayed in a more brutal and realistic manner, but to me it was maybe a little toned down, Deakins thinks.

In terms of his experience on the Cohen Brothers’ film Fargo, Deakins remembers the idea of filming it in some sort of a documentary-like manner, being more observative of the characters.

-Fargo is a brilliant film, but it was quite a technical challenge for me. The Cohen Brothers knew exactly what they wanted and almost all recorded material was used up, Deakins said.

The fruitful collaboration with the Cohen Brothers continued with the films O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn’t There, No Country for Old Men…

-In O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a technique of digitalization with timing of the material was used for the first time, and it took a long and hard work. We wanted to achieve a look of a painted photography, Deakins explained.

He pointed out that The Man Who Wasn’t There is one of the best films he has worked on.

-The Cohen Brothers ingeniously put the film together, Deakins said, pointing out that the cinematographers and the actors understand each other very well on the film sets only with a look.

The war drama Jarhead, directed by Sam Mendes, is also part of Deakins’ favorite films.

-We were lucky that there were digital effects 12 years ago, so we could record scenes from the burning oil separately and combine them with the scenes where the characters actually were, Deakins explained.

The festival laureate pointed out that he likes films because of the characters.

-The character portrayed by Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049 seemed somehow empty to me, so I felt some pity for that character, Deakins said, also adding that the film Skyfall seemed to him somehow different from the rest of the James Bond serial, exactly because of the bigger focus on the characters.

The MEDIA desk of Macedonia held the 1st Close-Up Gathering in Honor of International Cinematographers at the 39thICFF Manaki Brothers. The gathering was attended by a large number of domestic and international cinematographers, producers, directors, as well as this year’s Golden Camera 300 laureate Roger Deakins and the Special Golden Camera 300 laureate Claudia Cardinale. At this 1st Close-Up Gathering, a representative of the Delegation of the European Union in Skopje, Freek Janmaat, had his addressing, congratulating this initiative of the MEDIA desk of Macedonia, which is up to set the start of a series of so called Close-Up gatherings. These gathering will be held during the whole year with the goal of bringing together various audio-visual sector professionals, exchanging experience and solutions to exact problems. Every Close-Up will be devoted to a different theme and will host actual domestic and foreign professionals from the separate areas in the sector supported by MEDIA. Of course, the base of these gatherings will be the support of the Creative Europe MEDIA program and the MEDIA desk of Macedonia will always stimulate the Macedonian applicants to come to financial means for easier realization of their ideas and the projects they have come up with.

This year’s festival edition will see the screening of 7 films supported by the Creative Europe MEDIA program, 3 of which are in the official selection. Amongst the 7 films is the documentary In Praise of Nothing by the Serbian director Boris Mitikj, who comes to the festival with the support of the MEDIA desk of Macedonia to hold a workshop with the students on September 25 at 1PM (Center for Culture in Bitola, Small Hall). The film In Praise of Nothing got financial support of EUR50.000 from the TV Programs call by MEDIA, which is open for independent European production companies whose business plan includes collaboration with at least three TV companies from multiple member-countries of the MEDIA subprogram.

The children’s program starts tomorrow at the ICFF Manaki Brothers, and a Master Class with the cinematographer Christian Berger and the production designer Christoph Kanter titled Creating Visual Style in Haneke’s Films will be held as part of the First Films First festival program.

Tomorrow (September 25), the IMAGO (Cinematographers Association) Balkan Conference will be held.

WARSAW: Cold War directed by Paweł Pawlikowski has been selected as Poland’s official entry for the US Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film category. The announcement comes just after the film's triumph at the 43rd Gdynia Film Festival.

ZAGREB: Ulrich Edel’s historical drama The Master Butcher's Singing Club, which is currently shooting in Croatia, is the first foreign production using incentives for filming in regions of particular national interest. Pakt Media is servicing.

BATUMI: Ray and Liz by the British director Richard Billingham was awarded best film at the 13th Batumi International Arthouse Film Festival, which took place in Batumi from 16 to 23 September 2018.

SOFIA: A committee of the Bulgarian Cinema Council voted Ilian Djevlekov's sophomore feature Omnipresent as Bulgaria’s official entry for the US Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film category.

FNE asked Montenegrin director Ivan Salatic about his new film You Have the Night / Ti imaš noć, a coproduction between Montenegro, Serbia and Qatar, which was in competition in Venice Critics Week this year.

FNE asked Romanian director Cristian Mungiu about the challenges facing the Romanian film industry and why the fight against piracy needs to be one of the main priorities for European film.

SOFIA: A committee of the Bulgarian Cinema Council voted Ilian Djevlekov's sophomore feature Omnipresent as Bulgaria’s official entry for the US Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Film category.