COVID Crisis Pushes Forward Honeyland TV Premiere

    Honeyland by Ljubo Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska to Premiere on Telma TV Honeyland by Ljubo Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska to Premiere on Telma TV

    SKOPJE: The most successful Macedonian documentary Honeyland / Medena zemja will have an early television premiere on Telma TV on 18 April 2020, in time for the Orthodox Easter holiday. The first and exclusive television screening comes ahead of schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic, disrupting the 2-year TV holdback. The film was nominated for two Oscars.

    Mandated to remain indoors, a larger than usual audience is turning to the small screen as the stay-at-home orders continue. Several other domestic films, including The Piano Room by Igor Ivanov-Izi, Three Days in September by Darijan Pejovski and Amok by Vardan Tozija, will be broadcast on Telma TV from 17 to 21 April for the Orthodox Easter holidays as North Macedonia is facing its longest lockdown in history .

    On 16 April 2020, president Stevo Pendarovski announced another 30-day state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The increasingly restrictive measures declared regarding the spread of the Coronavirus have led to the halt or postponement of almost all activities in the field of cinema exhibition and film production. But there are actions aimed at keeping film and culture in the public eye. On 29 March 2020 the Academy award nominated Macedonian helmer Milcho Manchevski`s new feature Willow / Vrba had an early TV world premiere on the public broadcaster Macedonian Radio Television as part of a Manchevski #StayHome film review.

    Beginning on 8 April 2020, the public service broadcaster started with broadcasts of four new TV channels, including a children's channel and sports and entertainment channels. It also announced the TV premiere of the 10-episode children's TV series Zoki Poki on 4 May 2020.

    As a way to combat the cinema crisis the Cinematheque of North Macedonia has shared more than 20 films from its archive for online watching on its platform, including the early Manaki Brothers films. Also, North Macedonia-based VoD platform Cinesquare has made more than 200 films available online free of charge to its users.

    It is difficult to predict how long the crisis will last and what its consequences will be on the film industry in the country. The North Macedonia Film Agency has distributed a questionnaire to every supported producer, with projects that are in post-production or finished, in order to gain more insight into which are the most affected areas that need to be addressed. The Agency supported financially a total of 27 film projects in two days, primarily to cover their contractual costs towards freelancers and others. No premieres or other public events can be organised, so their reports on expenditures will be subsequently reviewed. To this end, a Commission has been set up by the Agency and the Macedonian Film Professionals Association to work on establishing a legal framework and reviewing the possibility of direct remunerations for filmmakers.