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13th Macedonian Film Festival

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The institutionalization of the national cinematography is the most significant in the development of Macedonian film. The constitution of the first film production company "Filmsko Skopje" results with the first documentary films in 1947. Later, the company is renamed as "Vardar Film". At the beginning, the company starts with the serial of film journals named as "Film Review" ("Filmski pregled"). The Macedonian filmmakers, in spite of their lack of experience, managed to overcome the medium's characteristics and to "absorb" the possibilities of the documentary genre very soon.

The society development reflects upon the development of the film production, as well as upon the thematic interests in it. Also, the narratives increased and the feature segment is enriched with genre blending. The appearance of the Independent Production Company FRZ-SKOPJE (at the end of the 60's and the beginning of the 70's) announced the possibility of competition in the field of film production. But, however - that didn't happen, because of the swift decline of this company.

The documentary film production in Macedonia constantly increases and develops. With more than 500 film titles, with its various and numerous themes and view perspectives - it presents itself as a documentary treasury of the Macedonian statehood and its segments. Significant number of the artistic documentary films is also a part of the world's cinematography treasury.

The Macedonian feature film production officially begins with the realization f the film FROSINA in 1952. Since then, 50 long-length feature films are made until today. Seven of them are co-productions. In this segment of the national cinematography, feature film production realizes a homogenous author's structure, which resulted with the significant number of high-quality film deeds. The choice and the treatment of the genres' possibilities, as well as the author's capabilities develop further to the optimum. So, the authors' sensibility in the feature film production gains some kind of optimal function in the constructing of the film deed. This kind of situation emphasizes the authors' viewpoints of the chronotop and the human's role in it. What else we consider as a matter of significance is that even in this specific and relatively limited film quantum, Macedonian filmmakers manage to create many worthy and - for the Macedonian film, very relevant - authors' opuses. In that context, the generic form of the film expression and its specifics are of the primary interest.

The short-length feature film production has its own specifics in the Macedonian feature film production in general. As the result of the routine in the film expression, the short-length film forms had the role of the educative polygon for the Macedonian filmmakers.

One of the most significant segments for the Macedonian cinematography in the 70's was the appearance and the development of the animated film. It develops in a few animation-style directions: caricatural gag-animation, the graphic and painted expression and subject animation. The Macedonian film animation didn't pass unnoticed from the domestic and foreign film critics. The specific thematic and the noticeable structuring of the animated film material placed this segment of the Macedonian cinematography on the high pedestal in the world's film animation in general. The Macedonian film animation, with its short but bright history, has a significant place in the Macedonian cinematography. With its power to express - creatively and aesthetically - the spirit of its time, and simultaneously sharing its existence with the feature film, the animated film, at the same time, fulfills the gaps in the feature film production in general.

Chronology of the History of Macedonian Filmmaking
  • 1895

    The first public film screening of the Manaki Brothers' film was presented on December 28, 1895.

  • 1896

    Film screenings arrived in the Balkans. The strange "living pictures" of the Lumiere brothers were screened by traveling theaters in Belgrade and Bucharest.

  • 1903

    The oldest film about Macedonia that is known until now is The Massacres in Macedonia (Massacres de Macedoine) filmed by the Pathe Brother Company from France.

  • 1910

    The frames of the Manakis' films were filled with Macedonian traditional customs, celebrations, dances and scenes of everyday life.

  • 1911

    The Manaki brothers filmed three film stories with which they came close to the documentary film expression. These are the films about the visit of the last Turkish Sultan Mehamed Reshad V to Thessalonika and Bitola, and afterwards the visit of the Romanian delegation to Bitola, Gopesh and Resen, and the funeral of the Metropolitan Emilianos.

  • 1912-1913

    The Balkan Wars which tragically tore apart Macedonia entered the film frame. The war was a focus of interest for cameramen.

  • 1914-1918

    Immediately after the end of the second Balkan war, Macedonia was drawn into the whirlwind of the World War I, especially with the opening of the Macedonian front. This war was filmed both by cinematographers of the Powers of the Entente and the Axis Powers.

  • 1921

    Besides the war operations of the Macedonian front, a great number of sequences were filmed showing the life of the civilians.

  • 1922

    Janaki and Milton Manaki made their first film screening in Bitola, in the garden of their own "Manaki Theater".

  • 1923

    The first Yugoslav film school for educating actors was opened in Zagreb.

  • 1924

    The script written by Arsenij Jovkov was used for producing the film Macedonia (Македонија).

  • 1925

    Regular film projections started at the cinema "Ohrid Lake" (in the building specifically built for film screening).

  • 1926

    In Skopje, on January 14th, the first modern cinema "Apollo" was opened.

  • 1927

    In Skopje, on January 18th, the "Zrinski Cafe" and its cinema were destroyed in a fire.

  • 1928

    Risto Zerdeski-Zerde from Prilep, went to Zagreb to act in the film The Both of Them (Тие двајцата).

  • 1929

    The first steady cinema "Balkans" owned by Gjulap Sulejmanov was opened in Strumica.

  • 1932

    In Skopje, the construction of the modern film theater "Vardar" was started, while in Bitola, in the theater of Mihail Pema, the first 20% sound film The Wings (Крила) was shown.

  • 1935

    The year started the film screening activity of Ilija Dzonov from Bogdanci, near Gevgelija. First he opened a regular cinema in Gevgelia, and one year later he started film screenings in Strumica. Soon he provided a small, portable projector which was used in 1935 and 1936 for two large traveling tours (the projector was carried on a donkey).

  • 1937

    A large number of film-making crews from all over the world stayed in Macedonia and produced numerous documentaries.

  • 1939

    Blagoja Drnkov filmed in Skopje with his 9.5 mm. camera the film The Catholic Procession (Католичка процесија).

  • 1946

    Blagoja Pop-Stefanija from Ohrid filmed a short film named The Monument (Споменик) by use of an 8mm camera "Movex AGFA".

  • 1947

    Blagoja Drnkov made two important film records on a 9.5 mm. film The Gliders Parade (Едриличарски митинг) and Bombed Bitola (Бомбардирана Битола).

  • 1952

    The Committee for cinematography in the Government of Federal People Republic of Yugoslavia founded the central film company for production of newsreels "Zvezda Film" in Belgrade. They produced 19 different newsreels for "Zvezda Film" concerning Macedonia.

  • 1953

    The first Macedonian documentary films were produced after the liberation of the country.

  • 1954

    "Vardar Film" produced the first Macedonian feature film Frosina (Фросина).

  • 1958

    An extremely rich production year for "Vardar Film". Twenty documentary films were produced, among those being: Prespa (Преспа), directed by K. Bilbilovski, Who is Guilty? (Кој е крив?), directed by K. Nedkov, Miravci's Wedding (Миравска свадба), directed by J. Kamberski, A Story For the Man and the Sheep (Приказна за човекот и овците), directed by T. Popov, Conversation in Our Way (Нашински разговори), directed by B. Drnkov, Dawns in the Fields (Мугри во полињата), directed by Branko Gapo.

  • 1959

    "Vardar Film" started producing the second Macedonian feature film Wolves' Night (Волчја ноќ) took place in Skopje.

  • 1961

    The first colour feature film in “totalscope” was filmed. The film was Miss Stone (Мис Стон), directed by Zhika Mitrovic.

  • 1962

    "Vardar Film" produced two feature films: Visa of Evil (Виза на злото), directed by France Shtiglic and Three Girls Named Ana (Три Ани).

  • 1063

    Two new Macedonian feature films were shown for the first time. The first Macedonian film comedy A Quiet Summer (Мирно лето) was the first Macedonian feature film directed by Macedonian director, Dimitrie Osmanli. The second feature film was The Assassins from Salonika (Солунските атентатори), directed by Zhika Mitrovic.

  • 1964

    An extremely rich year for documentary film production. "Vardar Film" produced 14 documentary films.

  • 1965

    Fifteen documentary films were shot.

  • 1968

    Despite the difficult circumstances, "Vardar Film" did not stop production. A feature film Under the Same Sky (Под исто небо) was produced.

  • 1969

    The feature film Days of Temptation (Денови на искушение) was produced.

  • 1970

    "Vardar Film" produced the feature film The Mountain of Wrath (Планината на гневот), directed by Ljubisha Georgievski.

  • 1971

    The feature film Time Without War (Време без војна), directed by Branko Gapo, was produced by the newly founded “Community of Film”.

  • 1974

    "Vardar Film" produced the feature film The Price of a Town (Цената на градот), directed by Ljubisha Georgievski.

  • 1980

    This was one of the most productive years for the Macedonian cinema. "Vardar Film" produced the feature films Black Seed (Црно семе), directed by Kiril Cenevski, which won many awards such as "Golden Arena" at the Pula Film Festival, 1971, for the best direction.

  • 1988

    After the sudden disintegration of the Community of Film Makers, "Vardar Film" achieved a new production boom.

  • 1993

    "Vardar Film" produced two feature films: Times, Waters (Време, води), directed by Branko Gapo and The Lead Brigade (Оловна бригада), directed by Kiril Cenevski (the director of photography of the last film Misho Samoilovski won "The Golden Arena" at Pula Film Festival) and the film itself was awarded with the prize "First of May" for the best film with contemporary theme.

  • 1994

    "Vardar Film" in co-production with Television Skopje produced the second comedy in the Macedonian cinematography A Weekend of Deceased Persons (Викенд на мртовци) directed by Kole Angelovski.

  • 1996

    Two feature films, produced by Pegasus were released for the first time. They were Macedonian Saga (Македонска сага) and Light Grey (Светло сиво), with three stories: The Urubu Bird and the Virgin (Птицата Урубу и девицата), Wonderful World (Прекрасен свет) and Devil in the Heart (Ѓавол во срцето). The Yugoslav Festival of film Camera "Manaki's Meetings", after a year of pause, revived into international film Camera Festival "Manaki Brothers" with quite a changed program. The official competition comprised feature films produced in Turkey, France, USA, Austria, Russia, U.K., Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Israel, Denmark, Albania, Germany, FR Yugoslavia and Macedonia. The organizer of this event was the Cinematheque of Macedonia.

  • 1997

    This was the year of the greatest success for Macedonian cinematography. The feature film Before the Rain (Пред дождот), directed by Milcho Manchevski, and co-produced by U.K., France and Macedonia, won the highest prize at Venice Film Festival, the “Golden Lion". The film achieved international success and participated at a great number of international film festivals such as Sao Paolo, Sandens, Getebourg etc. Also, this film, as a special event, opened this year's Film Camera Festival "Manaki Brothers" in Bitola.

  • 2001

    The private production company "New Production" realized a Macedonian and Turkish co-production, the feature film Suicide Guide (Самоуништување), directed by Erbil Altanaj, a Turkish director from the screenplay by the Macedonian author Sashko Nasev.

  • 2002

    Two feature films were realized: Gipsy Magic (Џипси меџик), directed by Stole Popov from the screenplay by Vladimir Blazhevski, in co-production with the private producer Triangle. The film was awarded the Grand Prix at the Mediterranean Film Festival in Montpellier, France; and Across the Lake (Преку езерото), directed by Antonio Mitriceski, from the screenplay by Tashko Georgievski, a Macedonian and Polish co-production in cooperation with the Polish producer "Logos". The feature film Night (Ноќ), directed by Esad Musliu was realized through a Macedonian and Albanian co-production.

  • 2003

    Milcho Manchevski's film Dust (Прашина) opened film festival in Venice. This movie was also shown at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2001. Due to the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center, the festival came to an abrupt end.

  • 2004

    The experimental feature film The Judge (Судијата), in independent production was written and directed by Zhaneta Vangeli.

  • 2005

    Few feature films appeared. Like a Bad Dream (Како лош сон) directed by Antonio Mitriceski. Dust (Прашина) was screened in Toronto to the Macedonian community with the director in attendance.

  • 2006

    The first Macedonian Film Festival was held in North America, in Toronto.

    Another very productive year for Macedonian filmmaking. The Great Water (Големата вода), by Ivo Trajkov, How I Killed a Saint (Како убив светец), by Teona Mitevska Strugar and Mirage (Илузија), by Svetozar Ristovski were produced. The documentary Just Arrived (Само што пристигнале), by Canadian Macedonian filmmaker Sandra Danilovic was screened in Toronto and shown many times on OMNI television in Canada.

  • 2007

    Suzana Dinevski's The Children of 1948 (Децата од 1948) (Kodak Imaging Award winner at Montreal Film Festival) plays to an audience in Toronto.

  • 2008

    The Macedonian Film Festival added Emerging Filmmakers to our presentations and received submissions from Belgium, USA, Australia and France.

    MFF commemorated 60th year of the Begaltsi with two outstanding films Next Year in Lerin (Следната година во Лерин) and In Kontinuo (which had been in storage for 20 years). Submissions from Germany and the UK.
    First Macedonian film festival organized in London, England and New York City, US.

  • 2009

    World premiere of A Name is a Name (Името си е име) at Macedonian Film Festival.

  • 2010

    MFF's first Skype interview with the director, Sasha C. Damjanovski.

  • 2011

    Tom Melissis, Canadian Macedonian actor introduces documentary The Spirit of My Father and director Goran Trenchovski via SKYPE.

  • 2012

    A classic film with the Macedonian version of Romeo & Juliet Macedonian Saga. The Balkans was featured with WHOSE IS THIS SONG? along with a short film featuring Canadian Macedonian actor, Paul Saunders, “Along with Mr. Carter”.

  • 2013

    Partnering with Toronto Jewish Film Festival, THE THIRD HALF was presented.

  • 2014

    Awards to be presented for the first time by a jury of 3 prominent Canadian filmmaker/critics. Premiere of WITNESSES, the experiences of Macedonians in Toronto displaced at the time of the Greek Civil War.

  • 2015

    MILCHO MANCHEVSKI Perspective. Manchevski attended all films for a Q & A, as well as conducted a Master class at York University in Film department.

  • 2016

    Two Directors attended: Goran Trenchovski (GOLDEN FIVE) and Goce Cvetanovski (CHILD OF THE WORLD). Cvetanovski presented his family of filmmakers.

  • 2017

    First time we have invited an actress to attend the film festival. She starred in Liberation of Skopje and was available for a Q & A after the screening. Representatives from Film Agency and Minister of Culture attended as well.


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