23-30 September 2017
IMG 3611 resize15th September, Bitola – Today’s press-conference of the ICFF “Manaki Brothers” was about the new trend of filming by the principle of regional co-production, as well as the presentation of the cinematographers of the films “Belgica” and “Bang Gang” and the cinematographer of the film “Winwin”.
About the making of films by the principle of regional co-production spoke Mimi Gjorgoska-Ilievska, director of the Macedonian Film Agency, Boban Jevtic, director of the Film Centre Serbia, Nenad Dukic, film critic and producer from Serbia and Pavlina Zeleva, a Bulgarian producer and film critic. Everyone agreed that the co-production is in a way a quality guarantee of the films, because that way the film project gets evaluated in several countries, as well as the European fund “Euroimage”.
Mimi Gjorgoska-Ilievska, director of the Macedonian Film Agency, thanked the festival for the invitation and elaborated on the advantages of this kind of cooperation between the countries.
-I would like to note that lately, and not simply in the Balkan area, but in wider Europe as well, the regional productions are looked upon as a new model of film production, where the entire cooperation is much easier. It’s also easier for the producers to collaborate between themselves, as well as the institutions responsible for financing the film projects. I have to say that the cooperation and the support between the Balkan countries is very significant from the aspect of opening new possibilities for film professionals and the exchange of experiences, as well as for the presence of Balkan cinematography on the European festivals. – said Gjorgoska-Ilievska.

Nenad Dukic, a film critic and producer from Serbia, said that the co-productions are inevitable, above all because of financial issues.
-Of course, the directors would like to shoot the film in one country, because co-production makes things more unpredictable for the directors. The financing is the main reason why they decide to take that step. – said Dukic.
Pavlina Zeleva, a Bulgarian film critic who also works as a producer, said that cooperation attempts between the Balkan countries have been going on for a long time as meetings and talks. Zeleva says that at the moment the vision for cooperation is made possible with the financial help from the European funds.
-People from the Balkan understand each other very well, linguistically and culturally. That is why it is a great pleasure for me to collaborate with the countries from this region. – said Zeleva.
Boban Jevtic, the director of the Film Centre Serbia, said that one of the main gains from the co-productions is the help with distribution which is always the weakest link in the Balkans.
-The Balkan films were always weak when it came to distribution. That is the field were more work needs to be done. I think that co-production allows a much better distribution. – said Jevtic.
The speakers at the press-conference said that they are working on the initiative for a Balkan Film Fund, which will allow the shooting of films to be independent from the budget they will be receiving from the national funds and the film agencies in the Balkan countries.
IMG 0708 resizeThe artistic director of the festival, Gena Teodosievska, presented Gerald Kerkletz, cinematographer of the Austrian film “Winwin”, directed by Daniel Hoesl.
The film “Winwin” is filmed in a very interesting way that escapes all the standards of the film industry and above all the financing part.
Kerkletz expressed his gratitude for his presence of the festival.
-I’m glad to be invited on this festival, I’m having a great time in Bitola; the people here are very warm. It’s also very important that at this festival the cinematographers get a chance to communicate with each other, which doesn’t happen often. – said Kerkletz.
Gerald Kerkletz said that “Winwin” is a low-budget film which is financed by several artistic funds, instead of some big film fund. The director started the idea of the film by doing the casting first and then the whole team gradually developed the story, something that couldn’t be done if they had applied at the standard film funds.
-There was no hierarchy, everyone was equally paid, the directors, the actors, the team. The work on a low-budget film implies two extremes: a low amount of money on one side, and freedom, on the other. – said Kerkletz.
The director of the festival, Blagoja Kunovski – Dore, presented Mattias Troelstrup, cinematographer of the film “Bang Gang” and Ruben Impens, cinematographer of the film “Belgica”.
Mattias Troelstrup, who worked on the film “Bang Gang” with the director Eva Husson, spoke of the film as a universal teenage story that can happen everywhere, at any time, regardless whether we speak of the digital era or not. He also said that not all of the actors were professionals, but that they found most of the teenagers on Instagram and Tumblr.
-All the time during filming we adjusted the shooting according to the mood of the teenagers. At the beginning we filmed all the scenes that were joyful and active, and afterwards when they became bored and lethargic, we filmed the scenes in the school, where they’re bored the most. – said Troelstrup.
IMG 3559 resizeThe film “Belgica” tells the story of two brothers who open a club that becomes a cult place which then disrupts the balance in their family lives. The cinematographer Ruben Impens said that it is partially a true story.
-The father of the director also had a club like that, so that is why it is a story which is partially inspired from reality. Working with director Felix van Groeningen I liked that we were free to experiment, we didn’t strictly follow the script – we made changes all the time depending on the current conditions. – said Ruben Impens.
One of the programs at the festival, beside the films from the Official Program, that proved very interesting to the audience is the MakPoint program, consisting of short films from Macedonia. The audience has a chance to meet the authors after the screening and to ask them questions in the form of an open discussion, like at today’s screening of the documentary “A Story in Third Person”, by the Israeli director Yarden Karmin.