The International Cinematographers’ Film Festival "MANAKI BROTHERS", is the first and oldest international film festival dedicated to the creativity of cinematographers across the world. It started in 1979 at the initiative of one of the main founders - MFPA / Macedonian Film Professionals Association, and was co-organized with the host-city of Bitola and the Cinematheque of Macedonia, established in honor and inspired by the abundant photographic/cinematographic opus of the MANAKI brothers: Yanaki (1878-1954) and Milton (1880-1964). Thus, naturally, the cornerstones of the future festival were laid in Bitola, where the Manaki brothers had their photo-studio and cinema theater. Initially conceived as Manaki`s Gatherings, and later on also as a festival of film camera of the former Yugoslav cinematographers, the festival grew with great potential so that after the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Macedonia on 8 September 1991 it was transformed into an International Festival of world cinemas represented with feature films competing for the three festival awards: the Golden, Silver and Bronze Camera 300.

Mujdeci: I am happy to have won an award at the world-renowned festival “Manaki Brothers”

The “Manaki Brothers” festival is one of the most eminent festivals on a world level and it is a great joy for me to have the “Golden Manaki” award granted to me – emphasized the director Kaan Mujdeci last night after receiving the award in the “Cineplexx” cinema hall in Skopje.
Mujdeci won the award for his film “Sivas” which was part of the “SEE Camera” program of the 36th festival edition and which the audience in Skopje was able to see yesterday. “Sivas” is Turkey’s candidate for the “Oscar” award for best foreign film and won the Special award from the jury in Venice last year.

-I noticed that there are many varieties, faiths, cultures in Skopje, living in one place and in harmony. I am very glad about that and I wish you live the same way for centuries to come. I dedicate the award exactly to the harmony and the varieties of this city. The ladies are dominant in the audience tonight and I am particularly afraid of that. I apologize that there are only a few female roles and that there are vulgar words. I want to thank the “Yunus Emre” Cultural Center, which represents us on a global level and I thank them for their hospitality – said the Turkish director.
The event was organized by the Turkish Cultural Center “Yunus Emre” – Skopje and the International Cinematographers’ Film Festival “Manaki Brothers” – Bitola. The award was granted by the festival’s Art director, Blagoja Kunovski.

-I saw “Sivas” at the Venice film festival last year and it entered my wider list of films for this year, but having it as part of the SEE Camera program is also completely justified. This film is one of the most significant works of the new Turkish film – stressed Kunovski.
The selector of the Official program reminisced about the beginnings of the great Turkish director Nuri Bilge Celyan who won a Special recognition just in 2003 at “Manaki Brothers” for his film “Distant”.
-I assure you that during all the past years and with all the directors so far, we have been taking into account the presentation of Turkish films, which we have been representing with world-famous names. This year we’ve had Celyan’s grand associate, screen writer Ercan Kesal as member of the jury in the Official Program, as well as one of the most famous actresses in Turkey, Hatice Aslan, as member of the jury in the “New European Cinema” program – said Kunovski.

17.500 people attended the festival, “Lazar” and “Sicario” – most watched films

ICFF “Manaki Brothers” and the official partner Vip operator announce that around 17.500 people attended the event at the 36th edition of the “Manaki Brothers” festival which lasted for 10 days. Two hundred films – long, short, feature, documentary, students’, children’s films were shown in the 13 festival programs. The films were screened in 4 halls. The entire program, along with the OFF Program, which consisted of album promotions, concerts, DJ performances, took place at 22 locations in total. Bitola’s citizens showed strong interest in the events in the OFF program, 31 of them in total. The intensive preparations for the festival started in the middle of April, when the festival’s first project was the presentation at the film festival in Cannes, within the South-East European Pavilion. Cannes helped us make contacts with a big part of this year’s guests, as well as regarding the film program or the film selection.
30 people worked on organizing the festival, while for the entire realization helped 13 photographs (who made an archive of 21.000 photos), 25 guest stewards, 65 volunteers, 20 members of the technical support team. The festival awarded 10 awards in total, one award was given by the Hungarian FilmLab amounting to 10.000 euros for the director of the best film in the New European Cinema program, Grimur Hokanarson. 

The films: “Lazar” by Svetozar Ristovski, “Sicario” by David Villeneuve, “Macbeth” by Justin Kurzel attracted the audience’s interest the most. In the Additional program of the festival there were: six master classes (Bozidar – Bota Nikolic, Hayet Benkara, Ryszard Lenczewski, Jaromir Sofr and two by Milco Mancevski), five workshops (Pece Kotevski, Deborah van Dam, Wim Coryn, Miguel Llanso, Sofr and Marek Jicha), two panel-discussions (Ana Vasilevska – Macedonian film in the past 25 years and film critic today, led by Gena Teodosievska along with five guests –critics, six presentations (Ohrid Film Academy, Torino FilmLab, SONY, Ater Studio, Easyrig and Vision.mk, one conference and three exhibitions.
Milco Mancevski’s and Bozidar – Bota Nikolic’s master-classes drew most attention. 12 presenters form the region and beyond participated in the IMAGO conference. We had 65 students from 13 film academies and faculties with which we have signed cooperation contracts. The festival awarded the best student’s film, “Milevin potiljak” by director Nikica Zdunic who had his award granted by the director Milco Mancevski.
This year, the festival paid a lot of attention to online promotion through оur webpage, especially through the particular content called Manaki Daily in which through videos, photos and news in English we marked all festival events. This platform saw 100 photo galleries, 62 news covered with one or several photos as well as ten daily video-chronicles and one cumulative video-chronicle, including all the most important event at the festival. 

Right with this novelty we are receiving positive reactions from around the world, even from former festival guests who through joking wrote us that following us on the site, they feel as if they were in Bitola. Around 2.700 children saw the six films from the Vip Junior Program. Moreover, about 50 students were guests at the festival and took part in the programs. Around 550 children attended the world premiere of “Phantom boy”, first cartoon completely dubbed by actors from the National Theater of Bitola.

"Golden Camera 300" for Mátyás Erdély, the cinematographer of "Son of Saul"

ICFF “Manaki Brothers” and the official partner Vip operator announced the awards of the 36th edition of the festival tonight. The “Golden Camera 300” went to the cinematographer Mátyás Erdély for the film “Son of Saul”. “This film offers a new way of storytelling; on one hand we are facing the main character’s psychology, while on the other hand we were witnessing the dreads of the holocaust” – with these words, the jury of the Official Program chose the best cinematography, announcing it at tonight’s awards ceremony in the Center of Culture in Bitola.
The “Silver Camera 300” went to Adam Arkapaw for the film “Macbeth”, for the extraordinary skill to put new technologies in service of Shakespeare’s classical drama. The “Bronze Camera 300” went to Mateo Guzman for the film “Land and shade”, for representing rural America with poetic and magical realism in a way rarely witnessed on film.

The jury consisted of: Ryszard Lenczewski - president, Bozidar - Bota Nikoloc, Hayet Benkara, ErcanKesal and Mitko Panov. The jury also presented Morteza Gheidi with a Special Mention for the film "Nahid". The jury emphasized the cinematographic talent of Vladan Radovic as well, for the film "Black souls".
Best film in the "New European Cinema" program is "Rams" directed by Grimur Hokanarson. This project will also receive 10.000 euros awarded by the "Hungarian FilmLab" ("Magyar Filmlabor"), for the post-production of a next film project.
The award for best cinematography went to Vasco Viana for the Portuguese film "Mountain" by Joao Salaviza.

In the new program "SEE Camera" the award "Golden Manaki" went to the Turkish film"Sivas" directed by Kaan Mujdeci. Milos Srdic was named best cinematographer in this program for the film "The woods are still green".
The member of jury were: Maja Bogojevic- film critic, Diomides Nikita- producer and Miroslav Momcilovic - director. The cinematographer of the film "Down from Heaven" Goran Naumovski won the "Small Golden Camera 300" award.
The award was granted to him by Frosina Boshkova, in charge of sponsorships at Vip operator.
The audience also witnessed a few short films made by children during the festival, in the framework of the Vip Junior Program and “Giffoni Voyager”.
The festival’s director Dimitar Nikolov addressed the audience thanking all the attendees, the official partner Vip, the sponsors, the entire team, volunteers and guest stewards who gave their utmost to make a 10-day beautiful festival in Bitola.
 -I will miss being without the festival a little in the next 360 days even though I will surely be involved in a different way. Thank you for the support, for everything you have done so that this festival would live up to its reputation and to advance by taking huge steps, to become something even bigger and something we will be proud of – said Nikolov.
The laureate Bozhidar-Bota Nikolc was granted the Lifetime Achievement Award “Golden Camera 300”. He said that he has been working on film for 47 years and that in the world there is no such place as Bitola where cinematographers are being stopped on the street to take a photo.
 - I wouldn’t want to sound pathetic but I rejoiced very much when the director of the festival told me that I was getting this award. However, I was also a bit saddened because still, this is a lifetime achievement award. Film is a collective art. Many people around me have helped me win this award and I would like to thank all of them. First of all, to my family for their patience, to the directors for the faith they put in me and I would be unfair if I didn’t thank my two assistants to whom I would like to say: “We’ve won an award” – said Bota Nikolic.

He received the award from the Mayor of Bitla, Vladimir Talevski. He congratulated Nikolic on the awards.
 -As each film speaks of pain, passion, joy, love, fear, anxiety, so our festival knows about pain, love, passion and joy. I thank all of you as with your presence in the past 10 days you have shown and proven and we have all seen and lived a great truth, which is that the International Festival of Film Camera “Manaki Brothers” is the most important event in the domain of culture in the Republic of Macedonia. – said Talevski.
 Nigel Waters, President of the European Federation of Cinematographers IMAGO granted the award to the laureate Jaromir Sofr.
He emphasized the importance of the festival for cinematographers as the oldest one in the world dedicated to them. Sofr showed his gratitude for the recognition and said:
-You are a truly friendly audience and I hope that you will watch films after me and that you will manage to see all my colleagues’ and friends’ quality films rightfully digitalized because it is a way for them to be preserved. Actually, with digitalization itself the instrument changes but the filmmakers’ and cinematographers’ art does not change and that is why I believe that they shall continue our tradition in future as well, will use the new technologies, but will also continue to be just as good cinematographers and we will watch just as great films.
The musician Goce Naumov performed at the ceremony, with the music and visual project “Mil-tone”, in which through videos from the Manaki brothers and through his original music he brought us back a century ago when the festival’s patrons worked.
In honor of the awards, the Taiwanese – Chinese film “ The Assassin” was screened.

The famous Czech cinematographer Jaromír Šofr delighted by Macedonia

The third laureate of the Lifetime Achievement Award “Golden Camera 300” was presented at the press conference – the famous Czech cinematographer Jaromír Šofr. During his stay in Bitola he held a master-class and he also held a workshop with his colleague Marek Jicha, who is the president of the Association of Czech Cinematographers. At the workshop the main focus was put on Czech cinematography. They also did a presentation on the method of digitalization and restauration of films in Czech Republic called DRA. Šofr is a professor at FAMU, one of the oldest film schools in the world.
Blagoja Kunovski, the art director of this year’s “Manaki Brothers” festival, emphasized the greatness of Šofr’s work as well as his contribution to Czech and European cinematography in general. He reminded us of Šofr’s connection with the festival on several levels: as a contemporary of the director Jiří Menzel who is a recipient of the award “Special Golden Camera 300”; as a recipient himself in 2007 of the “Golden Camera 300” for the film “I Served the King of England”. In the year 2000 he was a president of the international jury of the “Manaki Brothers” festival. - I am very happy to be here. I am delighted by your country which is making a progress every year and my favorite is your Alexander the Great – said Šofr. He also reminisced about the beginning of his career, when with the first lady of the Czech New Wave, Věra Chytilová, they shot the student film “Strop”. He filmed his second film with the famous Czech director Karel Kachyňa, and his third one was made with Menzel, which marks the beginning of their future collaboration. He received his Oscar award for their first film collaboration, the film “Closely Watched Trains”.
- Menzel was and still is a traditional type. He insisted on a perfect script, a perfect story, perfect plot, intelligible to everyone. His greatest pleasure is to cause satisfaction in the audience. Except for one film, I have collaborated with him on all his films – said Šofr.

The cinematographer of the film “Anime Nere”, part of the Official Selection program of the “Manaki Brothers” festival, Vladan Radovic, was present at the press conference.
Blagoja Kunovski, the selector of the Official Selection, said that this is a third film collaboration between the cinematographer Radovic and the director Francesko Munzi. The film was a laureate at the last year’s Venice Film Festival and was declared as Italian film of the year by the jury of this year’s festival in Bari.
The cinematographer, who was born in Sarajevo, said that he came to Bitola for the first time when he was a student, on the 13th edition of the “Manaki Brothers” festival.
- It was a great chance to see many of the best Yugoslav films. A lot of the cinematographers from those films were present on the festival, people who in great measure have still remained an inspiration to me. We were feeding on/from their light. I am very happy that after 25 years I was called again in Bitola, this time as a guest of the main program – said Radovic.
He emphasized that he was lucky to enroll in the Roma Film Academy where he learned all the secrets of the craft from the greatest Italian cinematographers.

The Bulgarian film “The Woman of My Life” was screened at this year’s “Manaki Brothers” festival. The cinematographer and producer of the film, Ivan Tonev, was present at the press conference. 
The moderator, Sasha Stanishic, said that this is a special and intriguing film, whose story is happening in four different countries, on three different continents. The film is a co-production between Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania and Iraq. The film is a love story about two immigrants from Iraq and is filmed with three different filming techniques. 
- A lot of films treat the theme of immigration and refugees. We didn’t want it to be a political view of the subject, but a humane one, the power of survival in this political situation. That's the reason why we chose this heavy topic and heavy production from an organisational point of view, to realize it in so many countries, with so many co-productions. It's very difficult to communicate because a lot of countries were involved, especially from the Middle East. But we were lucky we started this film before the war, more precisely, four years ago.
- The people are the same all over the world, the good and the bad. We need to see the good things in people and try to avoid the bad ones… All of us here on the Balkan live on a small territory and I think that the problem of the refugees is a common problem. That is the main point of the movie in my point of view. – said Tonev, answering a question about the ongoing refugee crisis all over Europe. 

Ten awards to be granted at the festival’s closing ceremony

Ten awards shall be granted at the closing of the 36th edition of the “Manaki Brothers” festival on Sunday, starting at 19.30 in the big hall of the Center of Culture.
The cinematographers Jaromir Sofr and Bozidar-Bota Nikolic will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards “Golden Camera 300”, the best films of the Official Competition will be announced that will take home the Golden, Silver and Bronze Camera 300. Awards for best film and best cinematographer will also be granted for the programs “New European Cinema” (“Bona Dea” Award) and SEE Camera (“Golden Manaki” Award). The director of the festival, Dimitar Nikolov, will address the audience.
In honor of the awards the Taiwanese-Chinese film “The Assassin” will be screened, directed by Hu Hsiao-Hsien and with Mark Lee Ping Bin as cinematographer.  
The actor Ognen Drangovski will be the ceremony’s host.
Within the closing, there will be a performance of the “Mil-tone” project of musician Goce Naumov. 

“Mil-tone” is an audio-visual work showing another perspective of film materials and the time when the brothers Milton and Janaki Manki worked. Through the selection of some frames from the footages and intertwining them in a new narrative relation, a different view of the event at the beginning of the 20th century is suggested. The sounds and music which follow this visual collage are the primary means of expression through which the drama and the irony of certain political and religious events in the Pelagonia region before the beginning of the First World War are being intensified. “Mil-tone” is an artistic and musical piece, deliberately making an etymological interference with the name of one of the Manaki brothers, aiming to emphasize the unity of contrasts among audio-visual associations and character of the time when Milton lived.
Music and audio-visual concept: Goce Naumov
Sound designer: Ivica Jankulovski
Video editing: Rasa Petrovic
Goce Naumov is a musician and an archaeologist who connects sound and semiotic notions of key cognitive and symbolic principles in his work, specific to archaic and contemporary cultures. He is a part of several Macedonian and American jazz bands with which he has published around 10 albums and he has cooperated with Damo Suzuki, Trevor Watts, Gustavo Aguilar, Tony Brown, Teodosij Spasov and others. Aside from these activities, he has composed music for a few theater plays, ballet and other performances and is at the same time author of four books and around forty scientific papers concentrating on archaic cultures.

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