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.

"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.

Jury of "New European cinema" – It won't be easy to choose the best

Dejan Trajkoski, the selector of the New European Cinema program of the 36th edition of ICFF “Manaki Brothers”, presented the jury of his program. The jury is consisted of Vladan Petkovic, a critic, journalist and writer from Serbia, the Israeli director Yariv Horowitz, who is also a chairman of the association of film directors of Israel and the Turkish actress Hatice Aslan.
All of the members were delighted to be a part of the jury and be present in Bitola at this time. For some of them it was the first time, for others Bitola was already a familiar place.
- I’ve attended this festival four or five times and the one problem I have is being in the jury, so I don’t get to see all of the films from other programs that I want to see – said Petkovic, refferig to the richness of the festival’s program.
Horowitz was delighted by the people, the food and the weather in Bitola.
- Making films is an excellent way to show your own identity to the rest of the world. Macedonia needs to take its story outside - said Horowitz.
He emphasized that there should be collaboration between Israel and Macedonia, although an agreement for co-production still hasn’t been made between these countries. He said he’ll do his best to make this happen when he returns in Israel.
- I have to say that it’s great to see how the new generation makes films. Good films but also depressing to a certain point, the condition of young people in Europe. It’s my pleasure to be here and I’m very thankful for your reception. The selection is excellent and we already have certain hardships when it comes to choosing the winner. 

Aslan said it was her first time in Macedonia. For her, the chosen films are very different, but she has enjoyed all of them when she was seeing them.
- Film language is very different and you see it from a different aspect when you are in the jury. Because when you are in the jury you don’t have enough time to see many of the films… Of course when you are an actress and you see the films sometimes you feel the need to be in those films. – said Aslan. 
Dejan Trajkoski talked about another dimension of the festival “Manaki Brothers”, a platform for exchange of knowledge and skill as well as a chance to establish a future collaboration with the film professionals in Macedonia and in other places of the world and especially with the guests at the festival. 

Sasha Stanishic’s short film “Down from Heaven” had its world premiere on the “Manaki Brothers” festival and was very well received by the public. The film is a co-production between Macedonia and Bulgaria.
The cinematographer is Goran Naumovski and the lead roles are played by Ana Oshavkova, Hanis Bagashov and Zoran Bojarovski. The film can be placed in the genre of tragicomedy, a film adaptation of an urban legend from Bitola.
- At first, the film was supposed to be shot in Skopje, but we didn’t regret choosing Bitola at the end, we had great extras for this kind of film – said Naumovski. 

- It is a family story of sorts, a story about the childhood of Ljube Cvetanovski, my father – said Goce Cvetanovski. Ljube Cvetanovski was a journalist who did travel documentaries for MRT (Macedonian Radio Television).
- The whole concept is a bit experimental, because the text, the film narration, was taken from the autobiographical book “The Child in Me”... I was afraid if it would function at all. – said Goce Cvetanovski. 
The film uses stories from Ljube Cvetanovski’s autobiography, as well as archival material from the travels shown on MRT.
The director of the festival, Dimitar Nikolov, pointed out the well-executed composition of the two main segments that comprise the film. Cvetanovski said that he was afraid from this experimental concept at first, because he hasn’t seen it other documentaries before, but now he’s aware that it functions very well with the story. 

Miguel llanso held a workshop on low budget short films today. He shared his experience of the shooting of his film “Crumbs”, a film that was made with only 200.000 euros.
- Use the social networks to promote your projects. Do not stick rigidly to the script – if you find an interesting character while you film, include him as well. Do not get carried by the beautiful landscapes – they can be dangerous. When you make low budget films, you have to work with people you know well, so you know their limits – said Llanso.
The laureate, Jaromír Šofr, also held two workshops today. In the first one he focused on the history of Czech cinematography, as well as his collaboration with Jiří Menzel. He held the second workshop with the cinematographer Marek Jicha. 
- After the Second World War the famous period of our film industry was the so called ‘Czech new wave’. And I am extraordinarily happy that I was part of the brilliant epoch. And I was lucky that I was a contemporary, not only to great directors but also to great filmmakers and cinematographers - said Šofr.

More and more women get a chance to shoot film in Iran

The cinematographer Morteza Gheidi promoted his first feature film “Nahid”, which was screened at the “Manaki Brothers” festival after its world premiere in Cannes where the director, Ida Panahandeh, received the award Un Certain Regard for debut films. More than 400 people have seen the film which speaks of the taboos and many problems that a woman faces in the Iranian society, as well as the struggle for her own place inside of it. Blagoja Kunovski, the selector of the Official Program, did a short retrospection of the development of Iranian cinematography at the press conference. He was also overjoyed from the fact that the audience liked the film, judging from their reactions. Gheidi emphasized that he is very happy that he is on a festival such as the “Manaki Brothers” one. He has graduated in directing, but his love is the camera.

- Lately, more and more women get a chance to shoot films. The Iranians like to visit the cinema very much. I hope that the reaction for our film at home will be as good as the one in Bitola. The Iranian film is becoming more and more popular in the world, which is the result of a couple of directors. When it comes to the way of filming, because Nahid is the main character, I focused on her. When we wanted to show that she was unhappy at her mother’s house, we used grey atmosphere – said Gheidi. Gheidi worked as an assistant on a film with the great cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. Italian cinematographer Arnaldo Catinari, who filmed "My mother"  with the famous director Nanni Moretti, is also in Bitola. The film will be screened tonight at 20 pm. Guest of the festival is also Hatice Aslan, the main actress in "3 Monkeys" directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

Within Eurolink -the student program of the festival, the prize for best film was announced.The director Milcho Manchevski handed the award to the director Nikica Zdunic for the film  "Milevin Potiljak". 
The Photography by Mario Pucic perfectly complements the director's original idea. It is an exemplary film showing us how the creative collaboration between a director and cinematographer should run. 

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