Monday, January 30, 2012

The Macedonian Film Festival

Preview
The Macedonian Film Festival

(from brinkzine.com 11/18/08)

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I believe that if you spun a globe and put your finger down anywhere in the world, including countries at war or even those you couldn't find on a map, there you'd find somebody carrying around a movie camera. I'm not sure if Macedonia is the last place on earth not to have a film festival of its own but that doesn't matter because beginning this Thursday, New York is hosting its inaugural Macedonian Film Festival. It will run through Sunday at the Cinema Village on 23rd Street and I gotta tell you that of the numerous festivals that pop up in the Big Apple every year, this is one that really intrigues me. I've seen only two of the films that will be playing, "I Am From Titov Veles" and "Mirage" and they were so unrelentingly bleak that I am curious if every filmmaker in that country gets up on the wrong side of the bed each morning; but they were also so perfectly crafted and acted and had such a striking vision that I am hungry for more. I have the feeling that only directors and writers from the relatively young Republic of Macedonia, with its history, cultural diversity, andI finally found it!place on the map could make films quite like these. So this festival gives the adventurous filmgoer a rare opportunity to watch different kinds of movies and get a glimpse of a country we know little about. If the rest of the films are like the two I saw, this festival certainly won't help Macedonia's tourism industry, but it will give the country some recognition, as it is seen by its talented and socially-conscious filmmakers. Give it a shot. Below is the information about the festival from its press release:
THE MACEDONIAN FILM FESTIVAL
TO SCREEN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NEW YORK
NOVEMBER 20TH23RD
AT THE VILLAGE EAST CINEMAS
A four-day festival to celebrate some of the best of Macedonian filmmaking including Milcho Manchevskis Before the Rain and Dust, and Teona Strugar Mitevskas I Am From Titov Veles, the 2008 Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film NEW YORK, NY NOVEMBER 4, 2008 The Macedonian Film Fund in association with International Film Circuit announced today that it will present the first Macedonian Film Festival in New York City, Thursday, November 20th through Sunday, November 23rd, at The Village East Cinema (189 Second Ave at East 12th Street). The aim of the Macedonian Film Festival is to celebrate some of the best cinematic achievements to come from Macedonia, a small, young country comprised of a large number of diverse ethnic groups. In a remarkably short amount of time, it has managed to produce a thriving filmmaking industry and body of work that has garnered both international, critical and awards acclaim. Several directors of the films featured in The Macedonian Film Festival will attend the public screenings of their films for Q&As, including the Academy-Award-nominated Milcho Manchevski.
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For the complete schedule of screening times and for advance purchase of tickets, please visit the Village East Cinema box office (189 Second Ave at East 12th Street) and online at: http://www.villageeastcinema.com/
Festival will screen the following titles:
BEFORE THE RAIN (Closing Night Film) directed by Milcho Manchevski. One Of The Best 1,000 Films Ever Made (The New York Times), winner of over 30 international awards, including the Venice Golden Lion and the Independent Spirit Award. Nominated for a Best Foreign-Language Film Academy Award. Director Milcho Manchevski will be in attendance.
DUST directed by Milcho Manchevski. Venice Film Festival, 2001 Opening Night.
I AM FROM TITOV VELES (Opening Night Film) Macedonias 2008 Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film. A co-presentation with the Global Film Initiative and part of Global Lens 2009 which will premiere in January at the Museum of Modern Art. Director Teona Strugar Mitevska will be in attendance.
KONTAKT directed by Sergej Stanojkovski
THE GREAT WATER directed by Ivo Trajkov
BAL-CAN-CAN directed by Darko Mitrevski
HAPPY NEW YEAR 1949 directed by Stole Popov
BLACK SEED directed by Kiril Cenevski (with short film DAE, directed by Stole Popov)
UPSIDE DOWN directed by Igor Ivanov
MIRAGE directed by Svetozar Ristovski
The Republic of Macedonia, despite being a relatively new country, only formally recognized as an independent nation in 1991, has become, through its cinema, a melting pot of the regions mixed cultural diversity Albanian, Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian, Bosnian, Kosovar and Croatian. said Wendy Lidell, President of International Film Circuit. The films featured in The Macedonian Film Festival have been selected to shine a light on this culturally rich nation and as a declaration of its artistic independence. It is this independent spirit that we hope will appeal to all New Yorkers. Hopefully, the festival will find a home here.
We are thrilled to be working with International Film Circuit to further introduce fans of foreign films to the great scope of our countrys best film talent, said Dejan Iliev, Head of The Macedonian Film Fund. We are very proud of the work we do to help established and emerging Macedonian filmmakers, like Milcho Manchevski, Teona Strugar Mitevska, Ivo Trajkov, Sergej Stanojkovski and Stole Popov, get their stories told and shown at home and internationally.
Highlights of the Festival Include:
Closing Night Films Sunday, November 23rd
BEFORE THE RAIN
(1994; 113 min)
Director: Milcho Manchevski
Milcho Manchevski will be in attendance for a public Q&A.
One Of The Best 1,000 Films Ever Made (The New York Times) "Director Milcho Manchevski has made a debut so astonishingly assured in writing and technique he is guaranteed a footnote in movie history even if he never makes another movie. 'Before the Rain' is stunning. It's the sort of remarkable debut that reinstalls faith in the movies viability as genuine art." (The Miami Herald )... "Eerily beautiful film... Stunning... Meaningless death can be transformed into meaningful art..." (Time)... "Brilliant directorial debut. Work like this is what keeps me going. A reminder of the nobility that film can attain." (Roger Ebert) "A guarantee: it will haunt you for days." (Premiere)... "This film, made by sophisticated filmmaker for mature audiences is a profound musing on humanity." (*****) (The Toronto Sun)... Stunning, often hypnotic... Almost has the impact of a masterpiece... Shakes you up... Coming seemingly out of nowhere, its a movie that seems somehow fully formed, unshakably confident, the work of a filmmaker alive and inventive in every shot he takes. A gleaming virtuosity and visual panache. (Chicago Tribune ) One of the best first films in the history of cinema (Annette Insdorf) Winner of over 30 international awards, including the Venice Golden Lion and the Independent Spirit Award. Nominated for a Best Foreign-Language Film Academy Award.
DUST
(2001; 127 min)
Director: Milcho Manchevski
A provocatively irreverent journey into Cubist storytelling, DUST aims to de-construct how stories are told and history is made. The film begins in a pre-9/11 New York where a 96-year-old woman forces at gunpoint a thief who has broken into her home to listen to her story,
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then leap[s back to the Wild West and follows the gunslinger Luke to turn-of-the-century Paris and on to the Ottoman Empire, where he gets involved in the Macedonian uprising like a Billy-the-Kid-gone-John Reed. Venice Film Festival, 2001 Opening Night.
Opening Night Film Thursday, November 20th
I AM FROM TITOV VELES
(2007; 102 min)
Director: Teona Strugar Mitevska
Teona Strugar Mitevska will be in attendance for public Q&A and press interviews
Macedonias submission for the 2008 Academy Awards is a moving story of three sisters locked in a tormented relationship, and their battle to overcome an environment polluted by human negligence. Features another stunning lead performance by Labina Mitevska, who also appears in festival films Kontakt and Before the Rain. A co-presentation with the Global Film Initiative and part of Global Lens 2009 which will premiere in January at the Museum of Modern Art.
Rounding out the festival are the following titles, some screening for the first time in the U.S.:
KONTAKT
(2005; 96 min)
Director: Sergej Stanojkovski
Two impeccable lead performances distinguish this sensitive story about two misfits who are released from institutions on the same day she from a psychiatric clinic, he from prison. Thrown together unexpectedly, they struggle against their impulses to form a tentative emotional bond. Music by Fassbinder collaborator Peer Raben and written by Gordan Mihic, who also wrote Emir Kusturicas Black Cat, White Cat and Time of the Gypsies. Macedonias 2006 submission for the Academy Awards.
THE GREAT WATER
(2004; 94 min)
Director: Ivo Trajkov
Producer: Robert Jazadjiski
Ivo Trajkov and Robert Jazadjiski will be in attendance for a public Q&A.
A supremely nuanced take on the resilience of the human spirit in the face of political authoritarianism. An elderly Macedonian politician suffers a heart attack. During his near death experience, he recalls his childhood in an orphanage that was in fact an ideological labor camp where kids were brought to be reprogrammed for life under socialism. Winner of Best Film, Best Director and Best Cinematography Awards at the Valencia Film Festival. Macedonias 2004 submission for the Academy Awards.
BAL-CAN-CAN
(2005; 89 min)
Director: Darko Mitrevski
What happens when you try to smuggle your dead mother-in-law across the Bulgarian border during the 2001 civil war in Macedonia? The carpet you have wrapped her in gets stolen by smugglers, of course. This Macedonian-Italian co-production is a picaresque black comedy with echoes of Emir Kusturica that has toured film festivals worldwide including Moscow and Palm Springs.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 1949
(1986; 125 min)
Director: Stole Popov
Stole Popov will be in attendance for a public Q&A.
An incisive look at the inevitable clash between ideology and human relationships. Its June 1948,
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and a group of Yugoslav students return home from school in the USSR after conflict erupts between the two countries. A love triangle develops amidst a backdrop of political intrigue and illicit activity. Happy New Year swept the awards in Yugoslavias 1986 national film festivals and was Yugoslavias 1986 submission to the Academy Awards.
BLACK SEED
(1971; 89 min)
Director: Kiril Cenevski
It is widely accepted that Macedonian cinema came of age with this breakthrough film by first-time filmmaker Kiril Cenevski. Black Seed portrays the tragic destiny and struggle for dignity of the Aegean Macedonians who were deported to concentration camps after the end of the 1946 Civil War in Greece. It won three Golden Arenas at the Pula Film Festival (ex Yugoslavia) and was Yugoslavias submission for the Academy Award that year.
Screening with Black Seed is the Academy Award nominated short film Dae.
DAE
(1979; 16 min)
Director: Stole Popov
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject in 1980. Dae is a poetic look at the Gypsy way of life, and how it has continued to flourish amidst European urbanization. On the eve of St. Georges Day, their greatest holiday, the community celebrates with characteristic joie de vivre.
UPSIDE DOWN
(2007; 105 min)
Director: Igor Ivanov
A penetrating look at life in the newly independent Republic of Macedonia in the 1990s based on a prize-winning contemporary novel, Navel of the World by Venko Andonovski. While returning to Skopje on the train of death, circus acrobat Jan Ludvik flashes back to his childhood as a rebellious prodigy, his life with an alcoholic father, and his love for a beautiful classmate. Winner of the Best Director Award at the Valencia Film Festival.
MIRAGE
(2004, 108 min)
Director: Svetozar Ristovski
Included in the 2004 Toronto Film Festivals Discovery section, Mirage features newcomer Marko Kovacevic in a tragic tale about a talented schoolboy driven to violence through neglect and manipulation. About The Macedonian Film Fund:
The Macedonian Film Fund was established in 2006 to provide comprehensive funding for the Macedonian film industry in its cultural and economic aspects, as well as to further develop the tradition of Macedonian Cinema. Formed by the Macedonian Government, the Film Fund is a legal entity under The Law for the Film Fund. Its main office is located in Skopje, and it officially began working in 2008.
Among the objectives and challenges of the Film Fund are continuing the tradition of Macedonian film culture, and building upon it with new Macedonian cinema, encouraging the expressions of young filmmakers, opening new sales channels, and promoting Macedonian Film internationally.
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We also encourage Macedonian filmmakers to engage in international co-production as a way to provide international distribution and thus wider audience recognition and promotion for Macedonian films and filmmakers. The Film Fund further aims to integrate Macedonias resources into an efficient structure to attract foreign productions to use Macedonia as a filming location. Macedonia has highly educated and trained film professionals who have worked on many domestic and foreign productions, such as Dreamworks The Peacemaker with George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. More recently, Macedonia is becoming known for its visual special effects work for major Hollywood movies including The Aviator and The Golden Compass. With the close cooperation and support of the Government of The Republic of Macedonia, The Film Fund of the Republic of Macedonia offers a variety of tax incentives to international producers in order to attract them to shoot their films amidst the countrys many beautiful and readily accessible landscapes. Opening Night: I Am From Titov Veles
Director Teona Strugar Mitevska NYU Film School Graduate Macedonias 2008 submission for Best Foreign Language Oscar
Co-Presentation with the Global Film Initiative
and part of the Global Lens 2009 premiering in January at MoMA.
Centerpiece: Great Water
Director Ivo Trajkov
Latest film is Wingless in submission for 2009 Sundance Film Festival
Closing Night: Before The Rain & Dust
Legendary Director Milcho Manchevski
Before the Rain was nominated for an Oscar in 1995. NYU Professor Manchevskis next film is the January release Shadows
dannypeary@aol.com

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