TOUCH THE LIGHT IN BITOLA

Report by Jure Černec and Simon Tanšek, Slovene Association of Cinematographers ZFS

The 38th Manaki Brothers Film Festival, dedicated to cinematographers, once again offered us film treats from all over Europe and beyond. The festival provided a quality programme, but, most importantly, it offered a pleasant socialising with colleagues from all corners of the world. The credit for this goes to the entire festival team headed by Blagoje Kunevski and Gena Teodosievska, who, despite the problems during the preparations and at the beginning of the festival, brought the festival ship quite masterfully to the safe harbour of a happy end.

20170926 111102In addition to the excellent projections, the festival also offered inspiring lectures by experts such as Milčo Mančevski, this year’s recipient of the award for an outstanding contribution to world cinema, and Giuseppe Rotuno, this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, represented by his student and colleague Luca Coassin, who provided an insight into some of the greatest secrets of the grand master Rotuno. Among other things, Giuseppe Rotuno also cooperated in the processes of restoring some of the masterpieces of Italian cinema, which confirms the importance of the cooperation between DOPs and restorers.

Pierre Lhome, also a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, had a master class with Nigel Walters, he talked about his work and especially about the necessity of decent working conditions in filmmaking, which often lack in the current capitalist world. In cooperation with First Film First, Christian Berger presented a few secretes of his work and stressed the significance of the cooperation among all film professionals and the exaggerated ascription of importance to techniques and technology. The next day, Maria Djurković described her approach in preparing for a film shoot and presented in words and images some of her most magnificent achievements. This event also took place in cooperation with the First Film First workshop, which, in addition to the Maia Workshop, partly took place in Bitola.

They also screened student studies and films. This year’s positive new feature was that the student filmmakers discussed their works after the screenings.

The jury had a difficult job, since, during the festival, a lot of excellent films reflected from the screen, excellent both in view of the cinematography and on the whole. We know that the worst films are usually the ones that are beautifully filmed... The awards doubtlessly went into the right hands, but it is also true that there were more films that deserved to be awarded than there 20170926 113206were awards. The jury consisting of Paul Rene Roestad (president) and the members Luca Coassin, Jani Petteri Passi, Darijan Pejovski and Erol Zubcevic conferred the following awards: the Small Camera 300 award went to Naum Dokseski for the Macedonian short film Look at Her (directed by Goran Stolevski), the Special Mention went to the young Russian cinematographer Daniil Fomichev for How Victor Garlic Took Alexey the Stud to the Nursing Home (directed by Alexander Hant), the Bronze Camera 300 went to Dejan Dimeski for The Frog (directed by Elmir Jukic), the Silver Camera 300 went to Reiner Klausmann for In the Fade (directed by Fatih Akin) and the Golden Camera went to the Hungarian cinematographer Marcell Rev for Jupiter’s Moon.

Compared to the previous two editions, we noticed an increase in the number of viewers and the people attending the press conferences, which is a positive and good sign. The selection of films provided an insight into the broadness of the cinematographic profession through various approaches, styles and technologies. Thus, we could also see works shot on film negative, which testifies to the fact that film will never be completely abandoned. On the contrary, it might share the fate of vinyl records, whose production is currently on the rise.

Gena Teodosievska is Festival Artistic DirectorGena Teodosievska standing with Pierre L´Home AFC

In any case, it is clear that, through all the changes in technology, which have brought changes both in the aesthetics and the working method, cinematography remains loyal to its primary goal – to create images that help the story and arouse emotions in the viewers.

The Manaki Brothers Film Festival means a great deal to us visual artists. We can see a lot of films, but, most importantly, have a friendly chat with our colleagues in a pleasant environment. The festival makes the film family of cinematographers even more honest and connected, which is why we hope to meet again in Bitola next year, at the 39th edition of the Manaki Brothers Film Festival.

In Bitola, we were touched by light.

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IMG 3151 Simon Tanšek and Jure Černec,
Slovene Association of Cinematographers ZFS
the reporters