Manaki film festival

By IMAGO President Paul René Roestad fnf

The Manaki Brothers International Cinematographer´s Film Festival was arranged from 14th to 21st of September in Bitola, Macedonia. It was the festival´s 40th anniversary, and established in 1979 it is the World´s oldest and first cinematographer´s film festival.

And what a celebration it was. The festival´s anniversary Award for Lifetime Achievement was presented to cinematographers Ed Lachman ASC, and Yorgos Arvantis AFC GSC.

Ed Lachman ASC and Nigel Walters BSC after their very popular master
class at the festival.

Photo by Paul René Roestad

Both also held master classes, Ed Lachman were well moderated on stage by Nigel Walters BSC.
The German award winning director Fatih Aikin and his cinematographer Rainer Klausman were also present to hold a master class about their films and long time cooperation.

Yorgos Arvantis AFC GSC, the recipient of
the Manaki Film Festival´s Lifetime
Achievement Award 2019. Photo by Paul
René Roestad

In total, 110 films were screened during this year´s festival, in addition to numerous master-classes, seminars and other arrangements.

The jury in the anniversary year consisted of jury chair Ed Lachmann ASC, and the award winning Bulgarian cinematographer Kaloyan Bozhilov, the Macedonian cinematographer Femji Daut, the vice president of the Federation of European Film Critics Nenad Dukic, and the French producer Dominique Welinski, as jury members.
Helene Louvart AFC won the Manaki Camera 300 Award for her feature film The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao. Constanza Sandoval ADF won the Manaki Camera 300 Award for her ten minute short film Monster God, also nominated for the Cannes Palme d´Or.
The Manaki Film Festival is in addition to see a great number of great international films, a very valuable place for meeting and networking, and the social events are always numerous. Visitors came from all corners of the World, Australia, North and South America, and of course from most European countries.

The IMAGO Balkan Cinematographer´s conference.

Some of the delegates attending the IMAGO Balkan Cinematographer´s conference during the Manaki Film Festival 2019. Photo by Saso Stavrev.

Initiated by Nigel Walters BSC during his presidential period in IMAGO, the Balkan Cinematographer´s Conference were arranged for the 6th time during the Manaki Festival, under Nigel Walter´s leadership. Attended by more than 25 representatives from all Balkan cinematographer´s societies, and with John Mathieson OAL BSC, Angus Hudson BSC, Ula Ponticus BSC, Ron Johansson ACS and Phil Greenstreet from Rosco as conference guests.
Nigel Walters is also heading IMAGO´s Central European Cinematographer´s Conference, during this year´s Camerimage. Imago´s intent with these regional conferences, is in addition to IMAGO getting more detailed and extensive information about special challenges the cinematographers have in the many different geographical areas of IMAGO´s organization, and to help initiate and support closer collaboration between societies and over the borders in the region. As a result of the Balkan Conference, the cinematographer´s societies in the region is now collaborating for an annual Balkan film festival, named Balkam, which is travelling to different Balkan capitals. A festival and arrangements to screen films, for cinematographer´s to meet and exchange experiences and knowledge, to initiate collaboration between cinematographers in the different countries, and to present their films to a wider Balkan audiences.
It is in the Balkan countries the same story as elsewhere: joined together, their voices and influence will be vastly stronger. In many Balkan countries film and tv-production is expanding significantly, but in some other, film production is on a stand-still.


Balkan cinematographers struggle with the same challenges as most other cinematographers do, 6 day work weeks and 14-16 hour work days (often more on commercials), even if such long working days actually are illegal, the control and reaction system is not yet in place to stop such exploitation. In several Balkan countries, cinematographers also have problems getting written contracts and experiencing that salaries steadily goes down, with the same arguments we all hear from time to time, “if you won´t do it we will find someone else”. In the Balkan countries, cinematographers are recognized as authors, but some of the national collective societies are so weakly organized they have problems collecting money from tv-companies, who often are reluctant to pay remuneration anyway even if required to do so by law. The result is that the cinematographers often does not receive the remuneration, even if they should. But some Balkan Societies have started legal procedings to correct this, and IMAGO will of course strongly support any action that will give cinematographers the rights they are entitled to.

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