Guide to SKOPJE

Macedonia with three projects on this year’s Berlinale

The 62 edition of one of the most renowned film festivals in the world, the Berlin Film Festival will be held this year from 9th to 19th February. Macedonia will be presented with three entries. The short film “Bardo” of the young director Marija Apchevska, the new feature film by Teona Mitevska, “The woman who wiped away her tears,” and the Serbian film “Parade” by Srdjan Dragojevic, who was made with Macedonian co-production.

The short “Bardo” will be the first entry for the Macedonian cinematography in the program “Generation”, which will celebrate its 35th edition and the long tradition of promoting young talented artists. “Generation” is consists of two parts and „Bardo“ will be included in the program with  an educational character, designed especially for children under 14 years.

It’s a 14 minute film of the young director, who managed to get the support from the European Network of Southeastern Europe (SEE Cinema Network) and receive funds in the amount of 8,000 euro. The word “Bardo” in Tibetan has a meaning of state between life and death, sorrow and happiness, between the childhood and the time when we become adults. This film is a visual narrative in which the main role is played by one balloon and the 6-year old Marija Blagoevska. Apchevska is also the author of the script, along with Katerina Momeva, assistant on the Faculty for Dramatic arts. “Bardot” also got the support of the Macedonian Film Fund.

“I’m really happy that my film has entered the Berlinale, especially in the program „Generation“ which has a competitive character for the award” Crystal Bear “. But the nomination for „Generation’ is good because it can open the doors for the other festivals. It was a great challenge for me to work with a child actor because it requires great professionalism, but I had the help of the director Maya Mladenovska, who has already worked with children on couple of movies – says Apchevska.

The cinematographer of the film is the veteran Vladimir Samoilovski, the editing is by Goran Vukic, the music is by Alexander Pejovski and the sound design is by Igor Popovski.

This year, in the Berlinale program “Panorama Special” Macedonia will present a film by Teona Mitevska “The woman who wiped away her tears” where the main role is reserved for the great film diva Victoria Abril, famous from the films of the Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. Although the program “Panorama Special” is considered as second in importance at the Berlin Film Festival, this is a prestige for Macedonia and also a stepping-stone for our future presentations in Berlin. The film of Mitevska will have a glamorous presentation, with a red carpet and a press conference attended by the major media houses around the world. The film critics say that after the success of the film “Before the Rain” by Milcho Manchevski in Venice in the main program, this will be the second glamorous presentation of one Macedonian film.

“The woman who wiped away her tears” is a story about the destiny of two women in France and Macedonia, which will connect under strange circumstances. One seeks answers for the loss of her son and the estrangement from her husband and the other is trying to find her lost husband and keep her son by her side. Simply, it is a story of two women, two different societies and the relationships they have with their children. The music is by the Macedonian ethno group “Ljubojna” and also from one of the best composers of the contemporary classical music, the Estonian Arvo Pärt.

The program “Panorama” at the Berlin festival, which is divided into three parts, this year will show 50 films, including the Serbian “Parade” by Srgjan Dragojevic in which Macedonia has participated as a co-producer. It had its premiere in Skopje, and as in all the cities where it was shown it attracted a large number of audience. It is a co-production between all the former Yugoslav Republics, with the exception of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The curiosity about the film is bigger because of the theme that follows the events surrounding the gay parade in Serbia, but also because of the famous director Srdjan  Dragojevic who is author of the popular movies “We are not angels,” “Pretty village, pretty flame“ and “The Wounds “. The leading actors of the film are Nikola Kojo, Hristina Popovic, Goran Jevtic and Milos Samolov from Serbia, Goran Navojec from Croatia, Dejan Acimovic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Branimir Popovic from Montenegro and the Macedonian actor Toni Mihajlovski, but also the acting legends Mira Stupica and Marko Nikolic.

“For me, this was a small experiment and I wanted to trigger a different kind of emotion. My direct motive to tackle this sensitive subject were the events of 2001, when during the Belgrade Pride one LGBT activist was beaten- says the director.

The film is a dark comedy about a group of gay activists trying to organize a Pride Parade in Belgrade. When the police refuses to provide the security of the event, they refer to a group of criminals from the former Yugoslavia, including Lemon (Nikola Kojo), owner of a security agency and a military veteran. (T.I.)