Guide to SKOPJE

MAKEDOX – Creative story containing 62 documentary films

It’s the time of year when deep into the Old Bazaar, in the heart ofSkopjeeverything is coloured in the hues of onions. A sea of green onions knits a harmonious wave upon each touch with the ancient cobblestone roads. A line of smiling faces greets you at the crumbling gates. InSkopje.  In Kursumli An.

MakeDox has started. For the third time. A Creative Documentary Film Festival. An event that persists on the road to tradition. The place where it belongs. It was created by a group of people who, as the years go by, are beginning to resemble a big family that welcomes all regular visitors and curious passers-by. In a lovely, intimate atmosphere of the caravan saray Kursumli An, this family opened the festival with spring onions in their hands held high.

The journey started with “Tired Traveller” by Blagoja Drnkov, a doyen of Macedonian documentary film and a former neighbor of mine. The man whose workshop hidden behind a cordon of cherry trees at 106 Orce Nikolov Str in Debar Maalo,  kept a secret thrilling world. He dedicated his whole life to documenting Macedonian tradition, art and culture through film and fine art photography. A legendary man who received well-deserved respect and recognition from his colleagues and followers.    Drnkov’s story of  a brave train called a kettle and western Macedonia, made in 1961, set us on a journey that will last 8 days and bring 62 films (from the region as well as from around the globe), workshops, exhibitions and discussions. Many were left puzzled at the end of the screening  of this film, but the speeding locomotive symbolically took us to a destination where we are awaited by a different kind of “Babies” sent by “Mama Africa” on the way to the “Wistful Wilderness” which will make all romantics feel “Nostalgia for the Light” guarded by “Night Watchman” somewhere in a fantasy world. “BombayBeach” is the place where we are “The Way We Are”, enchanted by our own “Illusion” and desire presented in “One Woman-One Century”, and all under the protection of my friend “Reddach”.  All the hues of the rainbow, something for everybody.

Skopje’s story ends on 22nd June but MakeDox continues its adventure. A travelling cinema will go to Malesevija, a region in easternMacedonia. The creative film stories will be told in Berovo, Pehcevo, Dvoriste, Ratevo, Vladimirovo, Rusinovo, Crnih, Pancarevo, Blatec and Mitrasinci.

A pleasant breeze came through the lavish domes of the An, which once glittered in lead, but was lit by positive energy on the opening night. Over the red arches, the calm sky hid its starry candles in the hot summer night. Fortunately, a new wind is picking up speed and gets us sailing on a strong, quality cultural wave. MakeDox depends on us. It is a story that we will tell our grandchildren just as we heard the story of the little kettle from our grandfathers. The brave train from the work of Blagoja Drnkov, the man who left us a legacy to cherish documentary film.

Goran Igik

Photo: Galina Strackova, Phil Lampron