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Film Reels

Macedonian Film Festival

History of
Macedonian Filmmaking

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Film screenings arrived in the Balkans. The strange "living pictures" of the Lumiere brothers were screened by traveling theaters in Belgrade and Bucharest.


The oldest film about Macedonia that is known until now is The Massacres in Macedonia (Massacres de Macedoine) filmed by the Pathe Brother Company from France.


The first public film screening of the Manaki Brothers' film was presented on December 28, 1895.


The Manaki brothers filmed three film stories with which they came close to the documentary film expression. These are the films about the visit of the last Turkish Sultan Mehamed Reshad V to Thessalonika and Bitola, and afterwards the visit of the Romanian delegation to Bitola, Gopesh and Resen, and the funeral of the Metropolitan Emilianos.


The Balkan Wars which tragically tore apart Macedonia entered the film frame. The war was a focus of interest for cameramen.


Immediately after the end of the second Balkan war, Macedonia was drawn into the whirlwind of the World War I, especially with the opening of the Macedonian front. This war was filmed both by cinematographers of the Powers of the Entente and the Axis Powers.


Besides the war operations of the Macedonian front, a great number of sequences were filmed showing the life of the civilians.


Janaki and Milton Manaki made their first film screening in Bitola, in the garden of their own "Manaki Theater".


The first Yugoslav film school for educating actors was opened in Zagreb.

The script written by Arsenij Jovkov was used for producing the film Macedonia (Македонија).



Regular film projections started at the cinema "Ohrid Lake" (in the building specifically built for film screening).


In Skopje, on January 14th, the first modern cinema "Apollo" was opened.


In Skopje, on January 18th, the "Zrinski Cafe" and its cinema were destroyed in a fire.


Risto Zerdeski-Zerde from Prilep, went to Zagreb to act in the film The Both of Them (Тие двајцата).


The first steady cinema "Balkans" owned by Gjulap Sulejmanov was opened in Strumica.


In Skopje, the construction of the modern film theater "Vardar" was started, while in Bitola, in the theater of Mihail Pema, the first 20% sound film The Wings (Крила) was shown.


The year started the film screening activity of Ilija Dzonov from Bogdanci, near Gevgelija. First he opened a regular cinema in Gevgelia, and one year later he started film screenings in Strumica. Soon he provided a small, portable projector which was used in 1935 and 1936 for two large traveling tours (the projector was carried on a donkey).


A large number of film-making crews from all over the world stayed in Macedonia and produced numerous documentaries.


Blagoja Drnkov filmed in Skopje with his 9.5 mm. camera the film The Catholic Procession (Католичка процесија).


Blagoja Pop-Stefanija from Ohrid filmed a short film named The Monument (Споменик) by use of an 8mm camera "Movex AGFA".



The Committee for cinematography in the Government of Federal People Republic of Yugoslavia founded the central film company for production of newsreels "Zvezda Film" in Belgrade. They produced 19 different newsreels for "Zvezda Film" concerning Macedonia.


The first Macedonian documentary films were produced after the liberation of the country.


"Vardar Film" produced the first Macedonian feature film Frosina (Фросина).


An extremely rich production year for "Vardar Film". Twenty documentary films were produced, among those being:Prespa (Преспа), directed by K. Bilbilovski, Who is Guilty? (Кој е крив?), directed by K. Nedkov, Miravci's Wedding (Миравска свадба), directed by J. Kamberski, A Story For the Man and the Sheep (Приказна за човекот и овците), directed by T. Popov, Conversation in Our Way (Нашински разговори), directed by B. Drnkov, Dawns in the Fields (Мугри во полињата), directed by Branko Gapo.


"Vardar Film" started producing the second Macedonian feature film Wolves' Night (Волчја ноќ) took place in Skopje.


The first colour feature film in “totalscope” was filmed. The film was Miss Stone (Мис Стон), directed by Zhika Mitrovic.


"Vardar Film" produced two feature films: Visa of Evil (Виза на злото), directed by France Shtiglic and Three Girls Named Ana (Три Ани).


Two new Macedonian feature films were shown for the first time. The first Macedonian film comedy A Quiet Summer (Мирно лето) was the first Macedonian feature film directed by Macedonian director, Dimitrie Osmanli. The second feature film was The Assassins from Salonika (Солунските атентатори), directed by Zhika Mitrovic.


An extremely rich year for documentary film production. "Vardar Film" produced 14 documentary films.


Fifteen documentary films were shot.


Despite the difficult circumstances, "Vardar Film" did not stop production. A feature film Under the Same Sky (Под исто небо) was produced.


"Vardar Film" produced the feature film The Mountain of Wrath (Планината на гневот), directed by Ljubisha Georgievski.


The feature film Time Without War (Време без војна), directed by Branko Gapo, was produced by the newly founded “Community of Film”.


"Vardar Film" produced the feature film The Price of a Town (Цената на градот), directed by Ljubisha Georgievski.


This was one of the most productive years for the Macedonian cinema. "Vardar Film" produced the feature films Black Seed (Црно семе), directed by Kiril Cenevski, which won many awards such as "Golden Arena" at the Pula Film Festival, 1971, for the best direction.


After the sudden disintegration of the Community of Film Makers, "Vardar Film" achieved a new production boom.


"Vardar Film" produced two feature films: Times, Waters (Време, води), directed by Branko Gapo and The Lead Brigade (Оловна бригада), directed by Kiril Cenevski (the director of photography of the last film Misho Samoilovski won "The Golden Arena" at Pula Film Festival) and the film itself was awarded with the prize "First of May" for the best film with contemporary theme.


"Vardar Film" in co-production with Television Skopje produced the second comedy in the Macedonian cinematography A Weekend of Deceased Persons (Викенд на мртовци) directed by Kole Angelovski.


Two feature films, produced by Pegasus were released for the first time. They were Macedonian Saga (Македонска сага) andLight Grey (Светло сиво), with three stories: The Urubu Bird and the Virgin (Птицата Урубу и девицата)Wonderful World (Прекрасен свет) and Devil in the Heart (Ѓавол во срцето). The Yugoslav Festival of film Camera "Manaki's Meetings", after a year of pause, revived into international film Camera Festival "Manaki Brothers" with quite a changed program. The official competition comprised feature films produced in Turkey, France, USA, Austria, Russia, U.K., Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Israel, Denmark, Albania, Germany, FR Yugoslavia and Macedonia. The organizer of this event was the Cinematheque of Macedonia.


This was the year of the greatest success for Macedonian cinematography. The feature film Before the Rain (Пред дождот), directed by Milcho Manchevski, and co-produced by U.K., France and Macedonia, won the highest prize at Venice Film Festival, the “Golden Lion". The film achieved international success and participated at a great number of international film festivals such as Sao Paolo, Sandens, Getebourg etc. Also, this film, as a special event, opened this year's Film Camera Festival "Manaki Brothers" in Bitola.


The private production company "New Production" realized a Macedonian and Turkish co-production, the feature film Suicide Guide (Самоуништување), directed by Erbil Altanaj, a Turkish director from the screenplay by the Macedonian author Sashko Nasev.


Two feature films were realized: Gipsy Magic (Џипси меџик), directed by Stole Popov from the screenplay by Vladimir Blazhevski, in co-production with the private producer Triangle. The film was awarded the Grand Prix at the Mediterranean Film Festival in Montpellier, France; and Across the Lake (Преку езерото), directed by Antonio Mitriceski, from the screenplay by Tashko Georgievski, a Macedonian and Polish co-production in cooperation with the Polish producer "Logos". The feature film Night (Ноќ), directed by Esad Musliu was realized through a Macedonian and Albanian co-production.


Milcho Manchevski's film Dust (Прашина) opened film festival in Venice. This movie was also shown at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2001. Due to the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center, the festival came to an abrupt end.


The experimental feature film The Judge (Судијата), in independent production was written and directed by Zhaneta Vangeli.


Few feature films appeared. Like a Bad Dream (Како лош сон) directed by Antonio Mitriceski. Dust (Прашина) was screened in Toronto to the Macedonian community with the director in attendance.


The first Macedonian Film Festival was held in North America, in Toronto.

Another very productive year for Macedonian filmmaking.The Great Water (Големата вода), by Ivo Trajkov, How I Killed a Saint (Како убив светец), by Teona Mitevska Strugar and Mirage (Илузија), by Svetozar Ristovski were produced. The documentary Just Arrived (Само што пристигнале), by Canadian Macedonian filmmaker Sandra Danilovic was screened in Toronto and shown many times on OMNI television in Canada.


Suzana Dinevski's The Children of 1948 (Децата од 1948) (Kodak Imaging Award winner at Montreal Film Festival) plays to an audience in Toronto.


The Macedonian Film Festival added Emerging Filmmakers to our presentations and received submissions from Belgium, USA, Australia and France.

MFF commemorated 60th year of the Begaltsi with two outstanding films Next Year in Lerin (Следната година во Лерин) and In Kontinuo (which had been in storage for 20 years). Submissions from Germany and the UK.

First Macedonian film festival organized in London, England and New York City, US.


World premiere of A Name is a Name (Името си е име) at Macedonian Film Festival.


MFF's first Skype interview with the director, Sasha C. Damjanovski.


Tom Melissis, Canadian Macedonian actor introduces documentary The Spirit of My Father and director Goran Trenchovski via SKYPE.