FEATURE FILM SELECTION 2019
MANAKI, A STORY IN PICTURES (2019) - Macedonia
The film incorporates the photographic work of Janaki and Milton Manaki, the first Balkan cinematographers. The Manaki brothers have been mythologized over the years, and additional attributions to their legacy have been made in order to further eulogize their undisputed importance. However, this tendency to add new and unconfirmed information is unnecessary and harmful, since their legacy is already of great cultural value not only to Macedonia but also in the wider Balkan context. For this reason, each and every fact and opinion presented in the film Manaki – A Story in Pictures has been carefully researched and reconfirmed with presented artefacts. The story is told through original documentary photographs and follows the brothers as they open their first professional studio in 1898 in Iannina and later move to Bitola, now known as the city of the Manaki brothers.
Director, Writer, Producer: Robert Jankuloski
Co-Writer: Ilindenka Petrusheva
HOLY BOOM (2018) - Greece
“HOLY BOOM” is a drama feature film with multiple storylines, taking place in a multicultural area of Athens during orthodox Easter.
The lives of four strangers, who live in the same neighborhood, change dramatically when, on Palm Sunday, the neighborhood’s postbox is blasted just for laughs by Filipino teenager Ige. Documents of vital importance to all of them have been destroyed: Lena and Manou’s LSD stickers, a letter to Thalia from her abandoned child, and Adia’s birth certificate.
The consequences are relentless: Lena and Manou are chased by the drug dealer who wants his money back. Adia, an illegal immigrant, is now alone with her newborn child, unable to even identify the corpse of her husband, who has just died in a car accident. Ige tries in vain to be accepted by the local community and Thalia, who is watching everyone in the neighborhood, has lost her only chance to find happiness.
Director, Writer:Maria Lafi
Writer: Elena Dimitrakopoulou
Producers: Lilette Botassi, Tefta Bejko
HEIGHTS (2017) - Bulgaria
Two members of a rebel movement are sent on a dangerous mission around enslaved Bulgaria in 1870's. Their leader has an important message to reach a man of high importance in the revolution of the country - Vasil "The Lion" Levski.
The film intertwines historical facts which took place in 1872 with artistic fiction. It tells the story of two semi-revolutionaries/semi-robbers, who fight against the rules of the Ottoman Empire. Gradually, their revolutionary enthusiasm is replaced by bitterness and disappointment.
Director: Victor Bojinov
Writers: Victor Bojinov, Nelly Dimitrova
Stars: Aleksandar Aleksiev, Kiril Efremov, Hristo Petkov
A PRISHTINA STORY (2018) - KOSOVO
Aurora and Ben are newlyweds; they have a daughter, Fiona. This family belongs to the middle class of the society, but live in harmony and are very happy.
Their challenges begin when their nine year old daughter is diagnosed with cancer; Ben loses his job, while he is still paying his company’s debt, and they have to pay the new apartment’s mortgage, as well as the loan. Aurora works for an international organization, but with her salary she has some troubles to cover all their expenses; especially now when they’ll need the money for Fiona’s treatment, abroad.
The family drama, social drama, as well as corruption and love, take a turn when Fiona is diagnosed. Ben is forced to do things he never thought of doing; meanwhile Aurora doesn’t understand Ben’s situation, and leaves him.There will be crimes committed and future plans on hold.
Screenplay:Getoarbë Mulliqi Bojaj
Producer: Agron Vula
DOP: Samir Karahoda
Editor: Agron Vula
Cast: Teuta Krasniqi, Donat Qosja, Luran Ahmeti, Artiola Hamdijaj
TAXI BLUES (2019) - Serbia
King of Humor Andrija Milošević, widely known from the series Andrija & Andjelka, this winter comes up with the movie Taxi Blues - hilarious action comedy that will lead you to tears! The main character of this story is Marko, a sympathetic failed dramatist, who has been working as a taxi driver for years. We follow his adventures during one chaotic night. A seemingly normal day at work will turn into chaos when a boy Damir, who escaped from orphanage, is sneaking into his car and is looking for his father. The ride of the two of them into a taxi during one night will result in a bunch of crazy situations that will shift along with a host of characters, as customers in the cab.
Director: Miroslav Stamatov
Writers: Marko Backovic, Tatjana Ilic, Marko Jocic
Producers: Marko Jocic, Andrija Milosevic
Main cast: Andrija Milosevic, Todor Jovanovic, Milena Predic, Aleksandra Tomic, Sergei Trifunovic, Boris Komnenic, Bojan Dimitrijevic, Nikola Djuricko, Boris Milivojevic, Nikola Pejakovic, Srdjan Bjelogrlic.
YET TO RULE (2018) - Romania
YET TO RULE is a surrealist drama about a 40-year-old criminal court judge with a dying father, an unhappy marriage and routine cases to solve, shown as struggle between ANDI, the animal within, and K, his rational side.
Director Statement:I was struck when I first saw a courtroom five years ago and that image stayed with me. Despair coexisting with boredom, anguish, routine, an amalgam of mouths, thoughts, grief, hate, hope and cordiality. I felt I entered a grinding bureaucratic apparatus that was coasting on the fumes of a past ideal justice. I felt that somehow the spirit of justice was lost along the way and that we’ve only kept the form, the procedures to deal with this difficult matter. I couldn’t get that image out of my head and so, I went back again and again, trying to figure out what was troubling me.
Director, Writer: Mihaela Popescu
Producer: Alexandru Teodorescu
TOGETHER (2018) - Slovenia
Luka lives together with his long-time partner Matej and Matej's daughter Mia. Their family happiness abruptly ends with Matej's tragic death. Now Luka is confronted with the task which Matej has put on the long finger. He has to tell the truth to Mia's granny and grandad, because it seems only logical to them that they would look after their granddaughter from now on. Mia and Luka want to stay together as a family, but instead of being able to mourn, they have to confront the grandparents' anger and social prejudice.
Director, Writer: Marko Šantić
Producers: Jani Virk, Janez Pirc, Barbara Daljavec
Main cast: Primoz Bezjak, Nadja Debeljak, Jernej Šugman
LADA KAMENSKI (2018) - Croatia
A film director invites three esteemed actresses to an informal reading rehearsal for his upcoming film. However, as soon as they realize they are competing for the lead role, things take a wrong turn.
Directors: Sara Hribar, Marko Šantić
Writer: Jure Pavlović
Producers: Bojan Kanjera, Frano Mašković
Main cast: Ksenija Marinković, Doris Šarić-Kukuljica, Nataša Dorčić
THE PIGEON THIEVES (2018) - TURKEY
16 year-old Mahmut’s life consists of feeding pigeons and making money from stealing
others’ pigeons. His biggest dream is to have the best pigeons. One day, one of his pigeons
escapes and does not return. When Mahmut finds a pigeon nesting on a roof, he meets
Ismail, an 8-year-old living in that house. This meeting becomes one of the most important
turning point that will affect both lives. Mahmut decides to steal the pigeons to help Ismail
achieve his dream.
Director, Writer: Osman Doğan
Co-Writer: Samet Doğan
Producers: Sinan Sertel, Turgay Şahin
Main cast: Seyit Nizam Yilmaz, Mert Bugra Tataroglu, Kutay Sandikçi
NEVER-ENDING PAST (2018) - Montenegro
Three stories about a father and a son in three time periods: the end of World War II, during the fall of Berlin Wall and after Yugoslavia breakdown.
In each of these stories, father and son find themselves in characteristic, borderline situations, in which they begin to question their own existence.
Decisions they are forced to make will change their lives forever.
Director, Writer: Andro Martinović
Producer: Ivan Djurović
Main Cast: Lazar Ristovski, Tihomir Stanić, Srdjan Grahovac, Marko Baćović
Jovan Krivokapić, Dubravka Drakić, Danica Ristovski, Mišo Obradović i Mirko Vlahović
BEHIND THE COLUMN (2017) - Hungary
This film examines the career of an unsuccessful actor who suddenly finds himself pulled from the wings to become the leading stage director in a theater, where he struggles to achieve his own dreams and battles to keep the company together. Set in the world of modern theatrical life, this satire, due to its very nature, has a certain sense of the surreal. “This story was inspired by 13 years spent working in theater and is built out of my own experiences, imagination and stifled aspirations. Spend this long in the profession and you soon see the viciousness beyond the velvet. The ‘temple of culture’ provides the perfect setting for sharp satire with a complex cast of charismatic characters from the all-powerful porter to the back-office harpies. That’s the story I want to tell.”
Director, Writer: Csaba Vékes
Producers: Gábor Herendi, Szentesi Zsol,Eszter Fancsikai,Péter Fancsikai,Gergely Bánki
Main Cast: Zoltán Bezerédi, Ervin Nagy, Ilona Sárközi-Nagy
MOCKING OF CHRIST (2018) - MACEDONIA
Alexander Philipopolus, a famous journalist at a political magazin in Paris, in the days when his life is at a crossroads, his career is uncertain and his family and his marriage are being disrupted, receives a letter from his cousin Vani from Greece that his father Lazarus died in Macedonia. And everything is turning upside down! Alexander departs to his motherland Greece, goes in Athens, to investigate exactly what happened to his father, Lazarus, whom he does not even know at all. In Athens, Alexander will accidentally meet Andrea, a photojournalist who accidentally meets Alexander on the day when she violently ends her relationship with long-time mistress Nana.
Director, Writer: Jani Bojadzi
Producers: Jani Bojadzi, Igor Sokolovski, Marko Kobe
Main cast: Ljupcho Todorovski, Ioanna Pilihou, Meto Jovanovski
BESIDE ME (2017) - Romania
A subway is blocked between stations on the morning after the fire tragedy at Collective Club in Bucharest. Everyone on their way, they are together and begin to interact. We're strangers until something keeps us together. If we open up, we notice that we share with those around us. At the end of the journey, at the next station, each one comes out modified. We are together the world, as we are in a subway wagon.
Director, Producer: Tedy Necula
Writer: Alexandra Axinte
Main cast: Emillian Oprea, Constantin Cotimanis, Adrian Paduraru, Teodora Mares, Ela Ionescu, Dan Murzea
PAUSE (2018) - CYPRUS
In a desperate attempt to escape from the misery of a loveless marriage, Elpida finds refuge in a fantasy world of vindictive violence. Soon, reality and fantasy start to blur.
Director, Writer, Producer: Tonia Mishiali
Writer: Anna Fotiadou
Producers: Andros Achilleos, Stelana Kliris
Main cast: Stela Fyrogeni,Andreas Vassiliou,Popi Avraam
FLESH (2018) - Bosnia and Herzegovina
FLESH is the story about Mirko and Slavko. Mirko, a mediocre football player at the end of his career, who returns to his hometown Banja Luka and continues his late father’s business, a struggling barbecue restaurant. Slavko, Mirko’s childhood friend, who, all of a sudden, reappears in his life in the moment he needs him the most. Each with his own agenda, they are struggling in their own ways with the misfortunes of the current circumstances they live in.
Director: Saša Hajduković
Writer: Nikola Pejaković
Producer: Brankica Janković
Main Cast: Igor Ðorđević, Nikola Pejaković, Marija Pikiić, Branko Janković, Vuk Kostić
STARS OF THE FUTURE (2018) - Albania
Robi (40) is an unsuccessful artist. He has been working as a musician for years, but has not managed to become famous. In his job in a hospice, he comes across the talents of the older residents. Together they found the band "Fire" and participate in the national music competition "Stars of the future". For Robi, the competition is a way to be recognized as a musician. Unfortunately, nothing works as planned.
"Stars of the future" is a loving homage to the third generation of Albanian artists, who have been almost forgotten in the last decades of the country's social and economic upheaval. These creative talents, taught by many young artists, are marginalized and often struggle to survive.
Director, Writer, Producer: Edmond Topi
Main cast: Margarita Xhepa, Tinka Kurti, Reshat Arbana, Luftar Paja, Gazmend Paja, Elia Zaharia