Interview with Igor Ivanov, president of DFRM: The film has the role of "flag bearer"

Igor Ivanov, president of DFRM / Photo: Aleksandar Ivanovski

On the eve of the sixth edition of "Golden Frame", a film review organized by the Association of Film Workers of Macedonia (DFRM) which showcases the latest Macedonian film achievements, we spoke with Igor Ivanov, president of DFRM, about the situation in Macedonian film.

The Association of Filmmakers of Macedonia started six years ago with the realization of a film review where all the achievements that were realized in the previous year with the support of the Film Agency are shown. A common practice in domestic cinema is for the premiere of new films to be within the framework of one of the film festivals, or for the film to have an independent premiere, and then enter cinema distribution. This practice only applies to feature films, because short films and documentaries, except at the premiere, are almost nowhere to be seen again.

At the "Golden Frame" film festival, all achievements are equally represented and it is an opportunity for the audience to see, but also for the filmmakers to see the latest films of their colleagues. Over the years, the show gains more and more importance.

Next week, from June 18 to 20, the sixth edition of the "Golden Frame" film review will take place. Considering that the show manages to maintain the continuity of its performance, what is its meaning for both the film industry and the audience?

- "Golden Frame" is part of the regular activities of the Association of Filmmakers of Macedonia. It started as our initiative, and it received support from the then director Tozia, because it was recognized as an opportunity to affirm the overall production supported by the Film Agency. After all, the public display of everything that was supported by public funds is welcome, the audience, the critics, the taxpayers, fellow filmmakers, they all have the opportunity to have an immediate insight into what and in what way the film budget is spent. It is a step forward towards increasing transparency.

In the past there were works that cannot be seen anywhere. In particular, I am thinking of dozens of short, documentary or animated films, as well as co-productions and even feature films that were not available to the public. Among them, there were, unfortunately, really disappointing achievements, but also hidden pearls that, for various reasons, failed to reach the light of the cinema projector. Therefore, I think that "Golden Frame" is a more than necessary annual event that includes other activities, of which the regular Assembly of the DFRM, socializing, professional awards are especially significant for us filmmakers.

Being part of a film crew is a privilege in itself, but every film is also a "calvary" in its own way / Photo: Aleksandar Ivanovski

In addition to the film review, the DFRM awards prizes to members of the Fella at the event. How important is collegial recognition of filmmakers?

- Professional awards are important for filmmakers, they mean pride and consolation. They are proof that our laborious and often illusory work and profession still has meaning. Being part of a film crew is a privilege in itself, but every film is a "calvary" in its own way, so often working on a film seems pointless and Sisyphean. Until the day the film shines on the big screen, then everything makes sense. Awards for film workers, authors and film actors are a recognition of quality, mutual respect and professional ethics, invested effort and commitment to the common work.

A specific place in the "Golden Frame" concept is the social program, which is presented in homes for the elderly, and in previous years was also present in Macedonian prisons. What are the impressions so far of this engaging segment of the program?

- The idea that the cinema can be taken to those who cannot visit it themselves is, above all, a humane idea. Here I mean people in homes, hospitals, prisons... I think we are doing a good job with this program and of course we will continue, especially because of the gratitude shown by these viewers who need culture as much as they need care, medicine and food .

The "Golden Frame" program is full, but under what conditions is the Macedonian film created, regardless of whether it is a feature-length, short-length or documentary production or co-production?

- The letter that we recently addressed to the public speaks best of this. Macedonian culture, especially film, is in a desperate state. Funds for cultural production have been decimated, and almost ten million euros have been cut from the film in just 6-7 years. Against the tendencies of increasing the budget for film production everywhere in Europe, the opposite is happening in our country.

Our cinematography has potential, and the proof of that is the films and their international success, which, against the conditions we are facing, exceeds all expectations. We appeal, we try and hope that these situations will change, especially for the benefit of young people. With all the cuts so far, we've reached a wall of no more. Immediate intervention by the government is required, otherwise the consequences will be disastrous. It is particularly worrying that we are starting to lose our international reputation, due to the fact that we are not servicing the obligations we have undertaken as a cinematography and as a state.

Funds for cultural production have been decimated, and almost ten million euros have been cut from the film in just 6-7 years / Photo: Aleksandar Ivanovski

What changes are necessary to create a normal environment and better working conditions for filmmakers?

– Our country needs a cultural strategy. Culture must be invested in, especially in live and fresh cultural production. It is our best investment on the way to profiling and preserving our own identity. In this context, the film has the role of "flag bearer". The political authorities must understand and recognize this, otherwise it will not be good, neither for the culture, nor for the country.

How does DFRM manage to remain the pillar of protection and unification of the film industry?

- DFRM will celebrate 75 years since its foundation next year. The society is a kind of "peer" with DPM and DLUM, institutions of essential cultural importance. All the important film authors, the doyens of the Macedonian film, the legends behind the screen, all of them were or are members of DFRM. It is simply the home of every film worker.

The upheavals that happen from time to time in the Fella and make waves in the public are only a normal reflection of the policies, the consequences of which are felt in the "living" collective that really only needs a little attention and elementary conditions to turn into a machine for making movies.

"Golden Frame" 2024 – Films, presentation, tribune and awards

The sixth edition of "Golden Frame" - Macedonian Film Days, organized by the Society of Film Workers of Macedonia (DFRM), will be held from June 18 to 20 in the "Frosina" cinema in the Youth Cultural Center.

The "Golden Frame" film review is an opportunity for the audience to watch Macedonian films that were made during the past calendar year and were supported by the Film Agency for free. This year's film program includes feature-length, short-length and documentary productions. Visitors will have the opportunity, after the screenings, to meet some of the film crews up close and participate in Q & A.

"Overexposed" by Eleonora Veninova with "DNF Production"

As part of the feature-length program, on June 18, at 20.30:20 p.m., the film "Overexposed" by director Eleonora Veninova, produced by "DNF Production", will be screened, on June XNUMX there will be a screening of "Household for Beginners" by director Goran Stolevski with "List Production", as well as the film "Lena and Vladimir" directed by Igor Alexov with "Mind Production".

The short program contains nine films, which will be shown at 18 pm on June 19. The program includes the works of directors Alexandra Kardalevska, Angela Dimeska, Jovan Sarkanjac, Jane Spasic, Gjorce Stavreski, Sandra Georgieva, Sabedin Selmani, Berat Asani, Jane Altiparmakov and Besar Ilyazi.

"Lena and Vladimir" by Igor Alexov with "Mind Production"

The documentary program includes five realizations, and the screenings are spread over the three days of the "Golden Frame" show. On June 18, at 18 p.m., there will be a screening of the film "Pearl" directed by Dragan Kumev, while at 19 p.m. the documentary "The Last Cowboy in the Balkans" by director Sabedin Ali will be shown. On June 19, at 12 o'clock, the films "Life at the Crossroads" (Untouchables) by Zoran Dimov and "Am I an Emigrant or..." by Senad Abdulli will be shown. On June 20, at 18 p.m., the documentary "Janza" will be shown, based on "Diary after many years" by Blaže Koneski and directed by Nikola T. Kalajdziski in the production of "Contrast Film". All Golden Frame screenings are free.

The social program "Focus", intended for the audience who cannot visit the "Frosina" cinema due to various social restrictions, will be held this year on June 20 at the "Mother Teresa" Nursing Home.

"Housekeeping for Beginners" by Goran Stolevski with "List Production"

In addition to the review of Macedonian films, the program of "Golden Frame" provides for a Solemn Assembly of the DFRM to be held on June 18. On June 19, at 20:20, there will be a presentation of the film camera "Sony". On June 12, at XNUMX o'clock, there will be a forum titled "Preservation of Audiovisual Heritage" in which Vladimir Angelov, ex. prof. Vladimir Pavlovski, MA, Igor Stardelov and Robert Jankuloski.

Traditionally, "Golden Frame" will award the honorary awards of the DFRM for film actor, film author and film worker, and the ceremony will be held on June 19 at MKC.

(The interview and the text were published in "Cultural Press" number 235, in the printed edition of the newspaper "Sloboden Pechat" on 15-16.6.2024)

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