Director Srdjan Janiqijevic will search for the truth with the film "Butcher's Dance".

The first shot was shot on the slopes of Sredno Vodno

In a dramatic setting of the first scene in the film and with an exceptional film crew, on May 22, on the slopes of Sredno Vodno, the first curtain fell on the feature film with the working title "Butcher's Dance" by director Srdjan Janikijevic.

The feature film "Butcher's Dance" will be filmed in locations around Skopje over a period of three weeks. It was written by Sašo Kokalanov and Dejan Dukovski, directed by Srdjan Janiqijević, director of photography by Dejan Dimeski, and produced by "New Macedonian Video", i.e. "New Moment".

The leading characters of the story are played by the actors Nikola Ristanovski and Darja Rizova, and Sashko Kotsev and Oliver Mitkovski also play key roles.

In a society full of corruption, veteran editor Bodan and ambitious young journalist Sofia independently discover a scandalous video. Refusing to be silenced by threats and bribes, they face a dangerous web of politics, intrigue, corruption and sex scandals. The film delves into the dark, gritty world of power and hypocrisy that affects every layer of society.

One of the screenwriters, Sasho Kokalanov, says that this is a film about the false morality, not only of politicians or journalists, but of the whole society.

– The film does not pretend to be a perception of Macedonian journalism. It's just some sort of broader context for a very specific story. The characters from the story are not replicas of real people, but are built with many "borrows" from a variety of real characters from our social and media milieu - says Kokalanov.

Kokalanov "built" the script together with Dejan Dukovski, successfully assembling the mosaic of the story.

– This is a story of fanatical courage through great personal sacrifices to win a Quixote struggle against an extremely corrupt and criminal regime in power that is willing to do anything to keep it. With a high probability that everything will remain just another pissing in the wind, the story we are telling emphasizes the fact that the basis of all democratic societies is the freedom of the media, which is thus also the control of the government in relation to public opinion. This means media that are not bought and do not work for anyone's interests. Free journalists for whom the truth must be the only interest - says Dukovski.

Sasho Peshev, Dejan Dukovski and Sasho Kokalanov

Director Srdjan Janiqijevic defines the film as a political thriller by genre and, according to him, it will be visually striking to capture the tension and struggle of the main characters in search of justice and in favor of truth and public interest. As the professional and personal story of Bodan and Sofia unfolds, the intense action, which takes place in parallel in just 24 hours, will bring viewers into the private chaos of the characters in search of justice in a morally ambivalent world.

- The idea for the script of the film is ten years old and as time passed it fermented through several stages. The story flows non-linearly and the aspect of its visual representation will be important. The main theme of the film is the search for an answer to the question: How hard is it to stay clean? – explains director Janikijevic.

Regarding the effect of the way this topic will be treated in a film, the executive producer Sasho Peshev from "New Moment" says that he expects interest in the public and among fans of film art, because the focus of the action is the exposure and challenges of the journalistic profession in transition. a country where politics, corruption and crime go together.

The film is financed with the minimum budget from the Film Agency, because it is being run as Srdjan Janiqijevic's debut film and therefore has production challenges that need to be cleverly and creatively solved.

- Part of the film takes place in a car, and in order to record it in quality, special technical prerequisites are needed. We brought special equipment and a trailer from Slovenia and I believe we will succeed in getting the visual expression we want - says Peshev.

Nikola Ristanovski, Srdjan Janiqijevic, Darja Rizova and Sasho Peshev

Actor Nikola Ristanovski says about his character of the journalist Bodan that he does not have a big thesis, but he uses personal criteria and tries to preserve certain personal and professional codes in every scene. At every moment of the personal struggle with power, the character tries to get to the truth. In building the character, Ristanovski starts from the human dimension, on which the professional component is superimposed.

- Things are never black and white and that is the main postulate in the script. But that's how it is in life. Every action of ours, every act, every action, comes back to us like a boomerang. And that's why we need criteria according to which we will build the character, criteria that are necessary to assemble the mosaic piece by piece. There are no moral norms that are general and usable every day, even every hour, so that every new moment is a new piece in the puzzle. The world of the media is not separate from all the other worlds around us, only that there is a greater concentration here. After all, as in my profession. This world is not separated from the whole milieu, it's just that here the intensity of all the happenings is square compared to all the rest. The reflections are stronger, the reactions are more dramatic and visible - says Ristanovski.

Actress Darya Rizova, the face of one side in solving the challenges of the journalistic profession, says that she is inspired by the character of Sofia and the search for her motives, that is, her personal story, as well as the limit to which she is ready to go. According to her, investigative journalism is basically the last bulwark of the public interest against the abuses of the powerful.

– In countries with a dysfunctional or corrupt legal system like ours, this profession is also one of the most risky. Besides, investigative journalists are never paid enough, considering the personal sacrifices and sacrifices. The strength of these media depends on independence, which depends on the source of funding. The film is objective and realistic. The events are general enough to avoid daily politics, and at times they are inevitably associative with events from our near and distant past - says Rizova.

For Darya Rizova, the character of Sofia is her first appearance in a feature film. In the preparations for the character, she collaborated with her colleagues Ristanovski, Mitkovski and Kocev from the Macedonian National Theater, with whom she was a partner on the theater stage, and with this film she is also a partner in the film scenes.

The last shot of "Butcher's Dance" is planned for the end of June, during the summer it will enter the post-production phase and the film is expected to premiere in the fall.

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