One step into the macedonian cinema creation : Interview with Teona Strugar Mitevska


The fact of spendind some years in occident (USA, France) must have changed your point of view on many things like cultural aspects. Can you feel any impact on the way you feel/create your own cinema production?
I try to work with the right person and I firmly believe there is a right person for each project, the right DOP, the right actor, etc…I have learned that there are no limits to the creation, people are pationate about the story you try to tell or they are not, they identify or they don’t. Work with the people who want to work with you, no matter which country/continent they come from.

At what moment of your life and why did you decide to focus on the creation of scenarios and cinema production in the balkan area, more especialy what does push you to return in your origin country?

Even today I have a hard time envisioning a story that happen in another place than Macedonia, this is strange I know since I have lived more outside. The only thing I can say is that I guess this obsession comes from the fact that there are still Macedonian stories left in me to say, and I will continue until this dries out.

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What are the main differences you feel concerning the cinema production between Macedonia and France or USA?

The content of the stories are different, the way the story is specific to the environment , the place of origin. The form is different but all these differences come from the individual person of the creator, the artist, his/her cultural background and baggage. In the global world we live today we can’t speak so much about differences in the way we make things, produce a film, basicaly there is not such a big difference after all. I shot a part of a film in germany, there they were astonished that we took sometimes a day to shoot a single shot, most of my crew there has a television background and in television we cover the scene from all possible angles. Cinema is a bit different, I personally believe there is one good angle to tell the story I want to tell, the way i want to tell it, so I always try to find this angle. I know many American , German and French filmmakers who believe in this also so…
You use strong cinema’s themes, for instance in “Je suis de Titov Veles”, you present some characters with living passionately and having hard lives, through them you denounce a hard reality of the society. What part of yourself do you give to those characters? Are they a part of you or do you only describe with an external point of view (of spectator) a situation?

You must be the character in order to speak of it properly. I have a large imagination so I use it with abundance. I also take it to observe and research the situations and characters I depict in my films. I try to make my characters most detailed and specific as possible, or differently said most real I can. Then putting a character in a unique situation to add overall effects, every character reacts differently and that is beauty of it.
I have always been interested in the social aspect of my society, this comes from my deep believe that a part of our job as a filmmaker and artist is to point the light on certain truth, injustice and try to make a difference, add to the alteration of the common consciousness, ultimately make the world a better place.
It is interesting you speak of external/internal point of view of a situation; this is an essential part of envisioning a scene and a film. The effect on the spectator is different depending which point of you is used and this is something I calculate very precisely for each moment of the film, point of view is just as important as the color or the lighting used for a certain scene. It is one of the many aspects of the cinematic form, so I play with it.
What do you think about the evolution of your production? What are your future projects in the european and balkan cinema? Do your last productions/creations help you to evolve, to know yourself better?

As a production company we have recently started co-producing, we had a Romanian film SieraNevada in the last edition of the Cannes film Festival and A Slovenian film in Karlovy Vary. We will continue co-producing films we feel passionate about. We are also making a short animation film of our brother VUK. Animation is something we would love to get involved more, we hope to create a long length feature animation film one day. In animation all is possible, there is no end to the imagination one can uses.
Each production is a new experience, one learn but one makes mistakes also, have we become wiser, what I can say is that we have become more determined in the type of films we want to make. And I hope we continue to have this opportunity, to make cinema we believe in and explore the cinematic form.

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