"VARDAR FILM"  1947-1997

Aside from the principal role of the Manaki Brothers from the beginning of this century, the organised and continuous developing of the Macedonian cinematography began soon after World War ii . With the decision of the Government of (then) NR Macedonia , on August 21, 1947, the Organisation for Film production " Vardar Film " from Skopje was founded. And today, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the existence and operation of this film production house, which was one of the leading producers in ex-Yugoslavia. By today, "Vardar Film" has maintained its operating continuity and remained a synonym of the Macedonian Cinematography.

Since its early beginnings, when the first director of "Vardar Film"  Mr. Aki Pavlovski was given the assignment to create the first team of film workers, the foundations for the growth of all types of professional profiles were settled. This was the precondition for the future acknowledged technological and creative achievements. In "Vardar Film", during the past five decades, emerged 5 generations ( the 6th generation of new and young talents is already coming up ) of skilled professionals. They (directors, cameramen, actors, screenwriters  . . . ) released around 40 full length feature films (own production or co-production), an average of 1-2 films per year, which is a very moderate balance for our small cinematography considering the financial possibilities, but in any case this number is quite sufficient for the general upheaval of the Macedonian culture.
Naturally and logically the very beginnings were marked by the short film,  documentary film in particular, when the generation of authors-founders: Blagoja Drnkov, Trajche Popov, Kocho Nedkov, Branko Gapo, DImitrie Osmanli, with the inevitable collaboration with the D.O.P.s - doyens : Branko Mihajlovski, Ljube Petkovski, Kiro Bilbilovski and Misho Samoilovski, have created the documentary film chronicles of the life in post-war Macedonia. Then, with joining of the second generation of film makers like Meto Petrovski, Laki Chemchev and Kole Manev and the younger ones like Stole Popov and Mitko Panov and many others, the preconditions for a more refined generic and aesthetic documentary expression were established. The latter secured them a leading position in the field of the ex-Yugoslav film, which resulted in receiving awards at many festivals, first prizes at the ex-March Festival in Belgrade, a Grand Prix in Oberhausen (1979)  and AAN as a Yugoslav representative for Stole Popov's film DAE. By now, "Vardar Film" has released more than 700 documentaries, short feature and animated films, which is an imposing number witnessing the continuity in maintaining the work of the Skopje School of Animation and Documentaries, whose best moments were in the '60s and 70's and partly the '80s, when the Macedonian films were on the top of the ex-Yugoslav documentary and animated film. Especially significant for "Vardar Film" is the establishment of the Studio for animation in 1971, with the first animated film by Petar Gligorovski EMBRYO NR. M. It should be mentioned that last year was the 25th Anniversary of the Macedonian animation, remembered by the films of Darko Markovich, Boro Pejchinov, Afrodita Markovich, Delcho Miahjlov and others, whose films were among the leading ones of the Yugoslav animation, of course under the leadership of the famous "Zagreb School of Animated Film". These brilliant film creations won numerous world and domestic prizes and awards, like the "Grand Prix" in Annesi and "The Silver Bear" in Berlin for Petar Gligorovski and his film PHOENIX, the FIPRESCI Award in Oberhausen for Darko Markovich and his film HAND. it is mentionable that with his latest film FASADE (1996), Mr. Markovich has contributed to the revival of the Studio of Animation of "Vardar Film".
A special chapter in the production work of "Vardar Film" has to be put for the full length feature films. Its beginnings are marked with the collaboration of directors from the ex-Yugoslav republics and so, the first Macedonian film feature FROSINA (1952) was directed by Voja NANOVICH from Belgrade, but the D.O.P. was the Macedonian Kiro BILBILOVSKI. The second film WOLF'S NIGHT (1955), also directed by a guest-director France SHTIGLIC , SLovenia, gave the opportunity to Branko MIHAJLOVSKI and Ljube PETKOVSKI ( this years' laureates for life achievement) to have their film debut as directors of photography. Finally, the first completely Macedonian film by a Macedonian director was released in 1971 and it was the film comedy QUIET SUMMER ( MIRNO LETO ) by Dimitrie OSMANLI. After that, followed the  feature films directed by Branko GAPO, Kiril CENEVSKI, especially Stole POPOV, each of them having remarkable ex-Yugoslav prizes, including their international affirmation through winning prizes or being candidates for the AA Nomination. By now the greatest success of the Macedonian cinematography was achieved with the film BEFORE THE RAIN by Milcho MANCHEVSKI winning the GOLDEN LION in Venice, 1994 and its AAN in 1995. The release of the latest two feature films  GYPSY MAGIC by Stole POPOV and ACROSS THE LAKE by the debutante director Antonio MITRIKESKI and their participation at this years' Montreal Festival, including others in the future period, proves the new affirmation of the Macedonian cinematography and its following of the path of the former successes, as the highest commitment that underlined  the film BEFORE THE RAIN.