Robert Naskov • KINO OKO Production
11/05/2012 - Macedonia’s Robert Naskov began strongly in 2005, when he produced Darko Mitrevski’s comedy Bal-Can-Can, the highest grosser ever in the territory. After co-producing Juanita Wilson’s As If I Am Not There [trailer] in 2010, he is coming to Cannes with two films on the go, to be presented at the Marche, and one big project in development- Liberation of Skopje, the directing debut of the Balkan’s most internationally renowned actor Rade Šerbedžija.
Cineuropa: You are currently in post-production of Darko Mitrevski’s The Third Half and Aleksandar Popovski’s Balkan Is Not Dead. What can you tell us about the two films?
Robert Naskov: Both films deal with universal themes. The Third Half is a high-budget film in terms of the Macedonian film industry. It takes place in Macedonia during the Second World War. The film is about love, the Holocaust and the most important secondary thing in the world – football.
Balkan Is Not Dead has a specific concept. It takes place during the rule of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans and tells a story of love, hate and forgiveness. I believe that because of the universality of their themes, both films will find their audience in cinemas and will be selected by festivals. The films will have their premieres in autumn.
Is it possible to make a feature film in the Balkans, and particularly in Macedonia, that is purely national, and so that the producer doesn’t end up in debt? Or it has to be a co-production?
The advantage of co-productions is that you get to co-operate and exchange experiences with colleagues from various European countries. Distribution is guaranteed in the countries that serve as co-producers, thus increasing the chance of the film to reach a wider audience, which is the main purpose of film-making. However, it may also present a drawback because of the many conditions imposed by the national film funds, so sometimes you have to cooperate with talent and crew which you would not consider to work with, or shoot at places where you would not normally shoot. Macedonia has a small industry and I believe that its future is in co-productions.
In the past two years, two local films have been released in Macedonia that proved to be very popular with audiences - Skopje Remixed and Vladimir Blaževski’s Punk's Not Dead. Will that help the development of the exhibition sector in the country without multiplexes and where piracy is rampant?
The number of cinemagoers who watch Macedonian films definitely contributes to improving the cinema network in Macedonia. Macedonian audience has proved to appreciate local films. Nevertheless, young people should be further educated about the true value of watching a film on the big screen. The state institutions should also play a more active role against the piracy and the film industry stakeholders should be actively involved in the process, so that the need for new cinema venuesbecomes a priority.
What can you tell us about Rade Šerbedžija’s The Liberation of Skopje?
Šerbedžija’s film The Liberation of Skopje is planned to be shot next summer in Macedonia. So far this film has received the highest financial support by the Macedonian Film Fund.
What do you expect from Producers on the Move and do you have a concrete goal in Cannes?
I expect to have numerous meetings and establish contacts with colleagues for potential future co-productions. I will do my best to present my work as a producer and to present the films I am currently working on, as well as the potential of Macedonian cinema.