by Vladan Petkovic
05/05/2010 - Macedonian producer Vladimir Anastasov founded the company Sektor Film in 2002. Right away he produced Antonio Mitriceski’s Like a Bad Dream – in co-operation with the UK’s Mainframe and Croatia’s Gama Studio – starring Robert Englund. In 2005, Sektor took part in the first co-production between all the countries of the former Yugoslavia, Rajko Grlic’s Border Post, which was filmed in Macedonia. Igor Ivanov’s Upside Down – co-produced with Mainframe, Serbia’s Cinears and Global Film Initiative of the US – premiered in Karlovy Vary’s East of the West competition in 2007. Anastasov’s latest project, As If I’m Not There, is currently in post.
Cineuropa: As If I’m Not There sounds like an unusual co-production, between Macedonia, Ireland and Sweden.
Vladimir Anastasov: It’s usual that co-productions are done between countries that share similar languages, cultures, mentality or geographic regions, but it’s not the case with this film. We co-produced it with Ireland’s Wide Eye Films and Sweden’s Stella Nova Films and we were backed by the Irish Film Board, Macedonian Film Fund (MFF) and the Swedish Film Institute, along with Eurimages.
The script is based on the novel The Story of a Balkan War by famous Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulic, about a woman who was raped and tortured during the war in Bosnia and consequently gives birth to a child that she must learn to live with. It was directed by Ireland’s Juanita Wilson, who was nominated for the best live action short film Academy Award for The Door. As If I’m Not There finished shooting in Macedonia at the end of 2009 and it should premiere this year.
All your films are co-productions. Is it feasible to make a purely national film in Macedonia? How much money can one get from Macedonian Film Fund?
Like everywhere in Europe, in the past few years the MFF has been focusing on co-productions. It’s almost impossible to make a purely Macedonian film now without outside help because the biggest sum the Fund can provide is €500,000 and there are no alternative sources. In Macedonia there are no sponsors who would finance a film and TV stations are not at all interested in co-productions or pre-sales arrangements. That means that co-productions are necessary if one wants a professionally made film according to international standards. As for financial feasibility, there is none because the Macedonian market is too small and we don’t even have a single multiplex.
What is attendance of local films in Macedonia like? How about European films? How did your films do in Macedonia?
Local films usually score good attendance, and my films do pretty well until a pirate DVD comes out, which usually happens two or three weeks after the premiere. In that moment, attendance drops 90%.
European films are screened at festivals and revues that are organized in several Macedonian cities. Continuous theatrical distribution of European films is virtually non-existent.
What is your next project?
The next project is the new film by Serbian director Srdjan Dragojevic (Pretty Village, Pretty Flame), called Parade. It’s in pre-production and I hope principal photography will start in October.