Marija Dimitrova • Producer, List Production
"I like to produce films that will point out the things we're all trying not to talk about"
- Macedonian Producer on the Move tells us about making her first feature film, the Karlovy Vary prize-winning Sisterhood, and juggling several projects at the same time
Already with her first film Sisterhood [+see also:
interview: Dina Duma, Antonia Belazelk…
film profile] by Dina Duma, Macedonian producer Marija Dimitrova scooped a special mention in Karlovy Vary's East of the West section. We talked to her about the making of this film and juggling several different projects at the same time, ahead of her participation in the EFP's Producers on the Move in Cannes.
Cineuropa: What is it that attracts you to a project? How do you choose them?
Marija Dimitrova: First, I look at the project itself, the topic and its cinematic meaning. I like to produce films that will start a discussion about certain topics and that will point out the things we are all trying not to talk about. Also, I am always interested in the previous work of the director and their aesthetics, and I am very curious about emerging directors and their potential, which is why I’m still working on short films.
You are working on several projects in parallel. Can you tell us a bit about them, and how do you juggle between them?
Currently, I am in pre-production with my second feature film as a producer, Housekeeping for Beginners by Goran Stolevski, and the shooting is scheduled for July 2022. When I started working on it in 2019, we were already in preparation for the filming of Sisterhood and having one film about to start shooting and another one in development was manageable. So, by the time we entered financing for Housekeeping, Sisterhood was already in late post-production and, in a way, these two projects never interfered with one another.
The Son of the Soldier by Igor Ivanov is another project that I am developing and we are working in a similar dynamic. Meanwhile, I’ve produced two short films and I was very closely involved in pre-production and production of Era by Parta Kelmendi which I am co-producing with Nam Creative from Kosovo.
I am also in pre-production of the documentary Her Story by Lidija Mojsovska, which should enter production in August/September 2022; a co-production with Heretic from Greece, Kyuka - Journeying to the Moon Through the Endless Sea by Kostis Charamountanis, which is planned to shoot in October 2022; and in development and financing of the Croatian film Virgins by Dora Šustić with Antitalent as main producer.
You scored a big success already with your first feature-length production. How was this experience for you and how difficult was it to make that film?
Sisterhood was my first feature film as a producer and also the first feature film on which I ever worked. Before this, I had produced ten short films and I was a line producer on a TV series, but this was something completely different.
Producing a feature film for the first time is a really, really big challenge. It's difficult, unpredictable, joyful and fun. It causes you a lot of pain but gives you a lot of joy, too. It’s a journey on which you can test all your relationships with the people around you and on which you can learn things that never occurred before.
Well, producing Sisterhood was exactly like this.
We had a long casting, looking for teenage non-actors, which was followed by a long process of preparations and shooting for six weeks. While we were editing, Covid-19 curfews started and the whole post-production was complicated by travel restrictions so everything went very slowly. North Macedonia was almost constantly on the red list and we were very lucky to be able to attend the premiere in Karlovy Vary.
However, every challenge we faced was manageable and easy because of the will, the dedication, the energy and the love put into this film by the core team consisting of the writer-director Dina Duma, the DoP Naum Doksevski and the editor and co-writer Martin Ivanov, for which I'd like to thank them again.
What do you expect from your participation in Producers on the Move?
Each opportunity to meet and work with colleagues from different countries, exchange experience and ideas and open possibilities for actual and future collaboration is priceless for me because it opens up new perspectives and gives me a wind at my back to continue more courageously in my work. I expect to have the chance to talk about my issues and dilemmas with fellow producers from different backgrounds and also to listen to their issues and re-check my own. I believe that talking and listening is the only way to reshape and tune your work and to grow as a person and professional.
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