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2013: A year in highlights
21 December 2013
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The arrival of 2014 finds us, here at, very excited about what 2014 has in store for cinema in the Balkans. Until then, we feel the need to salute and honor 2013, an important Balkan year full of amazing films, festivals, events and awards! Let see what happened in our neighborhood in the past 12 months!

Looking back in time, it was a very productive year for the Balkan film industry with a serious presence in 2013 film festivals. Berlinale, Venice, Karlovy Vary, Thessaloniki, Pula, Transilvania to name a few of them. 
Many of those films and projects became possible through two European programs, Eurimages and Media Program, making their decisions very important for the next year΄s cinematic harvest. 
Through its annual 3 meetings, Eurimages supported 10 Balkan films and one minor Balkan co-production; in addition MEDIA Program funded 10 single and one slate Balkan projects. We shouldn’t forget the fact that out of 36 countries participating in the Eurimages eleven are from the Balkans, while out of  the 33 MEDIA Programme countries only five belong to the Balkan Peninsula.

Child΄s Pose

Undoubtedly this year seems to confirm "Balkan cinema" as such. Many events around the globe become more interested in Balkan regional works. News and information are multiplied, the audience becomes acquainted with these indie films and some names have already entered the pantheon of movie stars. 

Romania, the locomotive of our Big Balkan Train keeps going at full speed.
The excellent Child΄s Pose by Calin Peter Netzer is one of the most successful films of the decade, as Romanian Film Promotion states: “The film’s opening weekend was spectacular, registering over 19.000 viewers, a record for a Romanian film in this last decade”. Child΄s Pose led the way, participating in the official selection of many festivals and winning -among others- the Golden Bear award at Βerlin Film Festival. The film is also to be Romania΄s nomination for the 86th Academy Awards. 
Apart from that, leading actress Luminita Gheorghiu was announced “The Face” of the 12th edition of Transylvania International Film Festival and received the Excellence Award. She was also a nominee for European Academy Awards in the Best Actress category. Adding another one to its award collection, Child΄s Pose producer Ada Solomon won the Co-Production Award – Prix Eurimages at the European Academy Awards.
We shouldn΄t forget to mention Corneliu Porumboiu΄s newest When Evening Falls On Burcharest or Metabolism which was shown in November at the 8th edition of Making Waves: New Romanian Cinema in New York along with the world premiere of Closer To The Moon by Nae Caranfil and the latest Romanian productions. 

Moving south to Greece, Miss Violence by Alexandros Avranas traveled to Mostra and received the Silver Lion Award for Best Director and the Coppa Volpi for Best Actor (Themis Panou) at the 70th Venice Film Festival. The other Greek film that made quite an impression in 2013 was Ektoras Lygizos΄ Boy Eating the Bird΄s Food, being Greece΄s nomination for the 86th Academy Awards. Of course, Greece’s “Weird Cinema” as critics and industry people around the world like to call it, isn’t all what this country exports and Pantelis Voulgaris’s latest Mikra Agglia along with its reception to Greek audience and critics proves this.

Mikra Agglia

Pointing the map to Croatia, The Priest΄s Children by Vinko Bresan is a film to mention; scoring the best Croatian film opening ever with 33,759 tickets sold in its first weekend, the best opening since the country΄s independence 22 years ago. The film was also the only Balkan nomination for the European Academy Awards for 2013, in the Best Comedy Category. Nevertheless, Croatian Film Center decided to submit for the Academy Awards Halima΄s Path by Arsen Anton Ostojic. The film won 14 awards in total throughout 2013 in festivals around the world and among others the Grand Prix prize at both the International Festival of Mons in Belgium and the 19th Mediterranean Film Festival in Morocco, in which it was also voted as the best film of the festival.
Additionally, within 2013, the Head of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Hrvoje Hribar, was awarded the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres) for 2013, “for his merits in international cultural cooperation and strengthening the ties between the Croatian and French audiovisual sector”. 

Serbia also had a great year with the film Circles by Srđan Golubović which was the big winner of CineEast Film Festival and Cinema City Novi Sad. It has also received the Special Prize at Sundance Film Festival, the Award of the Ecumenical Jury in Berlin and many other prizes. The film was the Serbian official candidate for the upcoming Oscars.

Another big success came from neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina with An Episode in the Life of the Iron Picker by Danis Tanovicwinner of the Silver Bear and Best Actor (Nazif Mujic) as well as of the Ecumenical Jury Special Mention at the Berlinale. It is also the country΄s Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film and the only one from the Balkans that entered in the short list of nine films for the foreign-language Oscar

An Episode in the Life of the Iron Picker

Moving on to Bulgaria, the country’s most successful independent film, The Color of Chameleon by Emil Christov was selected for Variety΄s “Ten European Directors to Watch” at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2013 leading to its nomination for this year΄s Academy Awards in Best Foreign Film category. Chameleon swept the Bulgarian Academy Film Awards 2013, with eight awards out of eleven nominations. 
The other big winner of the Bulgarian awards was Petar Popzlatev with Best Director Award for I Am You, a film that the American audience saw at the 9th edition of New York-Bulgarian Film Festival 2013

Rok Bicek΄s Class Enemy from Slovenia was selected for the Critic΄s Week at the 70th Venice Film Festival making possible its nomination for the Best Foreign Film Award at the Oscars.

From Albania came Agon by Robert Budina, nominated for the 86th Academy Awards, a co-production with Greece, Romania and France, was shoot in 2012 with the support of Eurimages Fund.

Crossing the Bosporus Strait, in Turkey, Reha Erdem΄s Jin, besides its participation at this year΄s Berninale, traveled around the world winning important awards in Brussels Film Festival and elsewhere, something that didn΄t prevent him from completing his latest Singing Women wich presented at the Toronto Film Festival. Two other films that represent the best in Turkey΄s cinematic landscape were The Dream of a Butterfly by Yilmaz Erdogan and Araf by Yesim Ustaoglu are two films that represent the best in Turkey΄s cinematic landscape. The first one was nominated for the 2013 Oscars and Araf for the European Film Academy Awards 2013.  


For Montenegro, 2013 was a special year indeed, as it is the first time that it submits a film, Bad Destiny by Darko Đurović, for the Oscars as an independent country.

Despite the fact that two films from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Balkan Is not Dead by Alexandar Popovski and Igor Ivanov Izi’s The Piano Room were eligible for this year΄s Academy Awards, “after several hours of debate, the national commission of the Macedonian Association of Filmmakers said it could not recommend any film for Oscar submission this year as neither of the two local contenders were "appropriate" for submission to the Academy Awards.”

Cyprus this year presented the feature film Block 12 by Kyriakos Tofarides, a Greek-Cypriot co-production which has won the Special Jury Award at the Cyprus Film Days Festival 2013.

Boosting an Industry

Professionals of the industry such as producers and actors had a fruitful year as well. 
European Film Promotion (EFP), the international network of organizations promoting and marketing European cinema worldwide annually presents, at the Berlin International Film Festival, ten up-and-coming European actors and actresses from ten different European countries to the international press, public and industry, the Shooting Stars. EFP also offers support and guidance to European producers during the Cannes International Film Festival, in the frame of the action Producers on the Move. In a highly selective process, one producer per country is chosen by the respective EFP member to take part in this initiative, which has set a high standard for participation and offers various opportunities to build up business relationships.

Shooting Stars 2013

This year seven producers were selected for the Producers on the Move 2013. Konstantin Bojanov from Bulgaria, Zdenka Gold from Croatia, Labina Mitevska from FYROM, Giorgos Karnavas from Greece, Valon Jakupaj from Kosovo*, Sehad Cekic from Montenegro and Anca Puiu from Romania, while four actors were nominated for Shooting Stars 2013. These were Arta Dobroshi from Kosovo*, Ada Condeescu from Romania, Jure Henigman from Slovenia and Nermina Lucac from Montenegro. 
Two more actors, Cosmina Stratan from Romania for her performance in the film Beyond the Hills and Nikola Rakocevic from Serbia, for his parts in the movies Circles, Trolling and Travelator are confirmed in the official selection of Shooting Stars 2014.  

Show me your partners and I΄ll tell you who you are...

Ending this journey, we΄d like to recall all the great moments of with more than 1183 films, interesting news and important partnerships from our region. This year΄s highlight was no other than the 2nd edition of our Online Short Film Festival for Balkan Filmmakers, altcineAction! 2013. The festival gave young directors the chance to present their work and win substantive awards helping them in the preparation of their next film and nobody proves this better than Asimina Proedrou, our last year΄s winner. She finished, during 2013, her second short, Red Hulk, with the production award of altcineAction! 2012. This film has already won the first prize at the two major short film international film festivals in Greece and goes ahead for the big prize at Clermont-Ferrand, on February 2014. We wish her all the best!

2013 also marked altcine΄s important new partnerships with...
The Divan Film Festival, which combines film screenings with Balkan food recipes and open discussion round tables, and its artistic director, Marian Tutui, a top essayist and a key figure in the Balkan network.
Agron Domi and Ilir Butka, directors of the Albania Film Commission and Tirana International Film Festival, one of the oldest festivals of SouthWestern Balkan, became key partners of altcine.
Also Yoana Pavlova and the Festivalists along with Greg DeCuir Jr. are contributing with articles, news and essays, like Gergana Doncheva from Sofia does; all of them, precious partners .
To quote Casablanca “this is a beginning of a beautiful friendship”.

Apart from the interest of the academia on the Balkan cinema, another hopeful message emerged from the 2nd annual Balkan Conference of Cinematographers during the Manaki Film Festival at Bitola which aimed at encouraging closer collaboration between the Balkan professionals, other than producers and directors.  
The conference gave us the chance to realize that the interaction between neighboring countries is the only way to survive. To mention the title of a Czech film Divided we fall!

So, go to our list of Balkan films created especially to celebrate the arrival of 2014, check and don΄t forget to pick the ones you have seen. Prove us right!

Farewell 2013!

  Beyond the Hills
  Balkan Is Not Dead
  I Am You
  Boy Eating the Bird`s Food
  Halima`s Path
  Somewhere in Between
  Singing Women
  The Color of the Chameleon
  The Priest's Children
  Child`s Pose
  When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism
  An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker
  The Dream of a Butterfly
  Block 12
  Miss Violence
  Class Enemy
  Bad Destiny / The Ace Of Spades
  The Piano Room
  Little England
  Hrvoje Hribar
  Anca Puiu
  Ada Solomon
  Luminita Gheorghiu
  Ada Condeescu
  Konstantin Bojanov
  Nikola Rakocevic
  Cosmina Stratan
  Jure Henigman
  Labina Mitevska
  George Karnavas
  Arta Dobroshi
  Zdenka Gold
  Sehad Cekic
  11 Balkan co-productions were supported by Eurimages in 2013
  Balkan Films supported by Media Programme in 2013
  altcine Explore movies by Country People To read
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