What does this mean for Bitola?
Being a part of the international UNESCO Creative Cities Network means that our city
- can nurture the vibrant role film plays in Bitola's creative economy by expanding the work of the Bitola Film Office to increase public, private and cross-sector partnerships and develop relations with cultural centres, universities, and production companies.
- increase the city's cultural events and offering with exhibitions, festivals, workshops and more, particularly exploring the Manaki Brothers.
- can position Bitola as an international hub for film creation.
What makes Bitola a City of Film?
A Pioneering City
Bitola's film history dates back to the early 20th century and the Manaki brothers, Yanaki and Milton. These film pioneers made their mark on their hometown, formerly named Manastir. In 1903 they opened a photo studio, and in 1905 they brought the first film camera to the Ottoman Empire - the Bioscope 300 film camera - and filmed the very first motion pictures shot in the Ottoman Balkans.
A Festival City
Bitola celebrates the Manaki Brothers each year with the International Cinematographers Film Festival ‘Manaki Brothers’, with screenings of independent foreign movies. Run in tandem with the Festival of Non Professional Documentary, non-professional cinematographers from around the world compete for the Golden, Silver and Bronze awards.
Film heritage has seeped into the streets of Bitola, with sought after filming locations across the city and beyond. Shirok (Širok) Sokak, called the most famous street in Bitola, is the main street lined with some of the oldest architectural buildings in the Balkans, and Bitola’s old bazar, a medieval Bezisten, or covered market, was home to the city’s artisans and craftsmen.
As a non-profit organization, Film Center Bitola is dedicated to the development of film for creative and artistic exploration in Bitola. As champions of Bitola as a City of Film, the Film Center supports existing film projects, events and developments in new media run by the City of Bitola.
Bitola lives and breathes film, with regular film-related activities and industry filming on the city streets. Film Center Bitola keeps the public up to date on current events and filming, sharing the impact the film industry has on Bitola and the wider economic area.
Film Center Bitola aims to develop media education and encourage younger generations in Macedonia to engage with film practice. As part of this, Film Center Bitola organises a Mobile Festival Workshop programme in collaboration with primary and secondary schools in Macedonia and the Mobile international Film Festival. Running since 2010, the annual school workshops focus on different topics and are led by professionals in their field.
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