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Nenad Georgievski: I usually go the hard way to get to the source!

The second edition of the Skopje Cinema City film festival for music documentaries was held in the Cinematheque of Macedonia this month, where a varied and rich musical program of documentaries was presented. Leonard Cohen’s I’m your man opened the festival, as a tribute to him, continuing the tradition that started with last year’s opening with David Bowie’s films. We talked with the organizer of the festival, Nenad Georgievski.

How many films were screened during the 2nd Skopje Cinema City film festival for music documentaries? Are you satisfied with the attendance? Is there audience for these films?

Georgievski: Of course there is interest and audience, but as for any event and festival, generally, people go to more familiar events. So there was greater attendance at films with more familiar titles to them than others. I think that’s normal. The festival has a concept to present names, titles of music documentaries dedicated to famous music stars intermingled with those less reputable in order to introduce new content.

You said the audience more reacts to better known musicians. The festival opened with the film dedicated to Leonard Cohen. Did the people who saw David Bowie or Cohen’s films come to see the films of less famous music stars?

Georgievski: The Macedonian public definitely wants to attend these events. We as organizers noticed that some of the audience came to all screenings, while some came occasionally, or saw films with titles that interested them… Various documentaries belong to different genres, so one cannot require cohesiveness in people. The festival is intended for all audiences, for everyone and anyone that finds this interesting. Leonard Cohen was perfect for this edition, and for next year we will prepare something else.

As a longtime music journalist and critic tell us what, actually, music documentaries present ? You have had, perhaps, an opportunity to attend certain filming …?

Georgievski: Documentaries show different kind of journalism, and somehow touch people’s emotions more deeply in a more evident way, they deal with certain topics, music or other topics like war, ethnological, I once attended a festival for underwater documentaries… There are also mountaineering documentaries. They all address a certain audience with a certain interest. Music documentaries primarily have a promotional purpose. No matter whether they deal with some topic or a biography, they have promotional, educational and above all entertaining feature. As for the second part of the question, during the time when I worked for Vojvodina Television, despite shooting short stories and shows, I also worked on documentaries. I worked on a documentary about Bajaga, which was a three-part television documentary and took part in festivals, was screened in cinemas etc.

Apart from Bajaga, you have also worked on a documentary about Kiril Dzajkovski … do music stars want to be filmed in this way? Do they cooperate?

Georgievski: It depends, if the filming has already started, it means that they want to promote something, to show, to explain something because regardless of their popularity, the film serves to their popularity, so of course they cooperate, but it also depends on who makes the film.

Your book titled “Music and Chatter” was also promoted in the frames of the festival. What it contains? Where can people buy the book? Is it out yet?

Georgievski: It’s a collection of music interviews, which I did over the years. The title of the book came from my wife, I have to say, because I had another in English, but she suggested that this title is more beautiful as it suggests its essence. The book contains various interviews, and that is, in fact, the heart of the festival, conversations with people, socializing with musicians, music lovers, it has more of a promotional purpose. For example, the interview with Kiril Dzajkovski is taken from a documentary I did for him in 2007. These are interviews conducted on different continents and the cohesiveness of all that existed only in my head. Prior to the synopses one has to see the concept in one place, understand the integrity, depth and content of everything one has imagined. And now, after a long time, we have reached the book.

How long have you been working on the book?

Georgievski: I have been working on the book for very long time. I worked together with Misko Grbevski, a fellow journalist, and we were hurrying to finish it on time and the choice that we made is a mirror of the time when we worked on the project. Two or three years ago we worked on one thing, before that on another thing. Some things are kept in part, while some are more interesting and are kept in whole.

After the first two editions … what should we expect for the next edition of Skopje Cinema City? Do have you any ideas?

Georgievski: You know what people say “If the author does not like his work, nor will the readers”… But the road from idea to realization is long, and it does not mean that it will be realized precisely in that way. As organizer I’m primarily making efforts the content to be interesting and the topics to be close to the audience. Surely, there will be a combination of familiar and unfamiliar, but it will be certainly interesting.

Is it hard to bring films to such music festival? How do you manage to do that?

Georgievski: As I mentioned, the book “Music and Chatter” is the core of it all. It contains all my contacts that I’ve realized in the past fifteen years, starting from publishing houses, distributors, etc. and I usually go the hard way to procure them and to get to the source.

Are they expensive?

Georgievski: It depends. Primarily these films are not intended for small market like Macedonia, especially because we cannot respond to their demands as, for example, San Antonio, New York or London, Paris can … But what we can bring we will bring, what we cannot – it will remain for another time.

Do you have some financial support for the festival, procurement of films, space, organization…

Georgievski: In the last two years we did not cooperate with the institutions, except for our regular cooperation with the Cinematheque of Macedonia, which does mean that it will remain so. Maybe some doors will open, and maybe not, but that’s not an obstacle to realize this things.