Awards & Conclusion of the 13th Balkans Beyond Borders Short Film Festival Bitola – North Macedonia


The jury of the 13th Balkans Beyond Borders Short Film Festival gave the award of Best Film to the animated short film Granny’s sexual life, directed by Urska Djukic and Emilie Pigeard, co-written with Maria Bohr and based on anonymous testimonials gathered by Milena Miklavcic. A powerful, symbolic imagery that offers visibility to the unspoken, brutal truth of domestic violence against women and their position in exYugoslavia. 

The 13th Balkans Beyond Borders Short Film Festival took place in the city of Bitola, in North Macedonia, in the NI Center of Culture, from the 19th to the 22nd of October 2022, under the theme Untiling the Mosaic, and was co-organized with Sfera International. This year, the 32 short films by young balkan filmmakers focused on ways in which identity is formed and expressed in different countries of the Balkan region and challenged us to think, and pick apart, the ways in which each ‘tile’ is unique while also sharing a common ground, as part of an overall bigger ‘mosaic’.The audience gathered in the cinema and viewed a selection of films which deconstructed this mosaic and reconstructed it in terms of solidarity, visibility and intersectionality. The active participation of the audience has been invaluable this year, and awarded, by voting, the film that inspired and moved them the most, which was the film Me and the Other by Buse Halaçoğlu, who won the BBB Audience Award (300€).

The BBB jury team consisted of award winning directors, Dina Duma from North Macedonia and Thanasis Neofotistos from Greece, as well as Jelena Miseljic, cultural professional from Montenegro. The film Granny’s sexual life was awarded Best Film (1000€). The award of First Entry (500€) was given to the film Jam by Tasou Palisidou, for its subtle directorial approach and powerful acting performance, which uncovers the hidden emotional maps in an everyday story. The First Entry award is very special to BBB, as it aspires to promote and support young filmmakers who take their first steps in their creative and professional journey. 

The BBB jury also gave Special Mentions for three films which touched them through their unique aesthetic and directorial approach: Tina’s Problem by Radovan Petrovic, for its powerful, naturalistic imagery of a system in collapse and the position of women in it. Kids on the Moon by Dinko Draganovic, for its impressive long take shot, which manages to build great tension, while commenting on a peculiar social phenomenon. The end of suffering (A Proposal) by Jacqueline Lentzou, for its exceptional cinematic journey into the core of the world we live in.

The award-statues of the Festival were created by Solid 3D Printing and Scanning.

Beyond the competition programme, this year’s screening programme included an additional number of short films. The section BBB & co included, among others, a collaboration with PriFest with a tribute to the former director of PriFest Vjosa Berisha, who sadly passed away but continues to inspire us through her creativity and work in the film industry, but above all, as a person. BBB & co also featured shorts from North Macedonia, in collaboration with the CineDays festival, and Greek short films curated by the Greek Film Center. The BBB Focus section, in collaboration with the Fantoche International Film Festival, featured animated short films from Switzerland.

As with past BBB Festivals, parallel activities were a big part of the BBB experience. The workshop ‘Reimagining identities: Youth and Counterculture on a Balkan metropolis’, organized by See in Action posed the question of how anthropology and photography intersect and offer tools as a different way of seeing. This was followed by a Photo-Marathon, in which participants took pictures of their city and the people in it, and exhibited them in an open Photography Exhibition

Moreover, a scriptwriting workshop with Onur Ozcan, titled ‘Creativity vs Reality: Why your script isn’t good enough’, offered new ideas and methods when dealing with the problems that may be encountered in the process of turning the idea into reality.

You can find the full programme of the 13th Balkans Beyond Borders Short Film Festival in the online catalog here and here.

The Festival had the support of the Ministry of Culture of North Macedonia, the Municipality of Bitola, the NI Center for Culture, the Greek Film Center, the Consulate General of the Republic of Kosovo in Struga, Northern Macedonia among many other valuable sponsors and partners.

This year’s festival could not have been possible without our co-organizers Sfera International, an NGO based in Bitola, North Macedonia, with whom we share common ideas and practices, and who time and again strive to support the youth through environmental and educational programs and activities in the region, while promoting cultural and natural heritage.

Last but not least, we are pleased to announce the continuation of our nomadic, traveling festival and its Athens Edition this year, in December, in Greece.

More information is available on our website, our Facebook page and Instagram (Balkans Beyond Borders).

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