Skip to main content

FIFF showcases North Macedonian cinema

God exists, her Name is Petrunya, Teona Strugar Mitevska (2019)

The Fribourg International Film Festival (FIFF) has chosen North Macedonia as the subject of this year's New Territory section. Although smaller than Switzerland, this Balkan country boasts a vibrant film industry that delivers high-quality output. FIFF's sweeping overview of North Macedonian cinema is a world first and the line-up includes 10 feature-length films and seven shorts spanning three decades. North Macedonian directors will also attend the 38th edition of FIFF, which will run from 15th to 24th March 2024. This section was made possible thanks to the contribution of Biljana Lunga Filipovska, Counsellor at the North Macedonian Film Agency.

Tensions and migration have been a common thread throughout the history of North Macedonia, as Samet Sulejmanoski, curator of this year's New Territory section, explains, "North Macedonia is a melting pot of cultures, languages, ethnicities and religions. The films shown at FIFF offer a fuller picture of a country that has survived occupation and wars." The New Territory line-up covers a wide range of themes, from explorations of personal identity and survival in a fragmented world to stories that capture the delicate balancing act between upholding tradition and embracing modernity. What they all have in common is a deeply human perspective on fractured lives. For Sulejmanoski, a dual Swiss-North Macedonian national based in Fribourg, North Macedonian cinema is socially engaged, sensitive and smart that oscillates between poetry and humour. For Thierry Jobin, Artistic Director of FIFF, "The films from North Macedonia have an undeniable universal appeal. Thanks to a healthy dose of irony, the often strong-willed and determined protagonists always manage to find a way out of even the trickiest and most absurd situations. I am sure that the FIFF audience will identify with these stories and enjoy discovering a country that is bursting with talent and offers its filmmakers the necessary formal and narrative substance to create productions of the highest quality."

Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov, 2019
Honeyland, Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov, 2019

The New Territories: North Macedonia programme opens with Milcho Manchevski's Before the Rain (1994), a significant milestone in the country's cinematic history, as it was the country's first major homegrown production since gaining independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Through three intertwining stories, this drama paints the portrait of a country where simmering ethnic and religious tensions threaten to boil over. The film was a resounding success, winning the Golden Lion at Venice in 1994 and receiving an Oscar nomination in 1995.

God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya (2019) by Teona Strugar Mitevska is another strong entry in the section. It tells the story of a woman who defies conventions to take part in a ceremony that is traditionally an all-male preserve. The film, which won an award at the Berlinale, is an uncompromising study of a conservative and patriarchal society. Samet Sulejmanoski is full of praise for the filmmaker, "Teona Strugar Mitevska is one of the country's greatest directors. She makes films that deliver a powerful social message through sensitive and understated storytelling." The director is also a member of this year's International Short Film Jury and will attend the Festival in person.

FIFF is also showing North Macedonia's Oscar entry, Housekeeping for Beginners (2023) by Goran Stolevski. This touching and funny film follows Dita, who has to bring up her partner's children in a society marked by deep-rooted homophobia and a certain disdain for its own Roma communities. Winner of the Queer Lion at Venice, this drama addresses a universal issue: the struggle to build a happy family life in the face of social dictates.

Housekeeping for Beginners, Goran Stolevski, 2023
Housekeeping for Beginners, Goran Stolevski, 2023

As part of FIFForum, the Festival will be hosting a roundtable on 'Making films in North Macedonia' with a delegation of the country's filmmakers. FIFF will be showcasing North Macedonia's culinary heritage, too. Following last year's successful launch of the Movie and a Dinner deal, FIFF has decided to repeat the experience. After the screening of a film from the New Territory section, the audience will have the opportunity to sample a North Macedonian speciality at Les Trentenaires, one of FIFF's partner restaurants.


Feature films (fiction)

  • Before the Rain (Pred dozhdot), Milcho Manchevski, 1994
  • The Great Water (Golemata Voda), Ivo Trajkov, 2003
  • Balkan Is Not Dead (Balkanot ne e mrtov), Aleksandar Popovski, 2012
  • Secret Ingredient (Tajnata sostojka), Gjorce Stavreski, 2017
  • God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya (Gospod postoi, imeto i' e Petrunija), Teona Strugar Mitevska, 2019
  • The Happiest Man in the World (Najsrekjniot Chovek na Svetot), Teona Strugar Mitevska, 2022
  • Snow White Dies at the End (Snežana na krajot umira), Kristijan Risteski, 2022
  • Housekeeping for Beginners (Domakinstvo za Pocetnici), Goran Stolevski, 2023

Feature films (documentary)

  • Honeyland (Medena zemja), Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov, 2019 
  • New Era Old Dilemma (Stara dilema, nova era), Sabidin Aliu, 2023

Short Films (fiction)

  • Elena, Dina Duma, 2016
  • Fighting for Death, Eleonora Veninova, 2016
  • The Beginning, Agim Abdula, 2018
  • Sticker, Georgi Unkovski, 2020
  • The North Pole, Marija Apcevska, 2021
  • Only the Devil Hates Water, Lidija Mojsovska, 2022
  • A Tone of Ice Cream, Sandra Gjeorgjieva, 2023

FIFForum round table
Meeting with Samet Sulejmanoski and the delegation of filmmakers from North Macedonia (free admission)

The full programme of the 38th FIFF (15h–24th March) will be unveiled on Wednesday 28th February 2024.

Snow White Dies at the End, Kristijan Risteski, 2022
Snow White Dies at the End, Kristijan Risteski, 2022

image en background

Conception et développement: Agence MiNT

My account


Forgot password?

I don't have an account - Create an account

My account

Create an account

I already have an account - Login

Password recovery

Login - Create an account


Login with a TicketID

Welcome on “My favorites” page!

Here you will be able to:

  • Find your screening selection
  • Easily add your screening selection to your cart

Now you can access your favorite and share them from all your browser by creating an account.

Register now

Have a good festival!