by Vladan Petkovic
- We talk to producer Svetozar Ristovski, of Small Moves Films, who lives and works between Canada and his home country of Macedonia
Producer Svetozar Ristovski lives and works between Canada and his home country of Macedonia. His latest outing was as a co-producer on Ognjen Sviličić's Venice Orizzonti hit These Are the Rules [+see also:
film profile], and he is currently in post-production with Lazar, a co-production with Croatia's MP Film Production, Bulgaria's Gala Film and France's Arizona Films, which he also directed and co-wrote.
Cineuropa: You are working and living between Macedonia and Canada. How does this work for you professionally? Are you making films in Canada?
Svetozar Ristovski: It certainly was not an easy transition, and it took some time for me to learn the ropes in Canada. I made a film a few years ago, Dear Mr Gacy, but only as a director. It was produced by the independent US producer Clark Peterson (Monster, Rampart, Devil’s Knot), from whom I’ve learned a lot about producing and filmmaking in North America. At present, I am producing in Macedonia, through Small Moves Films; however, I am certain that soon I will be able to start producing in North America as well. The most exciting thing for me, of course, is the possibility of working on co-productions between Canada and Europe.
Your new project, Lazar, has been to many co-production markets and pitchings. Can you tell us more about it?
Lazar is a co-production between Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria and France, and it was supported by Eurimages. Currently, we are working on the sound post-production, and the composer is finishing the music. Our aim is to have it completed by the end of June, and to premiere it at some of the international film festivals in the summer or the autumn.
Story-wise, Lazar is basically a romance, or at least on the surface. A young criminal’s stunted emotional life is awakened by his falling in love, and consequently, he is forced to find the courage to face up to himself, and his conscience that he starts to develop.
How do you see the production, distribution and exhibition situation in Macedonia and the rest of the Balkans? Where do you see most room for improvement?
Unfortunately, Macedonia is a very small market, and therefore, the commercial potential of the films is rather small. However, a lot of effort was put into creating laws to support national film production. The Macedonian Film Agency has been very supportive of the national and international co-productions, and additionally, a 20% tax incentive was introduced last year. So, all of this helps film production, but in my opinion, it is crucial to increase the number of regional and international co-productions, in an effort to exchange ideas and talent, and to expand the otherwise tiny distribution market.
I think more or less the situation is similar in the other Balkan countries. I think it is a very tough market overall. On the other hand, though, we’ve seen some exceptional cinema coming out of this region, and I think that there is a lot of passion and artistic potential in the Balkans, which is very exciting.
What do you expect from Producers on the Move?
Producers on the Move is an excellent opportunity to meet fellow producers from all over Europe and to establish potential collaborations, and business relationships for future projects. It is also a great promotion for me as a producer coming from a small country, and for the project that I am currently developing.