Macedonia sends Secret Ingredient to the Oscars
by Vassilis Economou
- Gjorce Stavreski’s debut feature is the Macedonian submission for the 91st Academy Awards, in the Best Foreign-language Film category
Macedonian writer-director Gjorce Stavreski’s debut feature, Secret Ingredient [+see also:
interview: Blagoj Veselinov
interview: Gjorce Stavreski
film profile], which had its world premiere at Thessaloniki and won the festival’s Balkan Survey Award (see the news), is Macedonia’s submission for the Best Foreign-language Film Academy Award, which will be handed out on 24 February 2019. The movie had its international premiere at the 21st Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and won First Prize at the Bergamo Film Meeting (see the news) as well as the Promising Debut Award at Vienna’s LET’S CEE Film Festival (see the news).
Written by Stavreski himself, the offbeat comedy follows Vele (Blagoj Veselinov), a train mechanic in his late twenties or early thirties. He lives in Skopje with his father, Sazdo (Anastas Tanovski), who has lung cancer. Without any money for medicine, in a country whose healthcare system is barely functional, Vele tries methods such as homeopathy, placebos or straight-out stealing to help his dad – but nothing works. One day he finds a package of drugs and makes a space cake for his father – and then the magic happens!
Regarding his selection, Stavreski told Cineuropa: “I'm really happy about it. We'll do our best to promote the film in the States, and hopefully this will give us more visibility and help us find a good distributor. It has been an amazing ride so far. This film has given me many heart attacks, but lots of pleasure as well.”
Macedonia is thus once again submitting a film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences after a one-year abstention, as no movie was selected to send to the 90th Academy Awards. This is the 15th time that the country has attempted to be represented at the Oscars, with the most celebrated moment being its first submission in 1994, with Milcho Manchevski’s Before the Rain, which actually secured a nomination.
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