Watch Out!

Open Air Film Festival

A project by Silke Wittig

Host organization: LOJA - Center for Balkan Cooperation

June 2012, Memorial Museum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and LOJA, Tetovo (Macedonia)

Watch Out! was the name of the program: An open-air festival for young independent film took place in Tetovo for the first time. Over the course of four evenings, a diverse film program was presented to a curious audience in the garden of the Memorial Museum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. During the day, lectures and workshops with filmmakers, producers, and curators were held on the LOJA premises. Following the screenings there were concerts and parties.

The festival specifically addressed young filmmakers, and students from throughout the region. Its goal was to provide a platform for independent filmmakers, creating a bridge between scenes in various countries and offering insight into production in Germany. Tetovo's relatively limited cultural landscape was to be enriched by a summer festival, also attracting visitors from neighboring cities.

An international competition brought the festival to a climax on the third and fourth nights: About 40 young filmmakers from all over the world had applied, 15 films made it into the selection and were presented at the festival. The prize for the best documentary went to Lubica Krajňáková from Slovakia for her film "The Night Watchman." The best experimental film, "The Filmmaker" was submitted by Judy Ross from Germany. The film "Substitute" by Maciej Wiktor from Poland was awarded best short film.

Any concerns that the location would be too out of the way for the audience and that the program would be too ambitious were assuaged on the opening night. The media coverage was enormous and the number of attendees was far beyond all expectations. The festival will now take place annually.

The project has been carried on in 2013 by Aleksandar Stojanovski.

With support from: Robert Bosch Stiftung, Goethe-Institut liaison office Skopje
Photos: Jeta Iljazi, Aleksandar Stojanovski, Silke Wittig