The Academic Cinema Club from Skopje, is an organization for production of non-professional film, film education for young people, and for introduction the film art to the people.
Academic Cinema Club was founded in 1959, from a group of young film enthusiasts, students on the University “Ss.Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje, and it’s one of the first clubs from this kind in Macedonia.
The club was formed with an assistance of the Student Association from the “Ss.Cyril and Methodius” university and the Association for Technical Support.
The club was founded as an institution under the authority of university rector’s office. It’s still been functioning in this form.
The act of founding the Academic Cinema Club, as well as other clubs under the authority of the University “Ss.Cyril and Methodius”, have made a step forward towards the development of culture and art among the students on the University, and the youth in general.
Through the club, within almost five decades existence, lots of young people, with different professions and film enthusiasts as well have been getting along.
Academic Cinema Club from Skopje, acting in the student’s surroundings, is spreading the film culture, and has a large influence on forming the film and TV structure needed for our film and TV production.
The club, has always been an institution educating and producing people structures which later on continue working professionally with film, as well as that make films because of their love towards the film art.
The Academic Cinema Club is one of the most productive and the most awarded clubs in Macedonia. Its members have participated in numerous film festivals in former Yugoslavia and in international film festivals as well, and they have often been awarded.
ACC has organized many film festivals: Republic Festivals of amateur film in former Yugoslavia, State Festivals of non-professional film in Macedonia, as well as its own international festival of non-professional film – OSFAF being organized 18 times.
Today the club continues to work through the activity of its members.
The long tradition of the club is kept by the young forces of ACC, who, despite of the insufficiency of funds, still manage to make quality films and secure normal activity for “the club life”.
Back in May 1959 Branko Perak and Aco Gjurcinov ,until then members of the Academic cinema club ACC- Belgrade ,came in Skopje with the intention to form an academic cinema club by joining the already present, interested, mainly students that were working within the frameworks of the amateur activities in the Constructional Workers' Center in Skopje. These activities varied from watching selected films to lectures held by the film workers (Sasa Markus, Branko Gapo e.t.c.).
Then, in the second half of May (I remember it was end of May, since right after the twenty-days course the films "Pots" and "I give pebble first" were filmed in the swimming pool in Saraj, where people were sunbathing), that first course was held, for which scripts from Belgrade were brought. The lectures were mainly held by Branko Perak, while in some areas of the basic film knowledge he was assisted by Aco Gjurcin. As much as I remember, the course was attended by the following members: Zivko Popovski, now assistant professor at the Faculty of Architecture in Skopje, Sveto Velkov, architect, who died in the 1963 earthquake, Tomislav Zografski, now composer and professor at the Music Academy in Skopje, Dragan Suplevski, now conductor of the choir "Mirce Acev", Bogomil Gjuzel, writer and playwright in the theatre of drama, Pero Stojanovski, me, Zoran Danilovik and 5-6 more friends, whose names I don't remember because they didn't take part in the filming of the above mentioned films later on. The names of all the members of that first course can be seen on the title of these films where we appear as collective authors.
After the course to which they didn't attend, other members joined who probably found out about the course late, but were interested from earlier, such as Bozidar Todorovski-Bodle, Gjoko Vasilev, Vlada Urosevik e.t.c. This first group numbered about twenty of us. The course was held three to four hours every day, about three weeks, in a classroom at the Faculty of Law. This four-floors building which was demolished after 1963, covered the area of the present opened parking lot opposite to Grand Hotel "Skopje".At the course, in that massive building, we heard everything about the film: from learning about the film camera, film-strip to film language, script , editing and direction. The listeners were willing to learn about the abundant film technology. Within the frameworks of the course we also watched films by the Belgrade amateurs that were brought as additional lecturing material. They were: "Metamorphosis", "White scarf" and "World War Three" in which, to our satisfaction ,we could see Gjurcin.
In the days following the course, we were practicing the script material in the city park and then officially and seriously sat before the two comrades. We all passed because we showed knowledge and studied the material with love, and they also promised us diplomas. In the last class we were given an assignment to write scripts for feature, documentary and genre film and then to choose one of them for collective realization. I remember the script by Bogomil Gjuzel, which is shortly as follows: one early morning a boy from Skopje wakes up and rubs his eyes with a lack of trust- Skopje is deformed, "broken into pieces". He can't recognize his own street. After this he tries to find a reason why all this is happening to the city. The deformations require to be filmed through prisms and other effects.
It is interesting the fact that the author got this idea four years prior to the earthquake in 1963. Dragan Suplevski proposed the following: some fisherman is fishing and fries the fish immediately on the pan, but the fish return to life and the fisherman imagines different things connected to his cruelty and greed. Pero Stojanovski proposed something similar to an American burlesque:
formally dressed man walks through Skopje and the wind is pushing his hat off his head, he is slipping on a banana skin e.t.c.
There were also other ideas. It's too bad they haven't been preserved, because they could be realized by the following generations.
I think it was the idea of Tomislav Zografski and Aco Gjurcin to film "Pots", as a documentary film, and as a feature film my script for "I Give Pebble First", made like a comic with drawings and text, which I will present if I find it. First we realized "Pots" at one potter's place in Topaana: from stirring earth to baking in the kiln in his yard. Tomislav Zografski had the camera, and the others were working all kinds of works. Tome was assisted by Sveto Velkov. Tome also recorded "I Give Pebble First", he somehow chose the camera. Aco Gjurciniv and I agreed to make a filming book for the feature film from that comic-script. One beautiful morning we all arrived in Saraj, mostly by bikes, and I was driving on my bike that little girl from the last scene. The poor girl was numb, and I was surprised that my neighbors gave her to me, the choreographer from Tanec, Atanas Kolarov. This girl, now a mother, has never seen herself acting in that film. It seems to me that we filmed the whole film in one single day. As I said, Tome was behind the camera having his assistants, and the direction was entrusted to Sveto Velkov, Ziko Popovski and to me. The others helped in everything. Branko Perak and Aco Gjurcin were supervisors. As artists were selected the three boys: Aleksandar Dzambazov, Milislav Krstik, journalist, and Mahi, now sculptor. The girls were somebody's friend, brunette, the blond girl is married to Nospal and my little girl Juli. It is interesting, the whole swimming pool, I mean the people that were sunbathing, were continuously helping us always listening to our wishes. I can't remember where we edited "Pots", but me and Gjurcin edited "I give pebble first" in his apartment on a manual montage table of 16mm.
We sent these two films at the next amateur film festival in Belgrade. I, Ziko Popovski, which I think was the first president of the club and Sveto Velkov were sent as delegates. The festival was held in the Yugoslavian film library. The first place was won by "Wall" by Kokan Rakonjac. Our films arrived the last day , although we sent them by mail much earlier. Since they were late for the established period, they were played on the program the last day, but out of competition. The both films received surprising applause in the overcrowded hall, and in the last number of NIN, Adamovik wrote that a new center of the amateur film is born , so everything was in superlative about our films. He even predicted awards for them.
Our stay in Belgrade was very interesting. We saw large number of amateur film such as: "Periphery Street" by Zivoin Pavlovik, who was at the time, amateur as well, "Monument" e.t.c. I remember how Aleksandar Petrovik, at the time leading camera in the amateurism, debated about mounting the handle of iron to the camera to be able to run up and down the stairs recording interesting cadres from "Wall".
After these two films, there started mass authorship film production, with more than ever ideas and scripts, and really good ideas were not realized. But, these were not beginnings now and we faced various problems: from lack of premises to film technology and strip. At the time we were financed by the University and The Technical Assistance Association, where we had our laboratories and the editing in the building which is now demolished, and on its place now stands the library "Braka Miladinovci".
March 1979 ,Skopje, Zoran Danilovik
ACC, WE AND I
Today, or more precisely tonight between 4 and 5 March (I apologize for my bad memory about what happened twenty years ago), I am trying, who knows what time in a row, to bring back my days years ago, for the beautiful time of our enthusiasms, for our love towards the amateur film, for our beautiful dinners at the Skopje square abounding with creative dialogs about what is to be realized in the Academic cinema club and about everything that we started in the year of 1959.
The memories leap to our minds, but they are like blur water that overflows the fertilized field and, I say to myself, it will not be that easy to clarify the water, to see the colorful pebbles of the past, to gather them at one place and to make from them the chain of our time, of our work at the club. And, as it usually goes, the blur flows withdraw, clear jets of memories stay and under them the pearly pebbles ready to be recognized. In the document that I have in front of me is an article in "Nova Makedonija" from the spring in 1961 signed by Ilhama Emon, the following being clearly written:
header- FILM EVERYDAY LIVE; title- THE AMATEURS ARE ASKING US TO MEET THEM and then :FOR MORE THAN TWO YEARS ABOUT TEN FILM-AMATEURS FROM SKOPJE HAVE BEEN ORGANIZING SEMINARS ABOUT LEARNING THE SECRETS OF THE SEVENTH ART AND LEARNING THE TECHNICAL FILM TERMINOLOGY. THEN THEY MAKE FILMS ON EIGHT-MILIMETERS TAPE. THEY ALL WORK WITHOUT REALIZING THAT THEY ARE CREATING ART. BUT STILL- THEY ARE. AND THEY HOPE TO SOMETHING, IF NOTHING ELSE, THEY HOPE THAT THE PUBLIC WILL SEE THEIR MODEST ACHIEVEMENTS. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE ACADEMIC CINEMA CLUB IN SKOPJE, FOUNDED IN 1959 BY SHEER CHANCE, WHEN AFTER SEEING "OTHELLO" BY JUTKEVIC, IN FRONT OF ONE CINEMA IN SKOPJE, SEVERAL ENTHUSIASTIC FILM DEVOTEES MADE AN AGREEMENT, FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF OTHER YUGOSLAVIAN CENTERS, TO FORM THEIR OWN CINEMA CLUB.THEY WERE SUPPORTED FINANCIALLY BY THE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION AND THE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE ASSOCIATION….ACO GJURCIN, VLADA UROSEVIK, ZIKO POPOVSKI, SVETO VELKOV (I'm reading and looking the photo in the newspaper in which Sveto is behind the camera as a camera man filming my second or third amateur film "Chapter Second" and here, in front of the camera, as an artist-amateur Stefan Demirev and me next to Sveto as a screenwriter and director, and I can't hide my feelings when I see this photo because of that great comrade Sveto whose heart stopped beating in the Skopje earthquake and Demirev who died later on suffering of a deadly disease, so I am standing now before that piece of paper, and I bring back the time when there flourished their lives as well as our love, and I feel burden on my soul, and I stand like this silent for a while, lighting a cigarette who knows what time in a row this night, this night pleasant but sad and unpleasant as well): I read further:
TOME ZOGRAFSKI, ZORAN DANILOVIK, BOZIDAR BODLE, KRUNI VETEROV AND OTHERS, COLLECTIVELLY CREATED THE AMATEUR FILMS: "I GIVE PEBBLE FIRST", "POTS", THREE SONGS", "MEN", TIME ROSE", "BRICK"," THE LITTLE DETECTIVE", "TOWARDS MYSELF", "ON PELISTER", "HOLIDAY", "MOZAIC OF LITTER", FILMS ABOUT THE FREE TECHNICAL ACTIVITIES, AND THE MAY-DAY PARADE IN 1960 IN SKOPJE, THE LAST COMPLETED FILM "CHAPTER TWO" AND OTHER MATERIALS…
AND MUCH MORE WRITTEN IN THIS MEMOIR OF I.EMIN, and many more memories of those our days, sad and joyful , back in that hut in the Students Dormitory in Avtokomanda, in that spacious premises stuck with posters and photographs of our work, with loud music and an action for decorating the Club, with hot talks about the already made films and about what is yet to be filmed; and the memories for the sunny day on which we filmed “Mosaic of Litter”, that crazy film about even crazier boy who can write lyrics, paint and recite Hamlet, but not study for University. Actually, it was a film about me, I myself played my part, while Sveto Velkov was behind the camera. I remind myself of “Brick” or “Tile” and for our last (Sveto's and mine) “Chapter Second”, film-comedy, about a man that seeks a public toilet in the city, which exists somewhere far away, and about the policeman that chases him for crossing on red light, and because no one knows why he (the main character) runs so fast, because he caches diarrhea while reading in the newspaper that the killer of the bank clerk is wanted, and everybody is chasing him, and at the end he breathes out as he enters the only public toilet in the city. And while he was entering the toilet, loosening his belt from earlier, the policeman, on the contrary, was tightening his belt as a mark of anger thinking that at the end he has no place to run to…We filmed this in 1961, when we met the journalist-writer I.Emin on the street, who wrote a short reportage for us in “Nova Makedonija”.
I still keep my sorrow for my unrealized film project, the one-minute film “Three Drops”, in which an old man who is sitting in the park, experiences erotic passion while watching in the dark one young lady undressing behind the window right opposite of him. But, the poor old man, as he watches this the first drop starts to extinguish-the lady, the second-his heart and the third- from the leaf above him, a little water drop lands on his dead forehead.
The Projects, due to deaths and separate paths in life, remained unrealized and there also remained the huge love for the amateur film and the Academic cinema club to which we added something as well.
Bozidar Todorovski- Bodle
That was a time when one generation in growth felt stronger and stronger the needs of deeper and wider knowledge out of the bear existence, seeking personal realization as well as people's realization.
We gathered, like-minded friends, provoking each other in joining the idea, seeking the first foundations of the development. Aco Gjurcin, through the examples of the amateurs from Belgrade, talked about their love for the film, about the same age and the big enthusiasm, Vlada Urosevik talked about the conceptualist possibilities of the generation, I (Zivko Popovski) about my decision and determination to organize the possibilities, about the wish to be helped by the Technical Assistance Association of Macedonia, about the understanding of the Managing Committee of the Students Association at the Skopje University, about our friends-film lovers.
Then, Aco Gjurcinov agreed with some friends from the Academic cinema club in Belgrade, to organize propaganda projections in Skopje by showing their selection of films. The Technical Assistance Association helped us with technology (projector), the University committee helped financially.
Arsa Milosevik arrived from Belgrade with a bag full of films. The projections were to be shown in the hall of the national University (former French club). The interest was above the expectations, we had numerous audience. Before the projections, in the introducing speech we informed about the foundation of the Cinema club, and we had admission of new members. We announced that we were starting a course for cinema amateurs which will be completed by making one collective film.
The club was organized within the frameworks of the Skopje University as an ACADEMIC CINEMA CLUB. Club's management was selected, and Zivko Popovski was elected its first president. At the same time it was registered in the Technical Assistance Association of Macedonia. In the spring of the year 1959 the first course for cinema amateurs started.
There were gathered: Sveto Velkov, Zoran Danilovik, Mile Krstik, Tome Zografski, Dragan Suplevski, Bozidar Todorovski e.t.c. Branko Perak, the famous amateur of Belgrade, was lecturer and instructor at the course. After the completion of the course, which lasted for a month of everyday activities, several scripts that were proposed by the listeners were reviewed, and there was selected the synopsis for the film “I GIVE PEBBLE FIRST” (16mm).
With the arrival of the first summer days after the preparations , we started filming at the swimming pool in Saraj. The Technical Assistance Association helped us with film-strip and camera. The members developed the film themselves in the improvised laboratory of Technical Assistance Association. The film was edited in one lobby of Aco's (Gjurcin) apartment , and pieces of the film could be seen all over the apartment. The film was ready, and the first projections- joy and stimulus. The film was rolled through the projector at public and private projections, the number of the interested was growing, and the trust in possibility of realization confirmed itself. In the meantime, the members filmed the second film "POTS" (16mm) documentary by genre.
In 1960 the Club organized second course for cinema amateurs, and as listeners once again appeared the students from the Skopje University and several high-school students.The course was also completed by making several films, with authorship treatment with respect to the script, camera, direction, as a result of which several authorship films in the Club emerged. There emerged and distinguished themselves the cinema amateurs for which the film became life occupation , and now the club gets progressive form of a school that will later be attended by:
Zoran Danilovik, Bozidar Todorovski-Bodle, Kole Malinov- all directors in TV Skopje, Aleksandar Gjurcinov, Kiril Cenevski, Zoran Mladenovik-Okan, Stevo Crvenkovski, Mile Grozdanoski- directors in Vardar-film from Skopje, and others who work on films professionally.
With the foundation of most of the University clubs, among which the Academic cinema club, a step forward has been made towards the development of the culture and art among the students at the University and among the youth in general.
The Academic cinema club from Skopje, acting in the student environment, spreads the film culture among them, having a huge influence in educating the staff necessary for the continuous working of our film and television houses.
In the course of its uninterrupted, twenty-year activity, many young people were part of the Academic cinema club, who are still working today having established reputation in the film as well as other arts in Macedonia.
In 1959 a group of young film enthusiasts founded the Academic cinema club, first amateur cinema club in Macedonia, and among the first ones in Yugoslavia. These young people, at the time students at the universities in Skopje, set this club's foundation which supports twenty years of continuous growth.
During these twenty years, many young structures were part of the Academic cinema club, but still the students were most numerous. Today, many of the Academic cinema club's former members are famous and acknowledged film and social and political workers, who give their contribution to building our socialist society: Kiril Cenevski, Aleksandar Gjurcinov, Zivko Popovski, Dragan Suplevski, Zoran Danilovik, Bozidar Todorovski-Bodle, Tihomir Bacovski, Ilindenka Petruseva, Mile Grozdanoski.
Today, the Academic cinema club numbers about 150 members, mainly students at the University, but pupils and workers as well.
The club's activity is directed mainly towards spreading the film culture among the young, not only in the city but in Macedonia as well, and also in Yugoslavia. For that purpose, every year the club organizes seminars in the field of film and film art, which are attended by up to 150 listeners at one seminar. After the seminar ends the listeners have the possibility to continue their work at the club. The lectures at these seminars are held by film workers from Vardar-film and Television Skopje. Among the more significant events organized by the Academic cinema club from Skopje is the traditional OSFAF (Common-Yugoslavian Student Festival of Amateur Film), which is of competitive character and which is attended by cinema amateurs from all over Yugoslavia, with their own projects.
The club maintains active cooperation with the other cinema clubs and social and political organizations from Skopje and the Republic, which help the club around its working and organizing festivals. During the last year the club took part in the realization of an amateur cartoon and an experimental film), in ASTROFEST (astronaut festival) and in other events.
The Academic cinema club, together with the other clubs and associations at the University and out of it, such as: The University conference of the Students' Holiday Association of Macedonia , The club for international friendship between the youth and the students, The Youth Center “25 May” and other organizations. Thus, in cooperation with the club of international friendship between the youth and the students, the Academic cinema club realizes the project “Student Film Monday”. Namely, every Monday (lately Tuesday), in the students dormitory “Goce Delcev” the Academic cinema club shows professional film projects by Yugoslavian and world authors. The overcrowded hall of this dormitory speaks of the great reception that this event had among the youth and the students. As part of the cooperation that the Academic club has with the University conference of the Students' Holiday Association of Macedonia , the club organizes seminars about film and film art in the Students' Holiday Resort in Pretor.
Within the frameworks of its regular club activity, the club's members make amateur films which are later sent to the festivals through Yugoslavia and Europe and they almost always come home with some award or recognition. These amateurs, developing themselves as complete authors, make films on subjects related to our socialist self-government society and in such way contribute to its development. The cases overloaded by plaquettes and diplomas received at various festivals of Yugoslavian amateur film are one more proof for the quality of the films. Among the more significant awards and certificates are: the fist, second and third place at the Republic's festival of animated films, cartoons and documentary films; second and third place at the federal festival of amateur film in the category of animated films; first place for experimental film at the III FJACEF; third place and special award at the same festival. Let's also mention that the film “Consumers Psychology” was proposed to take part at the UNICEF festival which is to be held in Moscow.
This year , when the University celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of its foundation, the Academic cinema club from Skopje joins in it, showing films from its own production as well as “Films about Tito”. The Academic cinema club will also film the celebration and contribute to make it memorable.
The Academic cinema club from Skopje, as an organization which serves to nurture and promote the amateur film and film in general, fully justifies its existence within the frameworks of the cultural life in the city and in the Republic.
In this jubilee year the Academic cinema club will increase even more its activities expanding the cooperation with the other clubs and cities. Apart from this, the club plans to show its films in the faculties, colleges and schools all over the Republic. This year the Academic cinema club will organize seminars at some of the projects in Macedonia, contributing to the expansion of the film culture among the youth. The Academic cinema club will take part in the “Young authors' week”, which is organized by the Republic conference of the Socialist Youth Association of Macedonia.
In order to mark all it has achieved over the last twenty years of constant growth , at the already traditional OSFAF, the Academic cinema club will organize a celebration with a festive academy and a comrade night- meeting of generations and members of the club. At this meeting guests from the social and political organizations and clubs will be invited with which the club has cooperated in the course of its work ,as well as individuals and organizations that made the biggest contributions to the existence, the working and the results of the Academic cinema club in Skopje.
At the same time with the celebration of the jubilee of the Academic cinema club, we also celebrate the jubilee of the Macedonian amateur film.
2006 Academic Cinema Club.
All rights reserved.