Heading for Cannes

Another York University student is celebrating a milestone in her budding career as a filmmaker. Suzana Dinevski, a second-year student in the MFA Program in Film & Video, won the Kodak Imaging Award for best new director at the 35th Canadian Student Film Festival last week for her thesis project The Children of 1948.

Left and below: Images from The Children of 1948

Her prize – worth $5,000 – is a 10-day trip to the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, comprising airfare, accommodation, meals and screening of her film at the Kodak Emerging Filmmakers Showcase.

“It’s a great honour and experience for an emerging filmmaker to win top prize. The recognition is fabulous, as well as encouraging,” said an elated Dinevski.

Set in the southern part of the Balkans, The Children of 1948 portrays testimonials from some of the 28,000 child refugees who were evacuated from their homes in northern Greece during the Greek Civil War (1948-49).

“These stories depict the day-by-day stages of the evacuation and the child refugees’ internal struggle and pain as they come to terms with the separation of growing up in countries far away from their families and homes,” Dinevski said. “These dramatic narratives are simply told as a child would remember them.”

Dinevski ‘s family origins are the inspiration for her compelling film. “My parents come from the region of Lake Prespa, near the Greek-Macedonian border. Two thirds of the lake belongs to the Republic of Macedonia, while Greece and Albania share the remaining third. At the natural border with Greece, there is a steel ramp marking the border which, as long as I can remember, has never been lifted. Yet, this same border crossing was used to channel children out of the war zone during the Greek civil war.”

Left: Suzana Dinevski

Dinevski was struck by the tragedy experienced by the children. “I just knew that an event with such a personal note and universal message deserved to be documented for the world to see and think about.”

The Children of 1948 was chosen for the Kodak Imaging Award by a jury of film professionals: producer Germaine Ying Gee Wong; Atahualpa Lichy, director, producer and teacher of cinema; and Chris Robinson, critic, historian, curator and artistic director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.

The Canadian Student Film Festival is part of the Montreal World Film Festival, which is renowned for its cultural diversity, presenting cinematic fare from around the globe. This year, the festival, which ran Aug. 26 to Sept. 6, showed some 400 films from more than 70 countries.

Dinevski follows in the footsteps of York University alumna Wendi Marchioni (BFA 2004) who won the Kodak Imaging Award at the 34th Canadian Student Film Festival last fall for her film project Winter Days.

For more information about the Student Film Festival, visit the Montreal World Film Festival Web site.

The Children of 1948 production credits:

  • Producers: Suzana Dinevski & Bonnie Dinevski
  • Director: Suzana Dinevski
  • Script: Suzana Dinevski
  • Photography: Suzana Dinevski
  • Production Design: Milica Lubarovska
  • Additional Photography: Nenad Jovanovic (MFA 2003) & Marcos Arriaga
  • Sound Recordists: Davor Jordanovski & Suzana Dinevski
  • Location Manager: Vasil Aga
  • Editor: Suzana Dinevski
  • Music: Project Zlust
  • Additional Music/Sound Design: Davor Jordanovski
  • Translation: Tanja Dinevska

This story was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena, communications, Faculty of Fine Arts.