BELGRADE: Macedonian helmer Vladimir Blaževski is in production with The Year of the Monkey, a “soft” political satire about a peculiar friendship between a lonesome chimpanzee and a zoo warden.
Koko, a chimpanzee escaped from the zoo, becomes a rebellious hero in the cheerless environment of the Balkans. Meanwhile, Cobe, the zoo warden, gets fired because of the economic crisis but receives a promise from the director: if he manages to bring the fugitive back, he can get his job back.
The main characters are played by Igor Angelov, Koko the monkey and the Croatian thespian Marija Kohn.
Darko Popov, who has already worked with Blaževski on his successful Punk’s Not Dead (2011), is producing through Macedonia’s Pank Film Production, in coproduction with Serbia’s Kiselo Dete, Kosovo’s Ikone Studio and Slovenia’s Strup Produkcija. Eurimages, the SEE Cinema Network, the Macedonian Film Agency, Film Center Serbia, the Kosovo Film Centre and the Slovenian Film Centre are supporting. The project participated in the 2013 Arcs 1950 Co-production Village, the 2012 Connecting Cottbus, the 2014 Venice Gap-Financing Co-production Market and Mini Eave Macedonia.
“Taking into account that almost all countries of this region share a similar past, a similar social system and a similar sense of humor, the decision to try and coproduce with these countries came more or less naturally,” Popov stated.
The budget is 1.4 m. Serbia has been attached since the very beginning when Film Center Serbia gave the project a minority coproduction grant of 44,584 EUR/5.5 m RSD. “We have been waiting for the financial construction to come together since 2013 and it has finally happened”, Serbian coproducer Mina Đukić told FNE. According to Đukić the greatest challenge was to find the most convincing solution for the role of the monkey.
Shooting started on 8 June 2016 and is set to wrap on 10 August 2016. All the 52 days will be spent on location in Macedonia, mainly in Skopje, Bitola, Debar and the environs of Gostivar.
The premiere is not yet settled. Oktobar Film will handle the distribution for Ex-Yugoslavia. RTV Vojvodina has partly bought the TV rights.
Credits:Director: Vladimir BlaževskiScriptwriter: Vladimir BlaževskiDoP: Dimo PopovCast: Igor Angelov, Koko, Marija Kohn