BALKAN NETWORK GROUP
North Macedonia Film Agency
Bojan Lazarevski, Director
Mr. Lazarevski has a more than a decade long experience in financing, having worked as a sales officer, collection and report constructing officer, third channel sales manager and analyst of financial reports and sales relationship manager at Stopanska Banka A.D. Skopje.
He was a former partner’s sales manager at IuteCredit Macedonia and has been a member of the North Macedonia Film Agency Board of Governors since 2018.
Following his appointment to the position of Acting Director of the North Macedonia Film Agency in 2020, Mr. Lazarevski plans to ensure continuation in the support of the Agency’s activities as well as to undertake further activities aimed at developing and supporting creative, fresh and original projects.
Veronika Buchkovska, Younger Associate for Film Industry and Contact Person for International Cooperation
Studied at the Faculty of Philology in Skopje – English major. She is part of the Film Industry Department at the North Macedonia Film Agency since 2011. Has been in charge of promotion of national film production both nationally and internationally and monitoring film festival realization. Has experience of organizing events of various formats, ranging from one-day training sessions to international conferences and festivals.
Slovenian Film Center
Nika Gričar, Head of Film Development
Nika Gričar graduated in cultural studies with a master’s degree in political science. She has been collaborating with the Slovenian Film Center (SFC) for the past six years, where she was Head for the development of film culture (2019-2020), and since December 2021 she works as the Head of the development of film projects and minority co-productions. In cooperation with the SFC, she published two studies on gender equality in the national film program; was the editor of the special edition on Slovenian cinematography on the 30th anniversary of independent Slovenia and was coordinating the industry program of the Slovenian Film Festival. Before that, she worked with film festivals, film educational organizations and production companies as a production assistant and organizer of film distribution. She assisted Dr. Vesna Čopič in the design of the law on the status of artists in Mauritius within the framework of UNESCO. In collaboration with Kinodvor, she prepared a chronology and research on the 90-year history of the cinema at Kolodvorska 13, today’s city cinema Kinodvor. She is European Graduate in Documentary Production through EURODOC international program (2019).
Croatian Audiovisual Center
Christopher Peter Marcich, Chief Executive
Chris was appointed CEO of the Croatian Audiovisual Center (HAVC) on 1 May 2019.
He has been President of the Board of AGICOA, the association of audiovisual producers and their collective rights management groups since 2013.
Upon deciding to divide his time between Brussels and Croatia for personal reasons, Chris was appointed President for International at the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in January 2015 to assist with a transition within the MPA. He was responsible for coordination of the MPA’s international offices (EMEA, Asia-Pacific, Canada, Brazil & Mexico).
Chris joined the MPA in 1995. From 1995 through 2014 he served as President in charge of MPA’s regional office for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The office’s principal areas of activity include work on legislative and regulatory issues related to the media sector at the European and national levels.
Prior to joining the MPA Chris spent sixteen years working in the U.S. Government on international trade issues as a negotiator and shaping U.S. trade policy. When he left the Government in 1995, he was the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Europe, responsible for trade relations with the region. Prior to that, Chris was appointed to the newly created position of Assistant US Trade Representative for Trade and Environment, pioneering efforts to integrate health and environmental principles with those of international commerce.
Chris holds Croatian and U.S. citizenships, holds a Master’s degree from Georgetown University, and speaks English, Croatian and French and has working knowledge of Italian and Spanish.
Morana Ikic Komijenovic, Little Red Dot, CEO representative of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC)
Producer, storyteller, and audio-visual expert with 20+ years of professional experience. Prior to embarking on her own venture through Little Red Dot, she led one of the most successful documentary productions in Croatia, Fade In, and gained international experience as a co-producer, mentor, acquisition manager, and decision-maker at Taskovski Films. She currently holds different positions and engagements. She frequently works with the Creative Europe Desk (MEDIA Office) and Euroimage and is a member of the EAVE expert network. Until recently, she was the artistic advisor for documentary films (Croatian Audiovisual Centre) and head producer of the production department at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb. She is an active member of the Managing Board of the Filmmakers Association of Croatia. With a passionate approach to sustainable film production and sustainability in the creative industry in general, Morana is a proud carrier of both ALBERT certification trainee program and GREEN FILM program and an advocate of sustainability, inclusion, and diversity.
Greek Film Center
Athena Kartalou, Director
Mrs Athena Kartalou took office as the new managing director of the Greek Film Centre in October 2021. Athena has studied philology with specialization in linguistics at the University of Athens, Greece; she h a master’s degree in Communications from the University of Leeds, UK; and she holds a PhD in Communication, Media and Culture from Panteion University, Athens with specialization in Greek film. Previously, she has been an advisor in communication and project management for cultural projects with an emphasis on those belonging to the film and audiovisual domain. Athena used to have extensive and in-depth collaborations with the main national organizations such as the Greek Film Centre, Media Desk Hellas and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. She has also been appointed to high positions in the management of international mega projects and events in other cultural domains, such as book fairs, exhibitions, publications, and in the field of sports, in Greece and E.U., but also in Qatar and generally in the MENA. She has been organizing training programmes for professionals of the above-mentioned domains, and has undertaken the role of creative coach in one-to-one collaborations. Athena has also taught at the university subject matters related mainly to Greek film. Her academic interests, which have been also in the core of her publicized work in the Press, are focusing on film -of Greek and international origin-, television and overall communications and pop culture.
Kosovo CInematography Center
Blerta Zeqiri, Director
Blerta Zeqiri is a highly esteemed Kosovar director with over two decades of experience in the film industry. She is a member of the prestigious European Film Academy since 2012 and has been honored as a “Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature” by the French government. Throughout her career, Blerta’s films have received acclaim at more than 200 film festivals worldwide, earning her over 30 esteemed awards.
Notably, her groundbreaking short film, KTHIMI, made history as the first Kosovar film to be accepted into the renowned Sundance Film Festival in 2012. It received the festival’s top prize. Blerta is also credited as the pioneer behind Kosovo’s first film focused on LGBT rights. Her film, MARTESA, has garnered positive reviews from international media and enjoyed great success with audiences in Kosovo.
In 2023, Blerta was appointed as the Director of the Kosovar Cinematography Center for a four-year term. Her exceptional talent, extensive industry experience, and creative vision make her an invaluable asset to the cinematic landscape of Kosovo and beyond.
National Film Center Bulgaria
Gergana Dakovska, National Representative of Eurimages
Graduated in Film Critics at the National Theater and Film Academy. Assistant Director in Boyana Film Studios to leading Bulgarian directors as Rangel Valchanov, Zako Heskia, Nikola Rudarov and others. Script editor in Interfilm Studio – author and script editor of more than 50 documentary films. Editor and author in “7 plus” press group. Deputy editor in chief of the magazine “Sacrament”. General manager/owner (together with SBS Scandinavian Broadcasting System) of TV2, one of the 4 national terrestrial broadcasting programs. Head of International Relations at the National Council for Radio and Television. Chief expert responsible for co-productions (1996 – until now) at the Bulgarian Natioanl Film Center. Bulgarian National Representative in the Board of Eurimages Fund at the Council of Europe (1999 – until now). Member of the Executive Committee of SEE CN. Member of the Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers (2004-2007 member of the Managing Board; Vice Chairman of the Guild of Scriptwriters). Member of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists. Member of Selection Committees: Bulgarian National Television, Sofia Film Fest, Media Program.
Film Centre of Montenegro
Marija Nikčević was born in Nikšić. After graduating from the Faculty of Law in Podgorica, she acquired the academic title of TV producer at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Cetinje (UCG). She also graduated from master studies of Production at the same faculty. Marija is producer of several short feature films as well as the feature film “Iskra” (d. Gojko Berkuljan), which was the Montenegrin candidate for the Oscar Award in category for best foreign film in 2018. She is editor of several publications in the field of culture. Marija worked on numerous film, theater and other cultural projects, as coordinator or manager: International Festival KotorArt, Kotor Festival of Theater for Children, International TV Festival Bar, Light Residence Workshop – ArTVision, Cultural Development Support Program in Niksic, IPA CBC CIRCE Project, Agro Design, International Festival of Actor Nikšić, etc. She is currently employed at the Film Center of Montenegro as an advisor for international cooperation and promotion.
Film Center Moldova
Valentina Iusuphodjaev, Director
The National Film Center of Moldova, founded in 2016, is a State institution under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Moldova, a government-backed strategic agency for the cinema sector. The main functions of the Center are to implement the Cinema Industry Law, finance film production, support the distribution and exhibition of films, manage the promotion of Moldovan films within the country and abroad, stimulate the development of film culture, provide professional training for filmmakers, and maintain the National Film Archive.