The brothers Ianachia (Avdella, 1878 – Thessaloniki, 1954) and Milton Manachia (Avdella, 1882 – Bitola, 1964) were pioneering photographers and filmmakers in the Balkans. In 1905 they filmed the first motion pictures in the Balkans in Ottoman Monastir (modern Bitola, FYROM). In honor of their work, the International Cinematographers' Film Festival "Manaki Brothers" is held every year in Bitola, the city where they were most famous . In total, they took over 17,300 photographs in 120 localities.
The brothers' native Aromanian names are Ianaki and Milto Manaki or Manakia. They are also refer to using the Slavic (Јанаки and Милтон Манаки) and Greek (Γιαννάκης and Μιλτιάδης Μανάκιας) variants of their names. Collectively they are called "the Manaki brothers" or less commonly "the Manakis brothers".
Ianaki and Milto Manakia were born in 1878 and 1882 in the small Aromanian village of Avdella (modern Αβδέλλα, Greece), in the Ottoman vilayet of Monastir.
In 1905, they purchased a Bioscope camera in London and used it to capture a variety of subjects: their 114 year old grandmother spinning wool in Avdela; visits by government officials to Monastir, including Sultan Mehmed V (1911), King Peter and Prince Alexander of Serbia (1913), and King Constantine and Prince Paul of Greece (1918); local festivals and weddings; and revolutionary activities. They opened the first cinema in Bitola, first open-air (1921), then covered (1923). Their archive of film footage was deposited in the State Archive of the People's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1955, and transferred to the Cinémathèque of the Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Macedonia in 1976. The annual Manaki Brothers International Film Camera Festival, commemorating them, is held in Bitola. The plot of Theo Angelopoulos's film Ulysses' Gaze revolves around the fictional and metaphoric quest for a lost, undeveloped reel of film taken by the Manakis brothers before the Balkans were split by the forces of nationalism. It opens with the images of their grandmother spinning wool.
1918 - Welcoming of the Greek King and Heir to the Throne Paul by General Bojovic, in Bitola
1911 - The Funeral of the Metropolitan Aimilianos of Gravena
1911 - Welcoming of Sultan Mehmed V Reshad, in Bitola
1908 - Greeting of Second Constitutional Era, in Bitola
1905 - Spinning Women (Avdela)
Total length of the clips filmed by the Manakis is about one and half hour.
Exarchos, Giorgis. Αδελφοί Μανάκια: πρωτοπόροι του κινηματογράφου στα Βαλκάνια και το "Βλαχικόν ζήτημα" (The Brothers Manakia: Pioneers of the Cinema in the Balkans and the "Vlach Question"). Athens: Gavriilidis, 1991.
Igor Stardelov. "Preservation of Manaki Brothers Film Heritage". Journal of Film Preservation, April 1997, 26:54:27-30.
Biography from the Film Festival
Manaki Brothers Film Festival Official Website
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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