CULT SHORTS starts its physical journey in Delchevo, a small town in the eastern mountainous part of North Macedonia. This is a typical, middle of nowhere little town where nothing ever happens and that is exactly what makes it charming. The locals here all know each other and on sunny afternoons enjoy taking long walks along the river, nibble sunflower seeds while sniffing around for some fresh gossip. Walks like these used to lead to the cinema in the old days, but the theater, even though newly renovated and in excellent condition, opens only occasionally once in a few years.
Most of the locals here are at least part-time farmers which mean, there is plenty of amazing, fresh food to be found. The local landscape and climate are especially favorable for the cultivation of plums, and as a result, there are mouth-watering local sweets made with this fruit. Perhaps more importantly, every household here brews their own plum “rakia” and “mastika” which is consumed pretty much on any occasion.
Even though the town is far from a large body of water, trout and carp are raised in nurseries built on clean mountain streams and are often on restaurant menus. Grilled meats are popular throughout the Balkans, but small towns like Delchevo pride themselves with the most authentic, rich, and flavorful “kebab”, “pleskavica” and homemade sausages. The villages in the mountains produce excellent sheep and goat feta cheese and one popular local variety is feta with green peppers. Food is a huge part of the culture of any Macedonian small town, as well as the wholehearted hospitality, which gives us the amazing opportunity to treat our filmmaker guests like kings and queens during the duration of the festival.
Although tiny, Delchevo is not completely devoid of nightlife, as there are a couple of charming cafes and bars where the locals, especially the younger generations sip cappuccinos during the day and cocktails in the evening. CULT SHORT will open with a party by the relaxing view of the swimming pool of “Sunrise Hotel and Spa” where we will also accommodate our guests.
Delchevo, which up until the ’50s was called “Tsarevo Selo (King’s village), has unfortunately very little preserved traditional architecture, but for those curious about Yugoslav Brutalist architecture, there is the “Home of Culture”, a massive spaceship construction in the very center of the town, which will also host some of our festival events.
There is some wonderful scenery around Delchevo, as the town is situated between Osogovo mountain range to the north and Maleshevo mountains to the south, and we will take our more adventurous guests for a day hike to a nearby natural phenomenon geologically known as “hoodoo”, while the locals call it “Kukulye”.
Our guest filmmakers will have a great time discovering Delchevo and its surroundings but what is arguably more important is that the locals in this culturally isolated Macedonian town, especially the younger generations will be able to experience authentic short cinema from around the world and open their horizons on the colorfulness of the world as well as the complexity of its problems. This is part of our mission to communicate great ideas through entertaining and authentic short cinema and well, our hope to bring the world in the middle of nowhere and hopefully it will also inspire our filmmaker guests.
The detailed program of the festival with screenings, events, and a special guest masterclass will be published on the website in time. As we all hope that by September 2021 the pandemic will be greatly under control and we will be able to proceed with our lives and planned events as in life before Covid-19, we are aware that we might be forced to move the event or adapt it to the current situation.