Macedonians Await Oscars Verdict On Beekeeping Epic ‘Honeyland’

Two million proud Macedonians will be holding their collective breath overnight on February 9-10 as the makers of a honey-drenched tale of tradition clashing with modernity make Oscars history with their unprecedented dual nomination.

The film Honeyland and its creators from North Macedonia have already won 30 international awards — including three of the honors at last year’s prestigious Sundance Film Festival in the United States.

But no film had ever been nominated for best film in both the Documentary Feature and International Feature categories until Honeyland emerged on this year’s shortlists from the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The winners will be announced in Hollywood’s most highly anticipated event, the Oscar ceremonies, broadcast from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 9.

Filmmakers Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov reportedly were working on a conservation project when they met Hatidze Muratova, the unlikely Turkish-Macedonian traditional beekeeper at the center of the history-making documentary, in a remote region of their Balkan homeland.

Twenty-five-year-old Kotevska told RFE/RL’s Balkan Service that the environmental project, Honeyland, morphed into a powerful story of survival and nature.

Honeyland producer Atanas Georgiev told AFP this week that Muratova was mobbed by adoring selfie hunters when she showed up for a dress fitting in North Macedonia’s capital, Skopje, before leaving for Hollywood and the Oscars ceremony.

“People love her. She has become a star,” Georgiev said, according to AFP. “We have no option but to cope with it somehow.”

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Balkan Service and AFP
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