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Hopes Of North Macedonia's Honeyland Dashed At Oscars, Still Makes Country Proud

Macedonian directors Tamara Kotevska (left) and Ljubo Stefanov in Los Angeles during Oscars week.

Honeyland, a Macedonian film that tells a powerful story of survival and nature, has missed out on two Oscar awards for which it was nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in California.

It first lost in the documentary feature category to American Factory, the first movie released by Barack and Michelle Obama's studio company.

Produced by Netflix, the film is about an Ohio auto-glass factory that is run by a Chinese investor and explores such issues as, workers' rights, globalization, and automation.

Honeyland and its creators from North Macedonia -- Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov -- came to the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles riding high on the back of 30 international awards, including three of the honors at last year's prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

Double Oscar Buzz: Honeyland's Bittersweet Balkan Story
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Its subject, Hatidze Muratova, an unlikely Turkish-Macedonian traditional beekeeper, was also in attendance following a much-publicized dress-fitting in her country's capital, Skopje.

Later in the evening, the movie lost out to Parasite in the international film category.

It's a social satire directed by South Korea's Bong Joon-ho, whose film was perceived as the front-runner in the category and also won the award for best picture.

Still, Honeyland remains the first film to have been nominated for both the documentary and international feature-length film categories.

That achievement alone raised the movie-making profile of North Macedonia in the eyes of Metodija Koloski, president of the United Macedonian Diaspora organization in Washington.

"Macedonia has a century-old filmmaking culture" and its dual nominations are "an example of that and only strengthens that heritage and spreads understanding of the huge potential of Macedonian cinematography," Koloski told RFE/RL in a text message after the awards ceremony.

He called the beekeeper's message in the film "global," saying it emphasized the "need to give back to the environment and nurture it and take care of it -- she is a winner in my heart and so many others," he said.

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