Manca Filak was born in Novo mesto (1991). She completed postgraduate studies at the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Ljubljana. For her master's thesis Skopje 2014 Project: The influence of city renovation on the identity of the city, social memory and national consciousness of the inhabitants she received the Prešeren prize. The field work for the thesis was part of a one-year study exchange and scholarship Basileus Mundus in Skopje. After graduation she received an Erasmus+ grant for a three-month study exchange at the Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAN), during which she filmed tobacco production in the village of Debren in SW Bulgaria.
Since 2012 she has been working in the field of visual anthropology as an author of ethnographic films and documentaries, which are shown at various film festivals in Europe and abroad. For her first ethnographic film I will carry you to the seaside (2012) she received a second prize, the silver horseshoe at Asterfest International Film Festival in Strumica (MK, 2013). The film is also part of the permanent exhibition I, we and others: Images of my world in the Slovene Ethnographic museum (Ljubljana). For the ethnographic film Zvonko and Ivanka (2015, co-author Žiga Gorišek) she received a special mention at the International Film Festival Etnofilm in Rovinj (CRO, 2016). The documentary Young Hopefuls (2016, co-author Žiga Gorišek) won the first prize for the best film of the festival (both from the jury and the audience) at the Jamnarkult Film Festival (SI, 2018). The ethnographic film Lukomir, my home (2018; co-author Žiga Gorišek) received the Manfred Kruger Student Award at the Göttingen International Ethnographic Film Festival (GER, 2020).
With the help of the camera she created many interesting portraits of people, depicted beautiful landscapes and various events both at home as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Bulgaria. As a young researcher, she enhances her previous experiences by theoretical insights into epistemological and methodological questions of visual anthropology. As a part of Audiovisual Laboratory, she participates in the organization of international film festival Days of ethnographic film and is active as a film mentor at the Summer School of Visual Ethnography in Ljubljana.
2019 ‘A long term visual ethnography in a Bosnian village: Tracking epistemological and methodological issues.’ EthnoAnthropoZoom 16 (16), 51–303.
2019 ‘On the fields of tobacco: changing perspectives and expanding methodologies through visual ethnography.’ Entanglements: experiments in multimodal ethnography 2(2): 101-110.
2018 ‘Makedonska kulturna dediščina kot predmet politične manipulacije skozi prizmo arhitekturno-političnega projekta Skopje 2014.’ Etnolog 28: 141–158.
Selected filmography of ethnographic and documentary films:
Odnesel te bom na morje / I will carry you to the seaside (2012): Days of Ethnographic Film Ljubljana (SI, 2013), Asterfest International Film Festival Strumica (MK, 2013) - Second prize SILVER horseshoe; part of permanent exhibition I, we and others: Images of my world in Slovene Ethnographic museum (Ljubljana).
Kapitan in njegov Petek / Captain and His Friday (2013): Days of Ethnographic Film Ljubljana (SI, 2014), Festival of Ethnological Film Belgrade (SRB, 2014), Etnographic Film Festival Kratovo (MK, 2013).
Zvonko in Ivanka / Zvonko and Ivanka (2015): Etnofilm Festival Rovinj (HR, 2016) – SPECIAL MENTION, Festival of Ethnological Film Belgrade (SRB, 2016), Etnographic Film Festival Kratovo (MK, 2016), Days of Ethnographic Film Ljubljana (SI, 2017).
MLADA NADA / Young Hopefuls (2016): Grossman Fantastic Film and Wine Festival Ljutomer (SI, 2016), DOKUDOC International Documentary Film Festival Maribor (SI, 2016), Festival of independent film Ljubljana (SI, 2016), DORF Documentary festival of rock film (CRO, 2017), Jamnarkult Motavun (SI, 2018) – NAJBOLJŠI FILM FESTIVALA (NAGRADA ŽIRIJE IN PUBLIKE).
Заграбване на земята / Land Grabbing (2017): Sjón International Film Festival Copenhagen (Denmark, 2018), International conference ORGANIC FARMING IN BULGARIA: MORE INNOVATIONS FOR BETTER RESULTS (Bulgaria, 2018), Sofia Biting Docs (Bulgaria, 2019).
Lukomir moj dom / Lukomir, my home (2018): Days of Ethnographic Film Ljubljana (SI, 2018), SEFF International Ethnographic Film Festival (CRO, 2018), NAFA Nordic Anthropological Film Association (ROM, 2018), Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival (USA, 2018), European Association of Social Anthropologists (Biennial Conference: Staying, Moving, Settling) (SWE, 2018), International festival of ethnological film (SRB, 2018), Kratovo ethnographic film festival (MK, 2018), Festival Gorniškega filma (SI, 2019), World Film Festival (EST, 2019), International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF): Track Changes: Reflecting on a Transforming World (ES, 2019), 7th Congress of the Portuguese Anthropological Association (APA) (PORT, 2019); ETNOFF (MK, 2019), Kathmandu Mountain Film Festival (NEPAL, 2019), GIEFF (GER, 2020) - MANFRED KRUGER STUDENT AWARD.
Tobacco memories (2020): Visual ethnography was part of Erasmus+ Traineeship program at Center for intangible cultural heritage at Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAN) in Sofia.