Making Films About Outsiders, Increasingly in the Mainstream

Periods of personal crisis have often yielded writing sprees for Goran Stolevski,a Macedonian filmmaker who has made three critically acclaimed features in three years.

Although his recent spate of theatrical releases — all by Focus Features — could make it seem as if success has been quick to come by for the filmmaker, it has been proceeded by long seasons of debilitating professional uncertainty.

Right after turning 30, Stolevski wrote four feature screenplays in a nine-month period he spent living in Bristol, England. Writing gave shape to his days as an unemployed artist who couldn’t get any of his projects off the ground. Two of those screenplays became his recent features “You Won’t Be Alone” and “Housekeeping for Beginners.”

Then, after his 2017 short film “Would You Look at Her” won a prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Stolevski was out of work for another two years, and wrote four more screenplays.

Stolevski, now 38, had written at least 10 scripts before making his 2022 feature debut, “You Won’t Be Alone.” An evocative tale about a shape-shifting witch in a 19th-century Macedonian village, it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. His sophomore effort, the 1990s-set Australian gay romance “Of an Age,” opened in U.S. cinemas in early 2023.

“I wouldn’t make every film I’ve written, but there are some I’m obsessed with; they need to exist outside of my head,” he said in a video call in January from this year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival where his third feature, “Housekeeping for Beginners,” screened.

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