• Festivals

MIFF Young Australian Filmmakers: Goran Stolveski, “You Won’t Be Alone” and “Of an Age”

At a special Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) media event highlighting the next generation of talented Melbourne filmmakers – Thomas Wright (The Stranger), Alena Lodkina (Petrol) and Goran Stolveski (Of an Age & You Won’t Be Alone) – we heard from the three trailblazers about their new buzz-worthy films and how they fit into the Australian film landscape today.

Goran Stolveski: Of an Age and You Won’t Be Alone


Australian-Macedonian filmmaker Goran Stolveski had his second and third films both opening at MIFF (Melbourne International Film Festival): You Won’t Be Alone, a horror film starring Noomi Rapace, and Of an Age, a wistful queer romance set in ‘90s Melbourne and picked up by Focus Features.

How did you get your break?

I was just unemployed for a very long time before anyone started answering my emails. And by the time they did, I had a catalog of scripts. I also made 25 short films and one of them won a prize at Sundance in 2018. After that, I became a viable director to consider giving a future to and, as soon as everyone was happy with the first film, I said ‘please let’s get the second one ready because I don’t know how long this opportunity is going to last.’ Now I’ve just shot my third film, so I feel very lucky.

How did the idea for making a film based on a Macedonian folk tale come about?

I read that folk tale about five or six years ago before Sundance. I was living in England and my husband was doing his post-doctoral work over there and I lived in Bristol. I knew nobody for two years and had to fill my time somehow and be productive so I wrote a lot of scripts, and that was one of them. Rather than trying to think strategically, I just wrote for what I felt like watching for myself really. When I wrote You Won’t Be Alone, I definitely didn’t think it could be made because it’s foreign language, its genre and it has VFX and prosthetics.


How was shooting in Serbia?

There was a lot of Serbian cast and crew. There’s a part of Macedonia and Serbia and Australia in this film and financially, UK and USA as well. It was beautiful, especially because we were shooting at the peak of one of the COVID lockdowns and I felt extremely privileged to be able to fly out to this beautiful, hidden, obscure mountain region of Serbia and have a cast and crew relatively isolated from the rest of the world. We were out in the open mountains every day, creating something that I felt very personally attached to that I never thought would exist.

How personal was your film, Of an Age?

When I grew up, between the ages of 12 and 18, I felt very absent from my life, mentally and emotionally. I was a massive film nerd, so to me, everything that was important happened at the movies. For life to have any value, it had to be cinematic life and where I lived – suburban Melbourne – felt like the least cinematic place in the world. So, when I sat down to write the film, it was just to sort of figure out a way to make what to me was the least romantic place in the world somehow feel romantic and make that part of my life feel cinematic.


So, the gay character wasn’t based on you?

I think I wanted to be as specific to the day-to-day of what was shaping my time, and it’s a very Melbourne setting, but I also wanted the feelings to transcend that. So yes, the character is a migrant and he’s gay like me, but I don’t think there’s a contradiction in terms of a universal love story and one with a gay migrant. I think my feelings are just as universal as a straight white dude or anyone else really.