During the ‘90s he attended the Sufi Dervish brotherhood in Skopje. He learnt the local languages and became close to the groups practicing extremely violent Islamic yoga rituals. Dan Alexe is the author of the documentary film Howling for God, winner of the Prize of the International Film Critics at IDFA in Amsterdam (1998) and of the Prize of the French Ministry of Culture at the Festival of Ethnographic Film in Paris (1999).  

Howling for God by Dan Alexe - CINEPUB

Director: Dan Alexe
Year: 1997
Category: documentary
Duration: 63 min
Subtitle: romanian

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Macedonia after the fall of Yugoslavia, an underground and unsuspected Macedonia: the one of the mystical Sufi Muslim brotherhoods using collective rituals and archaic technics of spiritual glimpses. These Dervishes practice a form of Islamic violent yoga, its members piercing their body and face with swords, knifes and nails, without losing blood and without provoking themselves any kind of physical pain. The film presents with humor the conflict between two sheiks fighting for the supremacy of the brotherhood.

“Being part of that brotherhood and discovering the rivalry between the two sheiks, I, the atheist, had the vision upon the sacral found in the daily life. Because I asked myself – how can these people, having such an authentic and active believe, be in their daily life such detestable human beings?” (Dan Alexe).


  • FIPRESCI Award / Prize of the International Film Critics, IDFA, Amsterdam – Netherlands, 1998
  • First Prize, “Traces de Vies” Documentary Festival, Clermont-Ferrand – France, 1998
  • First Prize of the French Ministry of Culture, Festival of the Ethnographic Film, organized by the Musée de l’Homme in Paris – France, 1999
  • Annual Prize of the French-Belgian Society of the Authors (SCAM) for entire activity – 2000