Watershed Media Centre is in Bristol in the south west of England. The Centre recently announced a short Albanian Film Season from 16th - 18th March. Among the films on view will be the two best known Albanian films of recent years, Slogans and Tirana Year Zero. I have the latter on a very dodgy looking DVD but have not watched it yet.
Explaining why they were running this season, Mark Cosgrove, the Head of Programme at the Centre said this:
Albanian cinema has been largely under-represented in the West, but over the past five years the stories, directing and cinematography coming out of this country has become stronger and stronger and should be seen by a wider audience.
Tirana suffers from a shortage of good venues for showing films. The local Millenium (this is how they spell it) cinema shows the usual range of western - mostly American - movies. The Black Box Theatre at the Academy of Arts shows more interesting films but obviously Albanian films in Albania don't need subtitles.
Despite this there is a very strong commitment to film and film-making here. In October the twelfth Albanian Film Festival took place, followed in December by the fourth Tirana International Film Festival. The government and the Tirana municipality are also trying to encourage and support the local film industry through the Albanian Film Commission and the National Film Centre. The latter in particular offers some financial support to younger film-makers and directors. So in the future it is possible we will see more Albanian films getting a wider distribution.
There is a good article on the Albanian film industry, even if a little dated now, on the website of a defunct journal called Kinoeye.
On the other hand, The Slogans is worth a couple of hours.
Check out the guy that wrote the book (and the movie); Ylljet Alickaj or such. His last book is about the "Internationals" in Albania.
Thank you for your time in Kamez. Please forgive the cheek some Albanians give you on their comments.
I'm surprised the film was so bad since it seemed to do so well in the festivals. Maybe it was the novelty factor. I'll watch it anyway.
I have seen Slogans for sale but I'm guessing there are no subtitles. Is the book available in English?
Great post as always!
On the other hand, the Albanian public is so thirsty for an Albanian movie that we encourage every little step.
Seriously, since communism I haven't seen a decent Albanian movie. I miss them!
The dialogues were poor and they swear too much. Albanians think that swearing is modern and cool, but in reality we don't even use 1/10 of those words in everyday life.