Queer Film Days in Albania

Between 18-22 September 2019 a new film event happened in Tirana, Albania. Entitled “Queer Film Days” (QFD), the program consists of a number of films and events which highlight topics that refuse to be invisible and tell stories that “create a new cultural space”.

QFD has been organised by Open Mind Spectrum Albania (OMSA), headed by Arber Kodra, and in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tirana, the EU delegation, Stitching Art.1 and the International Human Rights Film Festival Albania (IHRFFA).

The events are also a part of the Youth Activists for Change (YAC) project which is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. YAC aims to empower filmmakers, storytellers, artists, and activists in creating art and performances focused on human rights/LGBTIQ+ rights and gender equality.

The festival opened on 18 September with a second showing of the award-winning exhibition ‘Culture of Humiliation’ by Macedonian artist and human rights activist Antonij Karadzoski. Through his artwork, he aims to break down stereotypes and raise awareness of important human rights issues such as bullying in the LGBTI community. The event kicked off at Europe House.

A number of films were shown over the days of the event, the first of which is ‘I Am Sofia’. This film was screened 19 September at Kinema Millenium and a Q&A with the director took place afterwards.

On the 20 September, there was a screening of a film called ‘Until Porn Do Us Part’ at the Academy of Film & Multimedia. The protagonist of the film, Sydney Riviera was also in the attendance and he was answering questions from the audience after the screening.

On 21 September it was a matinee of films ‘Scar Tissue’, ‘High Tide’, and ‘Up Close and Personal’ which was shown at Europe House.In attendance were Dutch LGBT police officers Marja Lust and Abdel Late, and a Q&A will take place.

The last day of event 22 September took the shape of a presentation of the final results of the filmmaking training undertaken by Youth Artists for Change Project including individuals from both Albania and Kosovo.

ERA – Seven Grants awarded for LGBTQ+ Arts Projects

ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey in cooperation with member organizations - Da Se Zna! and Come Out, as well as with Stichting Art 1 from the Netherlands, within the project “Youth Artivists for Change” awarded seven grants for LGBTI Arts projects.

ERA awarded seven grants to the young LGBTI people from Serbia, whom are expressing their activism through specific activities, as well as through the LGBTI arts and culture project and initiatives. All awarded projects are related to the film production, podcasts, storytelling, theater performance, DRAG culture and other art forms that candidates founded interesting and relevant.

Apart from distributing seven grants for LGBTI Arts projects, ERA will provide awarded grantees with a safe working space (IdeaLab in Belgrade and in Novi Sad) which is equipped for audio and video recording, as well as for montage and editing programmes and tools. Beside equipment all awarded grantees will be provided with mentoring during the preparation and implementation process of the projects.

The project “Youth Artivists for Change” is a creative alliance of five countries, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, the Netherlands and Serbia, and targets young people, aged 15-24, in the fields of film-making, storytelling, podcasting, youth advocacy, theatre and art in general. The alliance gathers 17 organisations and networks working in the fields of arts, culture, human/LGBTI rights, gender equality and youth work. The project, is an idea of Dutch organisation Stichting Art 1 and is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The implementing organisations for Serbia are ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey, Da Se Zna and Come Out. ERA’s member organisations CEL KosovoLGBTI Support Center MacedoniaSubversive Front MacedoniaWomen's Alliance in Macedonia and Open Mind Spectrum Albania are also partners for this project in the other three countries.