Upcoming: Queer Film Days in Prishtina and Filmmaking Workshop

Prishtina International Film Festival, the most known film festival in Kosovo, is taking place between the 16th and the 21st of july. As part of the project Youth Artivists for Change, the program will also include a section named Queer Film Days, curated by art.1. 

The opening of the Queer Film Days will be marked by the screening of I am Sofia, a film about an italian transgender woman, followed by a debate and a Q&A with its protagonist. The next days will be filled with other queer movies (full program below) plus an extra screening of Upclose and Personal: LGBT Police, a film produced by art.1 and directed by its founder, Chris Belloni, consisting of personal testimonies of LGBT police officers from The Netherlands, Italy, Canada amongst others. Furthermore, there will be a debate moderated by Sudeep Dasgupta (Amsterdam University) with Dutch police officers who participated in the movie and local police officers and activists.

The Human Rights Ambassador of the Netherlands, Marriët Schuurman will also be present for a debate concerning the empowerment of LGBTQ people through the arts and the importance of their visibility in different platforms. 

While the festival is taking place, it will also be time for another filmmaking training. This time in Prishtina, a local trainer and the Dutch trainer Nienke Eijsink will embark on an adventure with a group of approximately 10 young people who will learn more about using film for activism regarding Human Rights, LGBT Rights and Gender Equality. 

 

Program: Queer Film Days Prishtina

17th of July 

 

18:00 I am Sofia + Q&A

National Theatre, Main Hall

 

22:00 Eva and Candela

Kino Armata 

18th of July

 

22:00 Consequences

Kino Armata 

 

19th of July

 

19:30 Upclose and Personal: LGBT Police + debate

ABC Cinema

 

22:00 Rafiki

Kino Armata  

 

20th of July

 

21.30 A Moment in the Reeds

Kino Armata

 


Case Study - Serbia 2018

1. Background

This case study was prepared in the framework of the project “Youth Artists for Change” funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Creative Twining scheme. The main goal of the project is to utilize film, theatre, podcast and storytelling activities as powerful awareness raising and advocacy tools with primary focus on young people (14-24 years old). The project takes place in four countries of the Western Balkans: Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia through the alliance of seventeen organisations working with arts, culture, gender equality and LGBTI+ rights. We are very happy to point out that many ERA members from all these countries are involved in the project and are cooperating with Stichting Art 1. This alliance connects young people of different cultural backgrounds through activities such as launch of LGBTI+ film fesivals, photo exhibitions, debates and multiplier events to disseminate the results of the project.

2. Overall Objective and Case Study Questions

The overall purpose of the case study paper is to understand the rights of LGBTI persons situation in Serbia as of 2018 and the main developments during 2018, by making an overview of the political, legal and social context as well as the cultural and arts scene currently existing in the country. The study will have final recommendations and conclusions and will serve as a mechanism to monitor and evaluate the outcomes of the project “Youth Activists for Change”to be implemented in Serbia in 2019-2020.


Training on Storytelling, Podcasting and Filmmaking targeting Youth in Serbia

In the last two months, ERA in cooperation with its two member organisations in Serbia, Da Se Zna! and Come Out as well as Dutch organisation Stichting art.1 have hosted three capacity building trainings on filmmaking, storytelling and radio/podcasting, aiming to utilise different forms of art, media and technologies as tools for advancing the rights of LGBTI+ people. The main beneficiaries of these trainings were young people (aged 15-24 years old).

The trainings were hosted by Da Se Zna! on filmmaking (Belgrade 27-31 March), by Come Out on storytelling (Novi Sad 1-6 April) and again by Come Out on Radio and Podcasting (Novi Sad 29 May to 1 June). All trainings were facilitated by experts coming to Serbia from the Netherlands thanks to Stichting Art 1.

The film-making training provided knowledge on cameras and basic film techniques, writing techniques, practical film exercises, discussing concrete film ideas, editing, utilization of Adobe Premiere and storytelling theory. At the end of the training, participants managed to combine all the knowledge accumulated and created a short film together which was also premiered at the end of the training. Participants at the training (as well as other young people in Serbia) are in the meantime bein provided with assistance in creating short films. A mentor has been appointed who is guiding them on the process, meawhile the Rainbow House in Belgrade has now an IdeaLab corner where young film-makers can edit their materials and work.

The storytelling training in Novi Sad provided young people with more knowledge on this particular art. The training was delivered by Fouad Lakbir from the Storytelling Center in Amsterdam. During the training they had the chance to work on their personal stories, to develop them and prepare them to be presented, using the techniques of storytelling. By the end of the training, all participants shared their stories with the group, based on their experience of being a part of the LGBTI community in Serbia. During the last day of the training - train of the trainers - the participants learned how to use the knowledge they've obtained and how to transfer it to their peers and the community. Stories made in the training can be used as a part of the performance by the end of the year, organized in Novi Sad or Belgrade.

The training on radio and podcast was delivered by Lotte van Gaalen and Salim Salameh from Amsterdam, experienced in producing radio and podcast content in the Netherlands. The total of 8 participants learned the basics of creating the story usable as the radio or podcast content. They had the chance to learn how to use the professional voice recorders and voice editing programs. Each of the participants had the time to write their stories, record them and then edit them in the way they like. By the end of the training, all of them presented the recorder stories, powerful personal stories of discrimination, self identification, insecurities, everyday fears, etc. Group COME OUT will organize the exhibition of their stories in Novi Sad by the end of the year, in order to increase the visibility and the voice of the oppressed in the society. The last day of the training, the participants learned how to use the knowledge and skills in order to transfer them to their peers and the community, from a role of a trainer.

All three trainings have been conducted in the framework of the project "Youth Artivists for Change" which is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Creative Twining scheme. Art 1 is the main applicant of the project, which focuses on participation of young people (15-24 years old) in film, theater, podcast and storytelling activities. The main goal is to provide them with the tools that will empower them to speak up about social awareness on LGBTI+ rights and human rights in general as well as gender equality through the arts.

The project is taking place in four countries of the ERA region: Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia through the engagement of 17 organisations working within arts, culture, gender equality and LGBTI+ rights. We are very happy to point out that many ERA members from all these countries are involved in the project and are cooperating with Stichting Art 1. This alliance connects young people of different cultural backgrounds through activities such as launch of LGBTI+ film fesivals, photo exhibitions, debates and multiplier events to disseminate the results of the project.

Co-Authors: Amarildo Fecanji and Filip Kocevski

Additional sources: http://stichtingart1.nl/2019/06/07/youth-artivists-for-change-balkan/


Storytelling training in Novi Sad, Serbia

The first YAC storytelling training in Serbia took place between the 2nd and the 6th of April, in Novi Sad. The training was given by Fouad Lakbir, on behalf of Stichting  International Storytelling Centre and it consisted of a four-day workshop for the youth and a one-day of a Train the Trainers workshop. 

The group of participants comprised six people who, on the first day, began getting to know each other through teambuilding and trust exercises, alongside a short introduction to storytelling.  The following sessions were spent alternating between storytelling theory and human rights discussions. Great conversations and personal stories came out of questions such as “Was there a moment where you thought about leaving Serbia?” and “Can you tell me about a time when you felt discriminated and a time when you felt validated?” 

When everyone had come up with their own story to work with, the time was dedicated to crafting their stories and coaching the participants on the structure and imaginary telling. 

The 4th day was an important day: after working on their presentation skills, everyone presented the stories to each other and to a small audience. The results were beautiful and really touching and we could wrap up the workshop with the distribution of the certificates and a nice drink together.

The very last day was a bit different: it consisted of training the group in the use of storytelling training methods and tools, so that they can be the ones applying it in their communities in the future. 


Filmmaking training in Skopje, North Macedonia

The filmmaking training in Skopje took place between the 18th and the 22nd of April, and it was given by the Dutch trainer Nienke Eijsink and the local trainer Hanis Bagashov. The 9 participants, with ages varying from 17 to 26 years-old, were very much looking forward to gaining more experience in filmmaking and particularly to use it to engage with matters of gender equality and human and LGBTQ+ rights as they told us that it was common for young people within their circles to have to deal with conflicts related to these topics.

On the first day, encouraged by the first bits of theory and from the examples of some films made by the trainers of the workshop, they soon went on to filming their first short movies, consisting of only five shots. The challenge was to create and advertise a product related to gender equality or LGBTQ+ issues that they wished already existed. The final products included a lipstick to be used by anyone regardless of their gender; a necklace which worked as a whistle that women could use to scare off anyone chasing them down the street and a smelly chewing gum which served the same purpose. 

The following days were spent learning some more theory and getting acquainted with practical examples, whilst also debating ideas for their individual final projects with which they will apply for a mini-grant. Besides, the Dutch filmmaker Claire Zhou, who was present in Skopje for the screening of her film as part of the Queer Film Days, also took part in the workshop by giving a lecture about character development and storytelling. 

On the last day of the workshop, the participants delve into the adventure of an eight-hour film project. They started with concept, writing and pre-production, followed by shooting and then editing. 

In the evening, all the films were screened in the Public Room, a creative space in Skopje. The first film to be shown was directed by Sofjia and Igor, who presented the story of a woman who quit her job after being mistreated by her boss, and decided to go on an adventure with a friend. In the end, the audience realizes that they are actually in love with each other unlike what would be commonly assumed at first sight. In the next film, Ivana, Kristijan and Antonella portrayed a universe where being gay was the norm, and presented the dynamics of a family where a son has to come out as straight to his two mothers. On the other hand, Andjela, Iskra, Angela, and Kris made a short film about an alien who lands on Earth and tries to take up a human form as he goes. Because the alien isn’t aware of society’s gender roles and stereotypes they end up breaking them, reflecting how much those are just a social construct.

As we wrapped up the day, everyone felt very pleased with the happenings of the last few days and left very excited to see what the participants will do in the near future with their individual documentaries.

Participants: Ivana, Kristijan, Antonella, Andjela, Iskra, Angela, Sofjia, Igor, Kristijan.


Artivists for Change

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