In-Visible Film Festival in Azerbeidzjan

The In-Visible Film Festival was a queer festival which took place between the 23rd and the 26th of May, in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was promoted by Salaam Cinema Baku and Stichting art. 1, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Netherlands, IQMF, YPEER, EQUALS, Gender & Development Office, ADO, NEFES, Minority Azerbaijan, Baku IdeaLab, Dreamers Lab and Mil.

The four days of the festival were filled with film screenings, live performances, educational talks, exhibitions and parties, which put queer topics under the spotlight in order to celebrate inclusion and diversity.
The festival took place in Salaam Cinema, a community-driven safe art space which is located in a beautiful historic Malokan prayer house built in 1913. Besides the focus in promoting creative movies, audio-visual and performing arts, Salaam Cinema offers a wide program of exhibitions and workshops. Their mission is also to support local filmmaking and film history and make sure that the audience has the chance to discover new Azerbaijani films and rediscover movies which have written the Azerbaijani film history. The creation of this safe art space is part of the project Youth Artivists for Change in Azerbaijan.

Upcoming: Attending the REFUGEES+ training in Brussels

Stichting art. 1 will be attending the training REFUGEES+, which will take place in Brussels from the 24th to the 28th of June.

This training aims to generate an exchange of information between participants from different countries in order to create a deeper understanding of main concepts, legal framework and terminology relevant to the work with young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

The youth workers attending will reflect and learn about their role(s) in the inclusion process of YMRA, share good practices, tools and methods on various related topics. The program will be built on non-formal education and it will help developing competencies for a better inclusion process in local communities.

This is initiative, organized by JINT vzw, and funded by Erasmus+, will include debates, guest lectures, workshops, field visits and debates. Art. 1’s representative will be our intern Clara Mendes and she is very much looking forward to the training!

Upcoming: Perform2Reform multiplier event in Slovenia

A multiplier event promoted by Legebitra as part of the Perform to Reform project will take place on June 21st, in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  It will consist of a training on how to use their recently developed toolkit for youth centers, schools and NGOs. “Mavrica v žepu” (‘The rainbow in the pocket’) is the name of the manual which represents the organization's intellectual output of the project which is intended for youth workers, trainers and teachers. The purpose of the manual is to support youth and education workers in the promotion of an inclusive and respectful society, by addressing the complex and sensitive topic of peer violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity and/or sexual expression. During the multiplier event, the participants will have access to multiple workshops addressing different aspects of LGBTQ-topics.

Furthermore, the 19th Ljubljana Pride parade will take place on the 22nd of June, followed by a political program which will consist of speeches, concerts and performances. Since we will be visiting, Stichting art. 1 will also make sure to be present for the event!

“Perform to Reform” (P2R) project is an initiative by Stichting art.1 which aims to develop tools based on performative arts and soft skill methodologies in order to address sexual diversity topics and to create powerful and adaptable techniques for youth workers and educators.

Filmmaking training in Skopje, North Macedonia

The filmmaking training in Skopje happened between the 18th and the 22nd of April, and it was given by the Dutch trainer Nienke Eijsin and the local trainer Hanis Bagashov. We were received by a group of 9 participants, with ages varying from 17 to 26 years-old, who were very excited to gain 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 struggles related to these topics.

On the first day, inspired by the first bits of theory and some films made by the trainers of the workshop, they immediately 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 functioned as a whistle that women could use to scare off anyone chasing them down the street and a smelly chewing gum which had the same effect.

The following days were spent learning some more theory and watching practical examples, whilst also debating ideas for their individual final projects for which they can get a mini-grant for. 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 joined 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.

At the end of the day, all the films were screened in the Public Room, a creative space in Skopje. The first film to be presented was directed by Sofjia and Igor, who told 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 another 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. As the alien isn’t aware of society’s gender roles and stereotypes, they end up breaking them, showing how much those are just a social construct.

By the end of the day, everyone felt very pleased with the happenings of the last few days and we all 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

First filmmaking training in Tirana, Albania

The filmmaking training in Tirana started on the 10th of May and it took place in the Marubi Film Academy. The group of participants consisted of 9 people, with ages ranging from 17 to 29 years-old. They all shared an affinity for the arts and particularly for filmmaking, but most of them hadn’t had the opportunity to really learn about it until now. During the introductions, it was also immediately evident that they were very interested in engaging with LGBTQ+ rights and gender equality issues, and that they were very excited to learn how to do so using film.

What followed were three very intense days, filled not only with theory learning but also with moments for reflecting, sharing, and experimenting with the cameras. The very first exercise consisted of them gathering in small groups to create a film with only five shots, where they would advertise a product that they wished existed. As results, we got a banana with a shape that wouldn’t be as easily sexualized, which stated that “it seems to be easier to change the shape of food rather than people’s minds”. The second film presented a machine and a card that would grant women free access to sanitary products, in order to avoid the costs adjacent to them, and the third group worked on an “anti-patriarchy” juice.

During the last stage of the workshop, the participants had to work in an 8-hour film project, including developing a concept, writing and pre-producing, shooting and then editing. At the end of the day, we got to watch all of their projects in a final screening. The first film was an animated response to a poem by the participant Thimi, which talked about being a star, even in moments when one feels sad and alone. They also worked on the story of a man who found out that his sister had a relationship with a girl and responded by murdering her. The film proposed an alternative scenario where she got her revenge by locking him up and threatening him. In addition to raising questions regarding homophobia, this was also a critique on the Albanian tradition of family members getting revenge on other families. The last film, on the other hand, portrayed a case of online bullying and aimed to function as an awareness campaign to prevent suicide and address mental health issues. As a bonus, we also got to see a short animation against homophobia on which one of the participants had worked on the night before.

Towards the end, they presented the ideas that they have in mind and that they will use when the time comes for them to apply for the project mini-grants which will allow them to create their own documentaries.

“I believe that many young people in our country are very creative but we don’t have many opportunities where to show our ideas. I personally think that movies are a great tool that if used in the right hands can make a big change because films have the power to influence people and make them think deeper. Films can elicit deep feelings and help us reflect on our lives”.

- Participant in the workshop

Participants: Romina, Dario, Thimi, Mateo, Tringë, Rexhina, Egzon, Ilenia and Elisabeta.

Youth Artivists for Change: Balkan

Youth Artivists for Change is a project funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Creative Twinning scheme. Art. 1 is the main applicant of the project, which focuses on the participation of youth (15-24 years old) in film, theater, podcast and storytelling activities. The main goal is to provide them the tools that will empower them to speak up about social awareness on human rights/LGBTQ+ rights and gender equality through the arts.

The project takes place in four different countries in the Western Balkan: Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, and Kosovo, through the alliance of seventeen organizations working within arts, culture, gender equality and Human/LGBTQ+ rights. This alliance connects young people with different cultural backgrounds through activities such as the launch of LGBTQ+ film festivals, photo exhibitions, debates and multiplier events to disseminate the results of the project.

In every country there have been trainings in film, podcast, storytelling, and human rights/LGBTIQ+ rights advocacy. Furthermore, the initiatives also contemplate the launch of safe art spaces where young people can work on their projects with safety and support. This aims to make a significant contribution to the understanding of human rights and understanding of democratic EU principles which might lead to a smoother transitioning for the collaborating countries in their quest for EU membership.

Queer Faces Migrant Voices: Cycle 1 - Final presentation

Queer Faces Migrant Voices is a radio / storytelling project with LGBTIQ refugees. It's a traveling program in which pre-recorded radio stories are alternated with live presentations of participants on stage. The interviews will be conducted by our very own Antonij Karadzoski, while our friends from Radio Pink Terrorists will record live.

All stories have been previously broadcasted via radio programs in the Netherlands and many cities throughout Europe, holding its first cycle's final presentation on  Jul 31st 2018 y in OBA Amsterdam.

As part of Amsterdam Gay Pride, the program is free of charge and the broadcast language is English.

Azerbaijan: long term cooperation

In opdracht van de Nederlandse ambassade in Baku werkt Stichting art.1 aan een human rights - en filmproject in Azerbaijan.

Sinds IDAHOT 2017 heeft Chris Belloni het land verschillende keren bezocht voor verkennende gesprekken met lokale civil society organisaties.

Het resultaat is een langdurige samenwerking met de ambassade op strategisch vlak. In oktober 2018 verzorgt Stichting art.1 een trainingsprogramma in Baku en bezoeken Antonij Karadzoski en Galo de la Huerta Azerbaijan voor het project.

Binnenkort presenteren we meer informatie over dit bijzondere en belangrijke project.

Commissioned by the Dutch Embassy in Baku, Stichting art.1 is working on a human rights and film project in Azerbaijan.


Since IDAHOT 2017, Chris Belloni has visited the country several times for exploratory talks with local civil society organizations.

The result is a long-term cooperation with the embassy on a strategic level. In October 2018 Foundation art.1 provides a training program in Baku and visits Antonij Karadzoski and Galo de la Huerta Azerbaijan for the project.

 We will soon share more information about this exciting project.

Perform2Reform (Alexander Project)

The Alexander project seeks to develop new performing art and soft skill methodologies to address sexual diversity topics.

Five organisations from five European countries bring together their shared knowledge and experience in order to equip youth workers with alternative tools with which to foster inclusion and acceptance among a younger demographic.

The diverse and even opposite contexts of Cyprus, Greece, Macedonia, Slovenia and The Netherlands come together to create powerful and adaptable techniques for youth workers everywhere.

Perform2Reform is executed in conjunction with LGBTI Support Centre -Macedonia; Legibitra - Slovenia; Accept LGBT – Cyprus, UNESCO Youth Association Thessaloniki – Greece and is funded by Erasmus Plus funding scheme of the European Commission.