Filmmakers of Albania: Youth Artivists for Change
Anxhela Gaxhazi, 20, Tirana
Art always makes a difference; art can make many people believe in an idea. It arrives in their hearts and minds. That’s why movies, music and theater can enter more deeply into someone’s soul than, say, politics.
My film is about a young actor who is excited about entering the industry. He receives a lot of scripts and roles and his skills are used. But then reality hits and he is paid nothing for his work. The process drains his energy until he’s not a functioning human. He loses his passion and is no longer an artist. It kills me to see how hard it is to be an artist. Especially in Albania.
I’m currently enrolled in a theatre directing and acting course but I want to study filmmaking after! I participated in this training to learn basic knowledge about the filmmaking process.
Our instructor showed us that when shooting, everything is a metaphor. It’s not just mathematical precision. For example, while shooting: if a character is in prison, then you put a wall behind him so the audience sees he doesn’t have a future.
Ida Gurguri, 25, Fier, Albania
My film is about a girl with burn scars on her legs. She’s afraid of what society will think of her, and she always wears red boots, even in the middle of the summer, to hide them. She never goes to the beach because she’s afraid of what people will think; she always hides herself.
The character [in my film] is me. I’ve decided to accept myself; and I want other people to know me as well. I have decided to take part in this training because I believe in the power of art to change society.
Nowadays, we live in a fake society because social media has changed our field of vision. We believe that we are perfect from toe to hair, with filters – but reality is not like that.
I feel very grateful for this experience, because I dreamed about doing this 13 years ago, and now I’m realizing it. I think showing films like this can make a difference. I’d never showed my scars anywhere before.
Elisabeta, 18, Tirana
I like that this workshop is focused on human rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and equality. These are really important to me, and I really want people here in Albania to be more open about them. I think Tirana has a lot of untold stories but people are afraid to come out and talk about them. They are scared of being judged, and others being mean towards them.
I’m making a movie that is anti-bullying. It can seen in depression, anxiety, everything that you can think of. How a small word can affect a person’s life and change it from the roots.
Storytelling can make a difference, because people will start seeking help and start getting better. Not only for other people but also for themselves – they’ll begin to accept themselves.
Aneta Mihali Xhiku (Neta), Saranda
I wanted to be in the creative industry forever, but I couldn’t because I had a career and had to make a living for my family and myself. I’m interested in writing. I want to write about people’s lives, real people that aren’t on TV and don’t make the headlines. People with values that are often overlooked or forgotten. So I started writing around a year ago. At the same time I was interested in images and I was looking at photographs of the subjects that I was writing about. So I figured it would be more impactful to have documentaries about these people. So that you can see them talking and telling their own stories and you can relate to them more as an audience.
Documentary can raise voices and empower people. Do you think the world can be improved through cinema?
When you see a real person that may be your next-door neighbour, or an old person that you never paid attention to. And they have so much to share, you can relate strongly with that person, and the values that they have can be conveyed to the next generation. Nowadays, we are surrounded by so much advertisement; so much fakeness, and it’s very refreshing to hear somebody like my 96 years old neighbor, giving a long speech about self reliance; she can do everything by herself.
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