On the 10th of May, the Marubi Fillm Academy in Tirana and the two trainers, Nienke Eijsink and Arianit Gjonbalaj welcomed the participants of the filmmaking training. The group consisted of 9 people, with ages betwen 17-29 years-old. Most of them hadn’t had the opportunity to really learn about filmmaking up until now, but they all shared an affinity towards it. During the introductions, it was also immediately clear 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.
The next three days were very intense, with plenty of theory learning but also moments for reflecting, sharing, and experimenting with the cameras.
The very first exercise consisted on the creating of films with only five shots, where each small group 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 day of the workshop, the participants had to work in an 8-hour film project, which included developing a concept, writing and pre-producing, shooting and then editing. After all of their hard-work, each group had their project screened. The first film was an animated response to a poem by the participant Thimi, which talked about being a star despite feeling sad and alone at times. 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 suggested an alternative scenario where she got her revenge by locking him up and threatening him. In addition to bringing up questions regarding homophobia, this was also a reference to the Albanian tradition of family members getting revenge on other families through murder. Finally, the last film portrayed a case of online bullying and intended to function as an awareness campaign to prevent suicide and address mental health matters. 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, each one of them presented the ideas with which they want to apply for the project mini-grants that 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