University College London, SSEES, May 24, 2013: Albanian Film Screening Day: Visual Approaches to Society and Culture

by pistrick

Organized in the framework of the Alexander Nash Fellowship in Albanian Studies 2012 – 2014.
Principal organiser, Armanda Hysa PhD, Alexander Nash Fellow. UCL SSEES
UCL Assistant, Anna-Rose Yallup MA. UCL SSEES
The event will take place at University College London, Chadwick Building – Chadwick B05 LT, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, on Friday, May 24, 2013, from 10.30 to 19.00

Research on Albania and the Albanians of South Eastern Europe during the period of political and social transformation has dealt mostly with topics such as migration, land and property, customary law and religious diversity after 1990 (for Albania). Topics related to ethnic conflict (Kosovo and Macedonia) are more common, while Albanians in Montenegro have mostly not been a part of research interest.

Visual approaches to ways of exploring the construction of identity and / or socio-economic problems are quite a recent development.

The aim of the proposed event is not only to promote the growing trend of visually based research, but also through the screening of 3 films, to discuss the way in which visual analysis helps aid an understanding of these developments. In line with other events organized by previous Nash fellows, this event will facilitate the imagining of places and people through visual recordings and narratives.

The 3 films are planned to be screened will be presented by the three filmmakers themselves. Two of the films are ethnographic. The first film deals with the life of an elderly Albanian couple living in Montenegro who turn their house in a museum, whilst living ostracised, divorced from the local society. They endure very difficult living conditions (as mentioned previously there is little research on the Albanians of Montenegro, so this presentation will introduce us to an unexplored and understudied area). The second film tells us the story of one of the poorest and most deprived areas of Albania. It documents the everyday struggles of the area’s inhabitants and how song and the vocal technique of polyphonia go hand in hand. The other is a dramatic movie, which touches upon some controversial topics in Albanian society, for example the corruption of the medical system, and the social passiveness of the youth. Furthermore, with regard to the films that are to be screened, it is interesting to discuss what constitutes „fiction“ in an ethnographic „film“ and what is „real“ in a fiction movie – these notions of social reality and perception relate to questions of the representation of society and culture specifically through film.

The three filmmakers invited to introduce the films and to discuss / answer questions are: Joni Shanaj, Arsim Canolli and Eckehard Pistrick.


1st Session, 10.30 – 12.00

Chair: Armanda Hysa, PhD, Alexander Nash Fellow in Albanian Studies, UCL SSEES

10.30 – 10.50 Opening of the event.

Ger Dujizings, PhD, Director of the Centre for SEE Studies, UCL SSEES
Armanda Hysa, PhD, Alexander Nash Fellow in Albanian, UCL SSEES
Arsim Canolli, PhD candidate of Anthropology at UCL / Lecturer in Anthropology at the Department of Ethnology and Anthropology, University of Prishtina – „A Glimpse of an Autoethnography of Documentary Film-making“

10.50 – 11.20 Screening of the film „The Highland Museum“ by Arsim Canolli

11.20 – 11.50 Discussions, Q and A session

11.50 – 12.00 Coffee break

2nd Session 12.00 � 14.15

Chair: Anna-Rose Yallup, MA, UCL SSEES

12.00 12.10 Eckehard Pistrick, PhD, Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, University of Halle – „Audiovisual Media and Identity Issues“

12.10 – 13.40 Screening of the film „Polyphonia – Albania’s Forgotten Voices“, by Björn Reinhardt / Eckehard Pistrick (First Prize 10. International Mountain Film Festival, Tegernsee (Category: Culture and Science)

13.40 – 14.15 Discussions, Q and A session

14.15 – 15.30 Lunch break

3rd Session 15.30 – 18.45

Chair: Armanda Hysa, PhD, Alexander Nash Fellow in Albanian Studies, UCL SSEES

15.30 – 15.40 Joni Shanaj, MA in Social Anthropology andfilm director – „Socio-Economic Problems in Albanian Society and Fiction. The Case of ‚Pharmakon'“

15.40 – 17.55 Screening of the film „Pharmakon“, by Joni Shanaj (Albanian entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards)

17.55 – 18.30 Discussions, Q and A session

18.30 – 18.45 Closing of the event

more information:

Contact: Armanda Hysa,, Anna-Rose Yallup,