Albanian Film Week: Continuing Success in New York

By: Rina Lila    November 5, 2013

Albanian Film Week, created by producer, director and screenwriter Mrika Krasniqi and producer, actor, and screenwriter Ariot Myrtaj, debuted  in August 2012.

How has the AFW been such a success? Since the first official screening in November 2012, the festival has proven to be a remarkable accomplishment with more than 100 Albanian movies in different categories being screened and presented. The festival not only portrays the diverse and unique character of Albanian cinema, but also brings together Albanians from all over the world to work toward the common good of the Albanian film industry. The varied numbers of directors, producers, screenwriters, and actors brought together during the AFW enable Albanians from around the globe to work together to promote success and bring a sphere of influence to cinema, art, and culture universally.

The 2013 AFW will once again assist Albanian culture and art to flourish and promote the Albanian culture in multicultural New York City. Theodora Rexhepi, Marketing Director of AFW, says, “Cinematography is like the internet. It connects people everywhere and indifferent of nationality, culture or color. It amazes, excites and inspires everyone who is touched by it. [For] some unexplainable reason, it transcends to touch [the] human soul and speaks to all in the same language.”

In regards to the significance of the film festival and the Albanian culture, Ermira Babamusta, Ph.D., who works for the cultural advocacy of the AFW says that “through Albanian Film Week (AFW) we can reveal our culture and identity to New York and reflect the work of very talented Albanian filmmakers and artists, who are a great representation of our community values and extraordinary talent. AFW is committed to enhancing Albania’s image and identity in [the] U.S. and supporting Albanian artists. Our goal is to help the integration process of Albanian films in the U.S. market, as well as show a part of past and present of Albanian social values and history to the American public.”

In this way not only do we promote the Albanian culture in the U.S. and worldwide, but we also influence important non-Albanian figures to support the Albanian identity and culture through cinema. For instance, “NY has truly embraced the Albanian community; political leaders like Mayor Bloomberg, Congressman Eliot Engel, Senator Charles Schumer or the Clintons (Clinton Foundation) have been very supportive through various programs in promoting arts and culture.” said Babamusta.

The 2013 Opening Ceremony of the second AFW taking place on Friday, November 8, 2013, will show a twenty minute introduction to the film Agon, directed by Robert Budina. This year, the AFW will also enable directors of short and long films, as well as documentaries to compete for the best Albanian movies, announcing the winners on November 14, 2013. The competitive atmosphere adds another element to the dedication and hard work of  the Albanian participants to bring about the best of Albanian culture and art.

Rina Lila

Rina Lila is pursuing a Master of International Affairs (MIA), concentrating in Economic and Political Development and specializing in International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Prior to Columbia University, Rina received her undergraduate degree (B.A.) in International Relations with a minor in International Business from Whittier College in Los Angeles, California. Rina has worked for IGOs such as the UNICEF Office in Kosovo, public relations for American Red Cross in the Greater Los Angeles area, as well as international consulting firms with a focus on the US-China relations. After finishing her education at Whittier College, Rina served as a year-long Judge Advocate Generals (JAG) intern for the California Army National Guard (CNG) where she researched and investigated different legal issues in the military based on the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), participated with JAGs on daily army legal assistance issues, as well as instructed a Major/Command Chief of the Military Justice in the Army National Guard prior to his deployment to Afghanistan.

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