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Production - Skandal Production
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Production - Skandal Production


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director Mark Cousins

executive producer Don Boyd Genc Permeti 
Hibrow Productions Ltd. SKA-NDAL production

Here be Dragons is an innovative and poetic feature length documentary film about a foreign filmmaker, Mark Cousins, encountering, and becoming passionate about, Albania.
The film starts with Cousins in Scotland, his adoptive home.  He says that before he went to Scotland, he had tourist images in his head, but then he lived there and these were replaced.  He says that we learn by looking.  And so he goes to Albania and looks and learns.  As a filmmaker, he will learn in particular through looking at Albanian films and paintings.
Day 1, dawn.  Cousins walks the streets of Tirana.  He films the Italian buildings and intercuts them with old archive footage of them.  He comes to the Enver Hoxha pyramid, films it, notices that it looks exactly like the Giza pyramid near Cairo anda dream sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Spellbound, that kids use it as a ski slope and that wildflowers have seeded themselves in it.  It has a chain of meanings.  Such chains are very Albanian.  Cousins quotes from Ismail Kadare’s novel The Pyramid (Kadare has given his personal permission for this). 
Cousins then films at the Marubi film school, and at the Albanian film archive, showing the problems of fungus growth on its walls and reflecting on the importance of cultural memory, film as memory, film as light from a distant star.
Day 2.Cousins begins to look at aspects of Albanian history and at the restoration of the film Nentori I Dyte; the latter is a kind of activation of the former.  Cousins travels to the outskirts of Tirana, where his shots become more visual, more like a landscape painting.  Then as we watch a single, unbroken 8 minute shot, Cousins writes a letter directly to EnverHoxha, telling him what has happened since his death.  There’s rage in the letter, and poetry too.
Day 3.Cousins travelsinto the hills with members of the Albanian Cinema Project, to look at bunkers which might be suitable for housing aspects of the film archive.  The trip is beautiful but also thought provoking.  The bunkers might change their meaning. Creative re-use. A chain of meanings again.
Day 4.Cousins films the Onufri icons in the National Gallery of Arts.  He visits XhanfisoKekostreet, and shows how distinctive her filmmaking was.  This leads him to a sequence on Viktor Stratoberdha.
On his way home, Cousins imagines that he sees XhanfiseKeko.  He draws together the images and themes of his trip.  A decaying pyramid, some decaying films, gorgeous films, concrete bunkers, glorious icon paintings that themselves have decaying surfaces.  Images full of meaning and feeling in Albania which now have great feeling for him too. He has learned by looking in Albania, and loved looking.  Cinema is an empathy machine.  He now has, in his head, a “thousand coloured pictures to the eye.”  He intercuts images of faces from Onufri’s paintings with similar shots from faces of Albanians in film history.  They are beautiful, they flicker.  They are light from a distant star.
Mark Cousins


For about a decade now I have been exploring the poetic, emotional and communicating potential of documentary film.  I’ve rejected the TV style of documentary for something which I hope is more cinematic and imaginative.  My recent films have won the Prix Italia, the Stanley Kubrick award and have been shown in more than 100 film festivals, including Berlin, Toronto, Telluride Hong Kong, Karlovy Vary, Moscow, Palm Springs, Seville, Kosova, Rio de Janeiro, etc.  They have received rave reviews (see attached) and have been shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, in the Academy cinema in Los Angeles, etc.
Here be Dragons is, I hope, my most thoughtful film in this direction.  It’s a road movie – the account of a journey - and so is told in the present tense.  It has a distinct visual style – cinematic framing, no reverse angles or pans.  I care a lot about the frame, the image, so choose it carefully, then let everyday life do what it does best – unwind, unpredictably.  The film is observational – I really looked at Tirana, walked its streets from dawn, visited its outskirts, tried to understand its feelings and history.
But Here be Dragons isn’t journalism.  It’s a film essay in the tradition of the great filmmaker Chris Marker and writers like Jean Jacques Rousseau. Its storyline is told through commentary but it “takes an idea for a walk”.  We see and hear me learn about Albania, and notice connections between unexpected things (a dictator’s pyramid, renaissance paintings, bunkers, dogs, wildflowers, film archives, etc).  I have tried to write it with real care and a degree of poetics and insight.
Film is, I believe, a great message in a bottle.  It is wonderful at capturing the elixir of a place.  Through careful shooting, framing, writing and editing (my editor Timo Langer is acclaimed and awarded), I hope that Here be Dragons captures some of the thoughts and feelings that are moving through Albanian life in the 21st Century, and which, with the great assistance of my hosts, I was able to see.
I have tried to make a film that is honest (including being honest about how much a foreigner can understand) passionate, curious, engaged and brainy (there are lots of ideas in it!)   I have tried to make a film that is a fine piece of cinema and which will travel widely and be seen around the world.    People who have seen images from it have said that they are beautiful.  This is because I found Tirana’s distinctiveness beautiful.

Mark Cousins

Filmmaker Mark Cousins goes to Albania for five days, and films what he sees. He discovers that the movie prints in the country's film archive are decaying. In investigating this, Cousins begins to encounter bigger questions about the history and memory of a place. Perhaps a country whose 20th Century, dominated by its authoritarian ruler Enver Hoxha, was so traumatic, should allow its film heritage to fade away? Perhaps a national forgetting should be welcomed? Influenced by the films of Chris Marker, Cousins' film broadens to consider the architecture of dictators and the great icon paintings of Onufri. In the past, when cartographers knew little about a country, they wrote on it Here be Dragons. Albania was, for decades, one of the least well know countries in the world. Cousins' road movie meditation takes the advice of Goethe: "If you would understand the poet, you must go to the poet's land."

Mark Cousins is one of World Cinema’s rare directors who integrates talents as a writer, broadcaster and critic into highly individualistic ‘essay’ films which have given him international status. He followed his 15 hour seminal history of the movies, The Story of Film: An Odyssey, with A Story of Children and Film officially selected at Cannes 2013. 

Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 August 2013 12:23 )

The human Cargo

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La nave dolce (The Human Cargo) [Special Screenings] by Daniele Vicari - Italy, Albania, 90'
language: Italian, Albanian - s/t English, Italian


On 8 August 1991 an Albanian ship carrying 20,000 people reaches the port of Bari. The ship is called the Vlora. If you look at it closely it looks like a teeming ant colony, an indistinct mass of bodies hanging on to each other.
Mooring is difficult, someone throws themselves overboard to swim to land, lots of others shout “Italia, Italia” in chorus, making the victory sign with their fingers.
The Vlora is an old and decrepit merchant ship. On 7 August 1991 the ship, returning from Cuba, reached the port of Durrës with 10,000 tonnes of sugar in its hold.
Work on unloading the sugar was underway when an enormous throng of thousands of people suddenly assailed the ship, forcing the captain to head for Italy.
The engine is on the verge of breaking down; there is no food or water. Just sugar. Night falls and the captain narrowly avoids a collision. The next morning, waiting for the Vlora is an incredulous and stunned city and an empty football stadium where, after lengthy disembarking procedures at the port, the Albanians are held before being sent back home. Twenty-one years have passed since that day. Most of the people who boarded that ship were sent back to Albania but the crossings continued and many of them had another go. Today four and a half million foreigners live in Italy.

Director’s Statement

In 1991 I was 24. I remember the arrival of the Vlora as a sort of media cataclysm. That disembarkment signalled the start of a socio-cultural revolution that until then had been unimaginable. In this sense La nave dolce is a film that imposed itself on me and forced me to go beyond the three-act narrative scheme, borrowing wider structures from tragedy and classical literature.
Alongside the evocative power of the extraordinary archive images, the direct accounts of those involved tries to restore, in its multiplicity of views, the sense of an event that has affected the personal history of thousands of people and the collective history of our country.

A media cataclysm: The Human Cargo

Produced by Indigo Film and Apulia Film Commission in cooperation with Rai Cinema, The Human Cargo (La nave dolce) is the new documentary by Daniele Vicari after the success of Diaz - Don't Clean Up This Blood and The Past Is a Foreign Land. Premiered Out of Competition at the 2012 Venice Film Festival, the feature won the Francesco Pasinetti Award for Documentary Films. Penned with Benni Atria and Antonella Gaeta, with original music by Theo Teardo, The Human Cargo includes library pictures and interviews by Gherardo Gossi to protagonists and witnesses of the events as dancer Kledi Kadiu, Eva Karafili, Domenico Stea and director Robert Budina. "In 1991 I was 24. I remember the arrival of the Vlora as a sort of media cataclysm. That disembarkment signaled the start of a socio-cultural revolution that until then had been unimaginable," Vicari stated. "In this sense The Human Cargo is a film that imposed itself on me and forced me to go beyond the three-act narrative scheme, borrowing wider structures from tragedy and classical literature. Alongside the evocative power of the extraordinary archive images, the direct accounts of those involved tries to restore, in its multiplicity of views, the sense of an event that has affected the personal history of thousands of people and the collective history of our country."
Alessandro Zoppo

Directed by
Daniele Vicari        
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Benni Atria        
Antonella Gaeta        
Daniele Vicari

Produced by
Daniele Basilio    ....   delegate producer
Ilir Butka    ....   producer
Carlotta Calori    ....   producer
Francesca Cima    ....   producer
Nicola Giuliano    ....   producer
Silvio Maselli    ....   producer
Genc Permeti    ....   delegate producer
Ines Vasiljevic    ....   delegate producer
Original Music by
Teho Teardo        
Cinematography by
Gherardo Gossi        
Film Editing by
Benni Atria
Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 August 2013 12:26 )


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Year of production : 2009 Lenght : 95 min. Format : 35 mm Screen ratio : 1:1.85 (flat) Sound format : Dolby digital surround Countries of origin : Serbia, Albania


The story of "HONEYMOONS" is set in contemporary Albania and Serbia.

We follow the fortunes of two young couples who decide to leave their respective home countries in search of a better life in Western Europe.

When the Albanian couple, after all sorts of incidents, arrives in an Italian southern port, their problems start. The same fate awaits the Serbian couple when they by train enter European Union
at the Hungarian border.

Despite the fact that they have nothing to do with the incident that occurred in Kosovo in which two Italian UN soldiers lost their lives, they are arrested at the border and suspected due to unfortunate coincidences. This prevents them, at least temporarily, from fulfilling their dreams, as is often the case with young people in the Balkans who pay for the mistakes of previous generations.

"HONEYMOONS" is the first film co-produced by Albania and Serbia.


Nebojsa MILOVANOVIC (Marko) Jelena TRKULJA (Vera) Jozef SHIROKA (Nik) Mirela NASKA (Maylinda) Bujar LAKO (Rok) Yllka MUJO (Vevo) Lazar RISTOVSKI (Vera’s uncle) Petar BOZOVIC (Vera’s father) Danica RISTOVSKI (Vera’s mother) Fabrizio BUOMPASTORE (Italian policeman) Domenico MONGELI (Italian inspector) Aron BALAZS (Hungarian inspector)


Directed by: Goran Paskaljevic. Written by: Goran Paskaljevic and Genc Permeti. Produced by: Goran Paskaljevic, Ilir Butka, Nikola Djivanovic Director of Photography: Milan Spasic Production Design: Zeljko Antovic, Durim Neziri Costume Designer: Lana Pavlovic, Durim Neziri Make up Supervisor: Martina Subic Dodocic Chief Editor: Petar Putnikovic Editor: Kristina Pozenel Sound Designer:Velibor Hajdukovic Production Sound Mixer re-Recording Mixer: Branko Neskov C.A.S Sound Editor: Nebojsa Zoric SteadyCam operator: Zoran Culic 1St Assistant Director: Zoran Andric
Director's Notes

During Enver Hodxa's cruel, forty-year dictatorship, no one from Serbia was allowed to visit neighboring Albania, over whose soil were scattered several hundred thousand defense bunkers. Today, after the conflicts in Kosovo, there is still only a very small number of Serbs who decide to visit Albania. Prejudice and bad politics have contributed to a latent intolerance between the two nations.

Three years ago, Genc Permeti, a young painter and writer, and his colleague Ilir Butka, also a writer and film producer, unexpectedly invited me to show three of my films in Tirana. Those were The Powder Keg (Cabaret Balkan), Midwinter Night's Dream, and The Optimists, my so-called « Serbian trilogy ». I must confess that I hesitated, but they were so insistent that I finally gave in and went to Tirana. During the entire time my films were shown, Tirana's only movie theater was filled to capacity; people were even standing in the aisles off to the side. Even today, I recall with much emotion the exceptionally long applause at the end of each showing and the audience's questions, which were not even for one moment malicious, but utterly open, intelligent, and fair. What most surprised me then was the fact that the Albanian audience was familiar with the majority of my early films through pirated copies, which was practically the only way to become acquainted with Serbian films.

During my first stay in Albania in December of 2006, I met many intellectuals who thought like I did, who were beyond any kind of fiery nationalism. I discovered that Albanians and Serbs, although they speak two completely different languages, have much in common, notedly the deep desire to become an integral part of Europe. During long conversations over a glass of raki (Brandy), the idea was born that we try, through our combined efforts, to make a movie, which I would direct with a mixed crew. One week after my return from Albania, I wrote the first synopsis.

I imagined the film as a triptych. The Albanian story, with the cooperation of Genc Permeti, is about a young couple who wishes to leave Albania because circumstances don't allow them to fulfill their relationship. Next, the Serbian story is about a young couple who also want to go to western Europe in the hope that they will have more chances there than in Serbia. Finally, the third part intertwines the destinies of these two couples. Their stories unwind parallelly and they never meet, as would usually be the case in standard films. However, I am convinced that at the end of the film viewers will have the impression that these young people, are in the same imaginary space, while they wait on the threshold of Europe; the Albanians in a port in southern Italy, and the Serbs on the Hungarian border in the backroom of a small railway station. Nevertheless, after the first bitter disappointment on the border of that so green "better" world, dawns a new morning for both.

The creation of this joint production film, the first Albanian-Serbian coproduction, which we immediately entitled "Honeymoons," became possible one year later when we received financial support from the Serbian Ministry of Culture and the Albanian National Film Center, as well as the Apugilla Film Commission. The filming flowed without any major difficulties, even though we communicated with each other in a mixture of English, French, Italian.... After two months spent together, farewells between the Serbian and Albanian crew was touching, almost melodramatic; everyone had tears in their eyes. We all wanted to shoot together just one more film...and one more.... It is of note that the Serbian and the Albanian actors have never met, even though they have acted in the same movie. Their first meeting will be at the film festival in Venice.

Goran Paskaljevic


Goran Paskaljevic was born in Belgrade on 22 April 1947.

Between 1967 and 1971, he studied at the well-known Prague school of cinema (FAMU).

From 1971 to the present, he has made 30 shorts/documentaries and 15 feature films, many of which have been shown and acclaimed at the most prestigious international film festivals.

The rise of nationalism in Yugoslavia forced him to leave his country in 1992.

In 1998 he went back to make The Powder Keg (Cabaret Balkan) but his constant criticism of Milosevic’s regime met with violent, menacing attacks in the official press. Therefore, he decided once more to leave his native land in search of a country where he could make his film, How Harry Became a Tree. He found Ireland.

He returned to Belgrade upon the collapse of the Milosevic regime. There he shot is two films: Midwinter Night’s Dream and The Optimists.

In 2001, the International Film Guide (Variety) marks him as one of the top five directors of the year (together with Lasse Hallström, Neil Jordan, Steven Soderbergh and Edward Yang).

In January 2008, the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) presented a full retrospective of his work.

His new film Honeymoons has been completed in June this year.


2009 Honeymoons Venice Days – world premiere Toronto -Masters

2006 The Optimists (Optimisti) Toronto – Masters – World Premiere Valladolid Film Festival (Spain) – Best Film (Golden Spike)

Best actor winner Lazar Ristovski Audience Award for the best film Geneva Film Festival -Best Director (Golden Reflect) -FIPRESCI Award for the best film

2004 Midwinter Night’s Dream (San Zimske Noci) San Sebastian Film Festival – Grand Prize of the Jury Toronto Film Festival – Masters Prenominated for the European Academy Awards, in all categories Best Serbian film of the year Nashville (USA) -Dreammaker Award for the best feature film Montpellier (France) – Golden Antigone for the Best Film Tromsø (Norway) International Film Festival 2005 – International Critics Prize (FIPRESCI)

2001 How Harry Became a Tree (in English) Venice Film Festival – in competition Toronto Film Festival – Masters – Gala premiere Newport Beach Film Festival -Best film in all categories

-Best foreign film -Best actor winner Colm Meaney

1998 The Powder Keg ( aka Cabaret Balkan in USA) (Bure baruta) In the USA – (released through PARAMOUNT Classics)

Venice Film Festival: International Critics Prize -Best film in all categories

EUROPEAN CRITICS AWARD for the best European film 1998

American National Film Board of Review Awards -Voted one of the top five best foreign language films 1999 in the USA

Toronto Film Festival: Masters

Santa Barbara (USA) Film Festival – Grand Prize

Haïfa (Israel) Film Festival – Grand Prize

Antalya (Turkey) Film Festival – Grand Prize

1995 Someone Else's America (Tudja America) – (in English) Cannes Film Festival (Directors’ Fortnight) – Audience Award Valladolid Film Festival -Grand Prize (Golden Spike)

1992 Tango Argentino (Tango Argentino) Venice Film Festival – Audience Award San Francisco Film Festival – Audience Award

1990 Time of Miracles (Vreme cuda) Cannes Film Festival (Directors’ Fortnight) San Sebastian Film Festival -International Critics Prize (FIPRESCI)

1987 Guardian Angel (Andjeo cuvar) Cannes Film Festival (Directors’ Fortnight)
1984 The Elusive Summer of '68 (Varljivo leto ‘68)

1982 Twilight Time (Suton) (in English) (Produced for MGM/UA, starring Karl Malden) Chicago Film Festival – Grand Prize UNICEF Grand Prize

1980 Special Treatment (Poseban Tretman) Cannes Film Festival (competition) -Best supporting actress (Milena Dravic) Golden Globe Hollywood -Nomination for Best Foreign Film

1979 ...And the Days are Passing (Zemaljski dani teku) Venice Film Festival (competition)

1978 The Dog who Loved Trains (Pas koji je voleo vozove) Berlin Film Festival (competition)

1976 Beach Guard in Winter (Cuvar plaze u zimskom periodu) Berlin Film Festival (competition), International Critics Prize
Productions companies :

NOVA FILM Kneginje Ljubice 6 11000 Belgrade (Serbia) Tel : +381 11 328 49 11 Mobile : +381 63 303 306 Email : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

BEOGRAD FILM Cincar Jankova 3 11000 Belgrade (Serbia) Tel : +381 11 321 79 00 Fax : +381 11 321 79 02 Email : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

World Sales :

NOVA FILM International Goran Paskaljevic 94 avenue Emile Zola 75015 Paris (France) Mobile : +33 68 88 96 183 Email : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

SKA-NDAL Boulevardi Zhan Dark Pall. i ri Tirana (Albania) Tel: +35542256588 Fax : +35542234980 Mobile : +355686028900 Email : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Website : www.ska-ndal.com

With the support of : The Serbian Ministry of Culture, The Albanian National Film Center The Apulia Film Commission (Italy) 
Last Updated ( Sunday, 26 July 2009 17:34 )


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Are we going inside the tunnel, or the tunnel is coming inside us?

The Train, this symbol of displacement, of geographical displacement, displacement on time and a psychological one, the last hope to leave towards an unknown direction, but still a good hope. During this long and tiring journey, the train stops in different stations, but never in the desired one. The passengers get off the train emptying the wagons overpopulated by hopes and aspirations. The last station that was supposed to be the most far, the most different one, it results as a start point for other desires, for other aspirations, but in this case the vector of hope is directed exactly where hope has always lacked. This displacement, all this movement in the space of our thought takes the form of a cyclic movement, often followed by the incubus of getting stocked into a place and sometime it takes the form of a return back, back to the past.


From the composition’s viewpoint, the film is based on a journey, where the arrival station is the same as departure. The movie begins in the moment when a person gets in the train to emigrate abroad. Through monologues and dialogues with other passengers, we discover the lack of orientation of the personages, who allusively hope to find themselves and their happiness by geographical displacement. But they often realize that the arrival station is nothing but the departure station.

The soundtrack of the movie, from the beginning to the end, is the monotone sound of a train, time by time interrupted by the train siren, which plays the role of orthographic points in the movie.


(15 min, Format BETACAM SP)
Directed by : ILIR BUTKA
Screenplay : ILIR BUTKA
Adaption & dialogs : ARTUR GORISHTI
Director of photography: AGRON DOMI, ILIR BUTKA
Ce film a été produit avec l'aide du :  Centre National du Cinéma Albanais

Last Updated ( Sunday, 26 July 2009 19:57 )


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DAMAREAMARE (FROM SEA TO SEA) by Ilir Butka (Albania –
Italy, 2008 - 24’). A journey to discover a contemporary artist’s life,
Matteo Fraterno, spent between the shores of the Adriatic sea,
between art and reflection, as simply as possible. While another
journey, a physical one, is made by the directors of the film, in search
for San Giuseppe da Copertino’s myth, named the “Saint that flew”.

Matteo, artista napoletano, vive tra le due coste del Mar Adriatico,
tra la Grecia ed il Salento e parla sinceramente. Lavora con artisti più giovani
per avere la sensazione di invecchiare a regola d-arte. Non vola in -aereo dal 91,
quando, in viaggio verso Hannover, ha avuto la sensazione di morire. Vive volando.
Un volo inconsueto sulle abitudini e il rapporto con la vita di un artista
Last Updated ( Sunday, 26 July 2009 19:53 )

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The human Cargo

Da Mare a Mare

Tunnel Tunnel
Here be Dragons