Balkan Film Food Festival kicks off in Pogradec

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 5, 2017 13:45

Balkan Film Food Festival kicks off in Pogradec

poradeci

Pogradec is the hometown of Lasgush Poradeci, one of Albania’s best writers and poets who has been immortalized with a statue overlooking the lake. Photo: Visit Albania

TIRANA, July 5 – Already in its peak tourist season, the lake town of Pogradec in southeastern Albania, is hosting a Balkan Film and Food Festival, an event enhancing cultural life and exchanges in one of the country’s most popular summer destinations.

The festival, now in its seventh edition, is turning into a traditional annual event, bringing together filmmakers from the Balkans in a bid to establish cooperation bridges in a region still haunted by ethnic tensions and stereotypes.

“This year’s most important novelty is that in cooperation with the World Vision organization, Albanian, Serbian and Kosovo teens will come together to discuss and produce, something which in other circumstances would have made the exchange of experience almost impossible,” say director Eno Milkani and journalist Fatos Baxhaku, the Balkan Film Food Festival organizers.

The festival will also feature the world premiere of “The invocation of Enver Simaku” thriller by Spanish director Marco Lledo Escartin, starring some big names of Albania cinema. The feature film is based on events in Albania during the notorious 1997 turmoil triggered by pyramid investment schemes.

“There will be short and student films, animation, documentary and feature films. This edition’s biggest surprise is the people and participants, Pogradec, the lake, the visit to Lin and the climb to the Kabash Mountain,” says director Milkani.

Cinema and food are the best elements to get to know the Balkans, organizers say.

“In summer 2011, none of us thought the Balkan Film & Food Festival would be in another edition. But fortunately, we were wrong. Here we are again in the big table of Balkan movie and culinary next to the Pogradec Lake,” say Eno Milkani and Fatos Baxhaku.

“The Balkan region is changing rapidly. The reason is prevailing over anger and old nonsense inherited from the mad politics and nationalism which although still strong in the Balkan region has started feeling isolated in its darkness. Hatred is leaving room to unity while mutual recognition will one day prevail over intentional ignorance,” they add.

This year’s edition taking place from July 3 to 8 is showcasing movies from Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro.

The event also serves promoting tourism in Albania, recently rated as the top up-and-coming destination globally by U.S.-based Travel + Leisure magazine, and especially Pogradec, the lake town in southeastern Albania, situated on the shore of Lake Ohrid, shared between Albania and Macedonia.

“Pogradec is Albania’s main ‘lake tourism’ destination. Besides fun lake festivities, one can engage in some culture and history by visiting sites like the mosaics of Lin or the royal tombs of Selca e Poshtme. Pogradec is also in an ideal spot for cross-border tourism to Macedonia (St. Naum monastery, Ohrid),” says the Visit Albania portal.

Pogradec is also known for its culinary tradition, primarily the cooking of Koran fish, a type of trout only found in Lake Ohrid. Among the traditional recipes, a delectable one is the ‘trout casserole with nuts’.

The lake town is also famous for its handcraft production of wine.

The Tushemisht village in the Drilon area just 4 km off Pogradec, once the summer retreat of late dictator Enver Hoxha, is one of the most popular destinations with the former Hoxha residence having turned into a hotel.

“Do not leave Pogradec without visiting Drilon and Tushemisht. Drilon is a groundwater source that forms a small lake. Greenery all around makes this a special place, along with the picturesque village of Tushemisht, a unique oasis of tranquility and rest. This area is also well known for family tourism,” says the Visit Albania portal.

The village of Lin has some nice beaches with crystal water, sand and small pebbles. A great place for a picnic is also a place called “Old Mill”, with bubbling fountains and fresh tree shadows.

The archaeological site and Monumental Graves of Selce e Poshtme lie 30 km away from Pogradec. The monuments date back to the 4th century B.C. and the five rocky monumental graves are found in very few places elsewhere in the Balkans.

Pogradec is the hometown of Lasgush Poradeci, one of Albania’s best writers and poets who has been immortalized with a statue overlooking the lake.

 

 

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 5, 2017 13:45