It is a question that doesn’t have an answer. Albanian Cinematography has been in this situation for a while. It seems as it is asleep. Even those films produced lately are co-productions with foreign studios. Once upon a time it is known as one of the biggest film producer in Europe, based on Russian school of cinematography.
Today it is converted in a ruin with no sense. We talk about a building, because there is nothing remained from the rhythm and the past work of this film producing center. Nothing left to see, even the walls are destroyed. Today it seems like an old woman who cannot walk and is falling everyday a little. Back to retrospective: the first Albanian film was “TANA” produced in 1958, as a New Albania Film Studio product, while “Skanderbeg” was produced before it in 1953, known as the first collaboration Albanian-soviet cinematography. This was the first film which represented our country and Russia in Cane Festival, which has been 3 times nominated for the best director, the best mass war scenes. It won two awards. But this happened last century.
Today we have large development levels and cinematography freedom, but we made back steps in relation to the representation of our cinematography in all over the world. Albanian films doesn’t even enter on European Film Market or it just competes in little Balkan festivals, where it worth more the participation then the quality. The cinema is trying to get out of this abyss where has fallen, but how will it prolong. Financial difficulties are the reason to justify the lack of commitment.
New Albania Film Studio was founded in 1952. Its first production was the co-producing Albanian- Russian “Skanderbeg”. This was the first colossal realization produced by this film studio. In 1957 it was produced the first film from an Albanian director, Hysen Hakani. Mass productions began in 1970. In this time it was reduced the number of imported films. In ’80 “New Albania Film Studio” produced 14-15 film per year, with various topics. The economic crises of ’90 and the political changes transformed it in “Alba film” but in 1996 even this transforming has finished its activity.
“New Albania” left 200 films as heritage. It is understood that a part of them were a manufacture of state propaganda. Those films, compared with Hollywood films, had low quality but they may be compared with neighboring countries films. The Albanian cinematography was developed after 1945, while its first filmic show was that of Kol Idromeno in 1912.
The oldest film with Albanian topics was produced by Italian company “Cines” and it was named “Albania Ribelle”, in 1909. In 1946 was founded the first Albanian cinematographic company. During ’70-’80-’90 Albanian cinematographic production numbered 14 artistic films, 40 documentary and chronicle films, 16 cartoon various films. The first public shows were succumbed in Korca and Shkodra. The first cinemas as public institutions were constructed after First Global War in Vlora, Korca, Tirana, Shkodra and Berat. The first films were produced by foreigners.
“Tana” is the first Albanian artistic film realized in 1958. The subject of the film is based on social villages lives, written by Fatmir Gjata. Its director was Kristaq Dhamo. “We smile because we can’t cry” is the first artistic film with short feature, written by Dionis Bubani and directed by Viktor Stratoberdha. The first launching of this film happened in 1999 because the director was sentenced by communist regime. “Beni walks alone” an artistic film for children, produced in 1975 and directed by Xhanfise Keko. It was awarded in Salerno, Italy in 1979. “Zana and Miri” is the first cartoon film produced in 1975.