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Early Cinema in the Balkans and the Near East: Beginnings to Interwar Period international conference
1 June 2015
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International Conference
Early Cinema in the Balkans and the Near East: Beginnings to Interwar Period
June 5-7, Athens, Greece

The International Conference for the early cinema (1896-1940) in the wider region of the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean – sponsored by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and the Neraida Floating Museum – is the first ever attempt for discussion made by scientists and researchers specialized in silent and early sound cinema, outside the mainstream European and Hollywood movies.     
Balkan Wars (collection EYE Filmmuseum)     

This particular geopolitical delimitation allows the examination of the similarities and the differences in the emerging and evolution of cinema in a transitional period, characterized by the decline and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the aspects of the modernist osmosis from the emersion of the nation-states, along with the imperialistic and colonialist interventions. The formation of the national cinematographies, the means of producing and consuming the cinematic product as well as the interaction between pioneer filmmakers, like the Manakia brothers, are basic topics to be addressed by researchers from the region΄s universities and the rest of Europe and North America.

More specifically, there will be special sessions for the early Greek and Serbian cinema, a reexamination of the term ΄Ottoman cinema΄, the relation between the new medium and the modernist city (Iran, Turkey, Greece, Egypt), the effect of the emerging nationalisms in the Balkans and the Arab World, as well as matters of orientalism. Researchers are also concerned about the link between the historic past and today΄s era, and the ways this link its being presented, like the mapping of Izmir΄s cinemas before the fire of 1922 for example, and the documentary War & Peace in the Balkans (2014) about WW1 – based on archival footage of the times. Special sessions will deal with shooting in colonial areas (like Rhodos, Cyprus), matters of censorship, as well as theoretical approaches on the reception and enhancement of the cinematic medium. Moreover, representatives from different cinematheques will discuss on locating, preserving and projecting the early films.

Balkan Wars (collection EYE Filmmuseum)

At the same time, the Greek Film Archives is organizing evening presentations of never seen before in Greece archival footage from the Film Institute Netherlands (EYE) and the National Archives of Romania. There will be footage of the wider Mediterranean area (Izmir, Bosporus, Piraeus, Egypt, Tripoli, Belgrade) in a live -musical and sound- dialogue with Christos Goussios and 8HM2/3, students of the School of Film Studies form the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. One of the first ever Romanian animations will also be presented along with an ethnographic documentary about Transylvania, awarded at the Venice Film Festival in 1939.

Invited speakers: Dina Iordanova (University of St Andrews), Hamid Naficy (Northwestern University) and Viola Shafik (Humbolt University and Ludwig Maximilian University)

Conference Facilities: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Main building

Language: English

Projections: Greek Film Archives

Partners:  National and Kapodistrian University of Athens,  Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greek Film Archives, “George Oprescu” Institute of Art History (Romania) and Istanbul Şehir University (Turkey).

Sponsors: John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, Modern Greek Studies Association (USA) and Eurasia Publications.

  Electra Venaki
  Mila Turajlic
  Aleksandra Milovanovic
  Marian Tutui
  Dina Iordanova
  Leonidas Liambeys
  Maria Komninos
  Lydia Papadimitriou
  Ana Grgic
  Nevena Dakovic
  "Early Cinema in the Balkans and the Near East: Beginnings to Interwar Period" programme and screenings
  Conference 2015 Programme
  Conference 2015 Screenings
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