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Movie Night: “Can you see yourself in my life?”

In an attempt to encourage youth dialogue between Greece and North Macedonia, the initiative Cooperation for a Common Future organized the movie night “Can you see yourself in my life?” on Friday, 18th December 2020, 7.00 pm UTC+2. The event was the outcome of the collaboration of the initiative and the civil society organization Balkans Beyond Borders. The members of the Greek part of the initiative, Anna Bampili and Ioanna Panagiotidou suggested that an interesting way to cultivate awareness of young people of both countries to a, would be to screen two short films, one from each country, which would provide food for thought, as well as an insight of the daily life of people across the borders. Thus, under the support and coordination of the Macedonian part and, specifically, Anelija Mitrova, member of Youth Alliance Krusevo, they contacted the organization Balkans Beyond Borders through their Facebook page. The organization, known for the trans-Balkan short film festival BBB (Balkans Beyond Borders), which takes place in an annual base, was able to provide the organizers with a recent list of short films from Greece and North Macedonia, followed by summaries and trailers, to facilitate the selection process. Consequently, the Greek and Macedonian organizers decided to screen the short films “Neon Hearts” (dur. 16:15’), directed by Ana Jakimska (North Macedonia) and “Woman” (dur. 15’), directed by Konstantinos Chaliasas (Greece). Both movies provide with a motive for fruitful discussion about the topic of gender roles, societal norms regarding gender identity and they present aspects of everyday life in the two neighbor countries. Vasiliki Maltasoglou, co-founder of Balkans Beyond Borders was enthusiastic about the idea of a double screening and offered on behalf of the organization to co-support and co-organize the event. Hence, she offered access to the material and members of the organization also attended the screening and participated in discussion afterwards. Ioanna Panagiotidou undertook the task of promoting and designing the event in social media (Facebook, Instagram), Anelija Mitrova was responsible for the technical part of inviting people at the Zoom session and sharing the films and Anna Bampili presented the topic and moderated the discussion. The event was attended by almost 20 young people aged from 18 to 30 years old, oriented from both countries. After the screening, they were able to exchange views on how daily life as presented in the films resembles the daily life in their countries, as well as speak about treatment of police toward people. They were also able to speak about what society expects from them according to their gender and how demanding and suffocating can gender roles be for a person. The discussion also included some short insight about sex workers and trans women, by sharing videos suggested by participants. The event lasted almost 1h30m and, despite the restricted number of participants, it can be overall characterized as successful, as it gave its target group the opportunity to meet the neighboring country and its culture, compare it to their own country and talk about norms and perception of society in them. The feedback received by Balkans Beyond Borders was also positive and opened a new perspective for further future cooperation with the initiative for another similar event, under a different context of discussion.

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