1st International Conference “Early Cinema in the Balkans and the Near East: Beginnings to Interwar Period”

Filmicon: Journal of Greek Film Studies


The international conference on the early cinema (1896-1940) in the wider area of the Balkans and the East Mediterranean that is funded by the John S. Latsis Pubic Benefit Foundation and the Neraida Floating Museum, is a first attemt to bring together academics, scientists and researchers specialising in matters of the silent and early speaking films apart from the dominant mainstream productions of Europe and Hollywood. 

During the conference the similarities and differences of appearance and evolution of cinema during an transissionary period will be examined. A period characterised by the decline and ultimately fall of the Ottoman empire, the aspects of modern osmosis with the emergence of nation states, but also the imperialist and colonial intervention in this particulare area. The creation of national filmmaking, the ways of production and consuption of the cinematographic product and the interaction in the work of pioneering filmmakers such as the Manakia brothers, are key issues that will be discussed by researchers from universities whithin the region, but also from the rest of Europe and North America.

At the same time, in the Greek Film Archives, night screenings of filmed material during that time will be made. The films are from film archives of Netherlands (EYE) and Romania, presented in Greece for the first time. More specifically, there will be screenings from the wider mediterenean area (Smyrna, Belgrade, Vosporos, Pireus, Egypt, Tripolis) with live sounds and music by  8HM2/3, Parallel Universe & Christos A. Goussios  (Aristotle University, Thessaloniki). The programme also includes the screening of one of the first romanian animation productions and an ethnographic documentary about Transylvania, awarded in the Venice Film Festival in 1939. 

More information about the lectures and the screenings can be found on the conference's website and the programme


Interesting facts

The Manakia Brothers are pioneer cinematographers of the Balcans born in Grevena. In 1905 they bought their first filming camera and made the first documentary in the Balcans showing their grantmother spinning wool and weaving at the loom. Over the next few years they filmed in the form of documentary everyday activities all over Macedonia, fighters during the Macedonian and Balkan Wars, World War I, the revolution of the Young Turks movement and the visit of Sultan Mehmet V in the Monastery. After their death they left behind 17,854 photographs and 2,000 meters of cinematic film which is preserved to this day.

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