Cinema Jusuf Gërvalla, known in the past as ‘Kino Rad’ was built around the 1950s with the purpose of creating a cultural space for the city which would serve to screen films and as a meeting point for its citizens for cultural activities. After the war, the Cinema was reconstructed with the support from donor organisations from Italy and was “reopened” in 2001 only to serve as administrative office for various organisations. The building is now a listed historical monument under the National Culture Heritage list.
In 2010, a group of young arts activists started the Anibar International Animation Festival, giving a boost to Peja’s cultural scene. During the seven days of the festival’s duration, thousands visit Peja, hundreds of movies are shown, and numerous workshops and other activities are held. Since, the festival was the only cultural initiative in the city and saw the need to have a cultural center, the team behind Anibar attempted to take and occupy the cinema in order to create an all year round program.
In 2016, Anibar acquired a 15-year lease from the Municipality of Peja and since then has worked on re-establishing Cinema Jusuf Gërvalla as Peja’s cultural hub with dedicated efforts in its renovation and preservation. In order to better promote its cultural legacy, collective memory and create a cultural space for its local community.
What makes the organisation unique?
Cinema Jusuf Gervalla is the only cinema in the city of Peja, thus offering the only venue for film screening in the city. Apart from screening films, there are other functions for what the space is utilized for. In the last years the cinema has become a symbol of resistance where alternative culture and social dialogue happen. Its resistance towards the privatisation of the cinema and public spaces lead to a nationwide initiative named Kino për Qytetin! (Eng. A Cinema for the City) which revolved around the idea of collective memory and tapped on a matter that many citizens were being concerned with ‘the privatisation of the public properties’.
In August of 2016 Anibar through the International Animation Festival started another initiative called “Reclaim the City!” By reclaiming the city, Anibar aims to cultivate better ways to interact with public space. This journey started with people of Peja rising against the revitalisation of public space in the city. The citizens succeeded in taking over the city’s only cinema. This achievement has led the community to believe that it will continue to remain active in the revitalisation of other silenced and abandoned spaces.
What TEH projects is the centre part of?
Balkan Hub, Arts Education Platform, Staff Exchange.
Multifunction Hall, Large Theatre (audience capacity: more than 200), Cinema, Café / Bar, Workshop room
Production, Exhibition and Programming, Education and Training, National advocacy
Music, Visual Arts, Multimedia and interactive Arts, Film, Education, Community and Relational Arts, Democratic and civil society development
Hosting organisations, Sending organisation
Culture and Entertainment Building