Welcome to the August newsletter edition of Southeast Europe: People and Culture!

It has been a lively summer, played out to the soundtrack of energetic Southeast European sounds. Our series of cultural events presenting the region in the EU got off to a fantastic start with a musical mix of Balkan brass band by  Boban and Marko Marković and  Kočani Orkestar, reggae by  Dubioza Kollektiv, jazz by  Irina Karamarović and
the  Music Progressive Quartet, classical by  Petrit Çeku and Balkan dance beats by
 DJ Robert Šoko. Their audiences in the Czech Republic, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands appear to have had a wonderful time – a feeling which you can share by watching our photos on  Facebook.

In September, you can join us in Finland, France and the United Kingdom. The  Aye-Aye Film Festival in Nancy puts a special focus on Balkan films from 1-10 September.
The  Helsinki Film Festival (15-25 September) and the  Raindance Film Festival in London (28 September – 9 October) will be premiering some of the best recent films from Southeast Europe. In Helsinki, festival goers will also be able to enjoy a dedicated Balkan music evening on 24 September with Serbian band Shazalakazoo and DJs Borzin and Levy.

As always, you can keep up to date on the upcoming events on our dedicated  subsite or  Facebook page.


This month we present you an extraordinary athlete from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Dejan Zafirov took 45 days to cycle 4000 km through China this spring – and this despite losing one of his legs in an accident some years ago. He then used the funds he raised from sponsors of the trip to found a summer camp inspiring disabled children and young adults to follow their dreams.

In addition, we meet the Qerimaj family of musicians from Albania, who will embark on a European tour in 2012. The video of the month shows some highlights from this year’s Sarajevo Film Festival, which took place in July in the presence of international guests such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Wim Wenders.

  Dejan Zafirov’s Summer Camp for Children with Disabilities
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: 29 August 2011

“In most people's mind, being physically disabled means you should adapt to your handicap and make choices for your life on the basis of that handicap, instead of trying to live as any other person,” says Dejan Zafirov, a man who has challenged expectations of what a disabled person can do. Long-distance cyclist, philanthropist and disability rights campaigner, Zafirov shows through example that disability does not have to be an obstacle to following one's dreams. On his summer camp, he is teaching young people to feel the same.

 Click here to read more

  Truly a Big Band: The Qerimaj Family of Musicians
Albania: 29 August 2011

Ethem Qerimaj, 77, is one of Albania’s finest and most charismatic violists with an admirable lust for life. He and his multitalented family are the force behind a number of musical projects, as his son Fatos, director of the annual Tirana Jazz Festival, reveals to Southeast Europe: People and Culture.

 Click here to read more


Video of the month – Sarajevo for Film

The Sarajevo Film Festival, which was founded in the wake of the siege of Sarajevo as a symbol of tolerance and inter-communal understanding celebrated its 17th edition in July. The festival gave a clear reminder of why it is considered to be one of the prime film events not only in Southeast Europe but in Europe as a whole.

Watch the video now!


Split Film Festival, Croatia

Split Film Festival, which has a reputation for premiering experimental, radical or even subversive work in a number of media will be taking place from 10-17 September.

 Click here to read more

Pristina Film Festival (PriFilmFest), Kosovo*

“For me, PriFilmFest is an A-list festival” said British actress Vanessa Redgrave in 2009. Two years after the festival was founded, her statement is still true. This year’s edition will take place from 22-29 September.

 Click here to read more


For those of you who missed our Balkan BBQ at the Colours of Ostrava Festival, there is no need to worry. With this handy  Lamb Cevap with Okra recipe you will be enjoying authentic Ćevapčići in no time!

Love to cook food from Southeast Europe? Why not share the taste of the region and send your traditional recipes to:

 [email protected]

* Under UNSCR 1244/1999

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