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

As autumn approaches, the Cultural Journey has taken a cinematic turn. After classic and modern films at the  Aye Aye Festival in France in early September, we have just returned from the  Helsinki International Film Festival, where the Festival’s dedicated ‘Balkanize’ section screened the Finnish premieres of Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia and Serbian director Dejan Zecevi’s The Enemy, together with other modern masterpieces.

Tonight, we will be joining the opening of the
 Raindance Film Festival in London and the UK premiere of the Serbian film Skinning - a powerful film of youth violence showing the transformation of a teenager in Belgrade from an invisible math geek to an unscrupulous leader of a gang of skinheads. In the next two weeks, until 9 October, Raindance’s Balkan Cinema Strand will screen over ten UK premieres, including Punk’s Not Dead by  Vladimir Blazevski from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Forest Creatures by Croatian director  Ivan-Goran Vitez.

The cinematic journey will end in Amsterdam on 13-14 Οctober with the  Balkan Snapshots Preview, which will offer the chance to enjoy Balkan film and music in a preview to the longer festival next May.

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


This month we invite you to become acquainted with an amazing and successful designer from Albania, Joni Peçi, who incorporates the traditional elements of xhubleta, folk costumes from northern Albania, into his modern clothing design aesthetic. Based on his success, Peçi founded the Joni Peçi Fashion Group, which supports young people in the fields of art and in particular fashion.

Additionally, we discover Turkey’s home-grown comic book heroes, including favourites like Karaoğlan, and the child comic book hero, Hero Türk, with his league of international friends. The video of the month shows highlights from this year’s EXIT festival in Novi Sad, Serbia, which featured big names such as M.I.A., Jamiroquai, Amadou & Mariam, and Bad Religion.

  Joni Peçi Brings Tradition to the Catwalk
Albania: 7 September 2011

“I have always intended to embody originality in my clothes. What could be more original than our traditional costumes?” says Joni Peçi, a young designer from Albania who calls xhubleta, local traditional costumes, his muse. His designs are worn for example by the world-famous soprano, Inva Mula, in her performances. Peçi believes that the forms of xhubleta can make women all over the world feel feminine. “It looks so good on each and every woman,” he says.

 Click here to read more

  The Return of the Turkish Comic Book Heroes
Turkey: 13 September 2011

While Turkish comic book aficionados enjoy following the adventures of foreign characters such as Tintin, local comic book heroes such as Tarkan, Karaoğlan, and HeroTürk play an essential role in Turkey’s pop culture. Even comics from the 1960s and 1970s are finding a huge number of new readers.

 Click here to read more



Video of the month – EXIT Festival 2011

200,000 people from all around the world, 500 musicians, 4 days of a carnival atmosphere at the Petrovaradin Fortress in the Serbian city of Novi Sad. The EXIT Festival 2011 proved why it is one of the major music festivals in Europe.

Watch the video now!


MESS Sarajevo International Theatre Festival, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The MESS Sarajevo International Theatre Festival will be held for the 51st time from 30 September – 9 October in Sarajevo. The festival will present over 50 productions in a variety of artistic disciplines from several continents.

 Click here to read more

Vis regatta, Croatia

The Vis regatta, a one day sailing race from Split to the island of Vis in the Adriatic Sea and back, will be held this year from 14-16 October.

 Click here to read more


This month’s recipe is  Two Layered Pie with Saç from Albania. Hearty and filling and with a wide range of possible ingredients, this pie is a delight throughout the whole year.

All the recipes on Southeast Europe: People and Culture are now also available to  download as pdfs on the site. Collect your favourites for your very own cook book!

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

 [email protected]

If you do not wish to receive this newsletter anymore, please  click here
To read the disclaimer, please  click here