ISSN: 2241-6692


Early Cinema in the Balkans and the Near East: Beginnings to Interwar Period

Athens, Greece: 5-7 June, 2015

About the Participants:

Manolis Arkolakis is a Lecturer of European History at Hellenic Open University. He holds a Ph.D. on the history of early Greek Cinema and his most recent publication is titled “Early Greek Talkies (1930-1940): Struggling Between Technology and Theatre” included in the forthcoming volume Hollywood’s Musical Contemporaries and Competitors in the Early Sound Film Era.

Canan Balan is assistant professor in the Department of Cinema and Television at Istanbul Şehir University. She received her Ph.D. degree from the University of St Andrews with a dissertation on early cinema spectatorship in Istanbul. Dr. Balan has published articles on early cinema, shadow-play, and the cinematic representations of Istanbul.

Henriette Bornkamm studied at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. After finishing her diploma thesis on the old and new boundaries between documentary and fiction films, she worked as assistant cinematographer while directing her first short films. From 2011 to 2013 she taught at the German University in Cairo, where she initiated the German-Egyptian Script Writing and Short Film Workshop with the support of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Her films were awarded the Medienpreis der Kindernothilfe 2013, the Prize of the International Jury Ekofilm Festival Ostrava 2013, the Prize of the Mayor of Bratislava Ekotopfilm 2013 among other distinctions. In 2014 she received a doctoral scholarship by the Schweizerischer Nationalfonds (SNF) and became a member of the research group “NCCR Mediality“.

Peyami Çelikcan is a graduate of the Department of Radio, Television and Cinema, Faculty of Communication, Ankara University. He worked as a research assistant for Gazi University before earning his MA in Communication Arts from the University of West Florida as a recipient of a YÖK Scholarship. He holds a Ph.D. in cinema and television from Dokuz Eylül University. Dr. Çelikcan has broad research interests in popular culture, media history, cultural history, and the history of the railways. He is a director and scriptwriter of documentary films.

Özde Çeliktemel-Thomen is a Ph.D. candidate at University College London in the Centre for Multidisciplinary & Intercultural Inquiry. Her primary research area is late Ottoman history with particular interests in cinema history and the theory and history of visual culture.

Christina Chronopoulou studied at the University of Crete and has an MA degree in Theatrology from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She teaches literature and ancient-modern Greek drama in secondary schools and has participated in many seminars concerning education and drama and in funded European projects (IDEA, IDEOGRAM) as well. She has also published articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Nevena Dakovic is professor of Film and Media Studies at the Dept. of Theory and History—Faculty of Dramatic Arts, University of Arts, Belgrade. She is the author ofMelodrama nije žanr (1995); Leksikon filmskih teoretičara (2005); Balkans as (Film) Genre: Image, Text, Nation (2008); andFilm texts of Memory (2014). She has also edited essay collections and journal issues, including: Gender and Media (1997), Media(ted) Identities (2001), and Art, Media and Education in EU Integration Processes and has authored more than 70 articles published in international film journals and essay collections. Prof. Dakovic has presented her work in many conferences and has lectured in European and American Universities, including Oxford, UCL, METU, and Yale.

Çağan Duran is an MA student in the Cultural Studies Department, Istanbul Şehir University. He graduated from Bogazici University with a BA in sociology. His master’s thesis concentrates on the movies of Ömer Lütfi Akad (1916-2011) analyzing them through the concepts of the urban, modernity, and individualism. Since the summer of 2013 he has also been working on an independent documentary film about the neighborhood life of the Galata district in Istanbul.

Nezih Erdoğan teaches Film Theory, Early Cinema, Sound and Cinema and Screenwriting at Istanbul Şehir University. He has published extensively on Turkish popular cinema, early cinema, the reception of American cinema in Turkey, and censorship. He has completed a research project aiming at creating an electronic database making accessible documents on the early years of cinema in Turkey ( and has been co-organizing international events for several years on early cinema, particularly concentrating on the Ottoman era, and the exhibition of archive material. He is currently working on a book project on the emergence of the modern spectator at the turn of the 20th century in Istanbul.

Andrei Gadalean is currently a second-year Ph.D. student at the University of St Andrews, working under Professor Dina Iordanova's supervision. His thesis looks into the influence that Romanian cultural politics and social norms have had on representing intimacy and sexual identities on Romanian screens. Andrei is also an editor at the Frames Cinema Journal, and he also organised the postgraduate symposium Crossing Borders, Traversing Narratives, dealing with issues of migration and diaspora in cinema, in February 2015.

Christos A. Goussios is a graduate of the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and received his Ph.D. from the Department of Architecture. He teaches Sound and Music for Film since 2006 in the Department of Film Studies, Faculty of Fine Arts, AUTh. He has composed and performed music for short films, feature films, documentaries and theater plays and also performed music for silent films.

Ana Grgić is a doctoral candidate and researcher at the University of St Andrews, working on archives, cultural memory and early cinema history in the Balkans, under the supervision of Professor Dina Iordanova. Before earning her Master’s Degree from the University of Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris III for her thesis on film restoration theory and cinematic image-matter, she worked in the film industry and as assistant curator at the Australian Cinémathèque. She recently contributed to The Film Festival Yearbook 5: Archival Film Festivals (2013) edited by Alex Marlow-Mann and Frames Cinema Journal. When time permits, she attends film festivals in the Balkans and writes for the East European Film Bulletin, an online journal with a regional focus.

Andreas Guidi is a Ph.D. candidate at the Chair for Southeast European History, Humboldt University, Berlin. The topic of his dissertation project is the social analysis of generational relationships during the post-Ottoman transition to Italian rule in Rhodes (1900-1940). His doctoral research is funded by the Elsa Neumann Grant issued by the Land Berlin. He is also the creator and editor of the podcast “The Southeast Passage” about the history of Southeastern Europe (

Dina Iordanova

Mary Kapi is Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Drama, Faculty of Fine Arts, Aristotle University (Thessaloniki). Her dissertation is a research monograph about the theater actress Kyveli Adrianou.

Petar Kardjilov is a leading researcher in the history of early cinema in Bulgaria. He has worked for the Bulgarian National Film Archive and the Bulgarian National Television and is currently an associate of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (Institute of Art Studies). He is the author of more than 3000 periodical articles, 70 research articles, and 20 books. His works have been translated into many languages. His publications include: Bulgarian Feature Films: An Annotated Illustrated Filmography. Volume one, 1915 – 1948 (1987), The Enigmas of the Film “The Balkan War” (2006), Memorials of the Uprising on St. Elijah’s Day. Testaments of Pictures Taken in the Uprising on St. Elijah’s Day, 1903 (2009), and “The Film ‘The Balkan War’ in the History of Bulgarian Cinema (2011).

Dilek Kaya is Associate Professor at the Department of Radio, Television and Cinema at Yaşar University, İzmir. She has published essays in national and international journals on a variety of topics, including the history of Turkish cinema, Turkish Yeşilçam stars and their audiences, and the censorship of domestic and foreign films in Turkey. Prof. Kaya is the author ofThe Midnight Express Phenomenon: The International Reception of the Film Midnight Express (The Isis Press, 2005; Georgias Press, 2010).

Maria Komninos is Associate Professor and Director of the Laboratory of Audiovisual Communication at the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, University of Athens. She acts as Member of the Board of Directors and Programme officer of Greek Film Archive and is a member of the Executive Committee of ACE (Association des Cinematheques Europeenes). She has been editor of the series Image and Communication in Papazisis publishing and Honorary Research Fellow, School of History of Art, Film and Visual Media of Birkbeck College, in 2005-2006. Her research interests revolve around the Theory of Communication, Political Theory, Film Theory, Gender, Film Archives, and Preservation of Audiovisual Heritage. She has extensively published on Greek cinema and media.

Panayiota Konstantinakou holds an MPhil in Theatre Research from the University of Glasgow (2001–2002) as a Bakala Foundation bursar and a Ph.D. on Greek Scenography in the Interwar years from the Theatre Department, Aristotle University (Thessaloniki) as a bursar of the Greek State Scholarships Foundation. She has presented papers at conferences on theatre history and theatre education in Greece and abroad and has published articles in journals and conference proceedings. Her research interests include the history and theory of scenography and theatre architecture as well as the aesthetics and ideology of space.

Christina Kouppi is a graduate of the Department of History and Archaeology from the University of Ioannina, while she holds an MA from the same institution in the “Theory, sources and methodology in the human sciences”. Currently she is a Ph.D. candidate while her research focuses on how Cypriot political and social history has been represented in documentary films. Her research interests include the study of the relation between history and cinema, memory and film, Cypriot cinema, and the network of theatres in Cyprus.

Leonidas Liambeys is head of production and research with Anemon, working to develop projects at all stages, while supervising the production and post-production of films, as well as carrying out archive research. Leonidas also runs Anemon's multimedia and cross-media exhibitions, most recently 'War and Peace in the Balkans', a video and archive photographic exhibition with Goethe-Institute, which has been shown in Athens, Thessaloniki and Bucharest and the multimedia exhibition 'Twice a Stranger', which travelled from Greece to Turkey, Cyprus, Sweden and lastly to the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, Germany. Before coming to Anemon, he studied political theory at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, before completing a diploma in Painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts.

Geli Mademli is Ph.D. student in the School of Cultural Analysis of the University of Amsterdam, working in the intersection of media studies and film museology, as a scholar of the Greek State Scholarships Foundation. She studied Journalism and Mass Media (BA, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Film Theory (MA, University of Amsterdam) and Cultural Studies (MA Cum Laude, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens). For the last few years, she has been working for the Thessaloniki International Film Festival as a programme assistant and assistant editor of its annual editions, she is the Director of Press of Syros International Film Festival and she is a freelance journalist specializing in film and media.

Andronika Martonova is a film critic and researcher in the field of Asian cinema and the Visual Culture of Asia. She is a professor at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Art Studies ( and head of the Screen Art Department. She also teaches at the Bulgarian National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts at Sofia University and at the Kazakh Academy for Art “T. Zhurgenov” (Almaty). The courses she teaches regularly include: “Aesthetics and History of Asian Cinema”, “Visual Culture of East Asia” and “The Silent Era in Asian cinema”. Prof. Martonova has authored numerous critical and peer-reviewed publications. Her book The Hieroglyph of Cinema: Aesthetics and Meaning in East Asia movies (Panorama, 2007) was chosen “best book in the field of cinema theory” by the Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers. Her work has also been recognized by the Union of Bulgarian Scientists and the Ikuo Hirayama Centre (Japan). She is a member of FIPRESCI, NETPAC, the Union of Bulgaria Filmmakers – Cinema critics guild, and the Union of Bulgarian Journalists. She has also served in the juries of numerous international film festivals.

Aleksandra Milovanović is assistant professor at the Department of Theory and History of Cinema, Faculty of Dramatic Arts, Belgrade. She is the author of Imaginary Field of Film: Image, Cognition and Interpretation (2011). She has also published articles on narration models in contemporary TV series, spectatorial cultures and new media, and the issue of cultural heritage in the media. Prof. Milovanović has participated in many international conferences (Serbia, Portugal, England, Netherlands, Romania, FYROM, Czech Republic and Germany).

Bogdan Movileanu works for the Romanian Film Archive since 2006 and he is a Ph.D. student at the National Romanian Film School. He is currently working on a thesis about the link between worldwide mythology and comic book movies.

Hamid Naficy

Nick Poulakis holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology and Film Musicology from the Faculty of Music Studies, National and Kapodistrian University, Athens where he is also faculty and staff member of the Ethnomusicology and Cultural Anthropology Laboratory. He teaches ethnomusicology and film music with emphasis on ethnographic film and has been involved in a number of ethnomusicology field research programmes in Greece and abroad. Dr. Poulakis has published articles and book chapters about the anthropology of film music and is a member of the editorial boards of the journal Polyphonia and the International Music and Media Research Group.

Anna Poupou holds a Ph.D. in Film History from Université de Paris 3 and teaches Theater and Cinema at the Hellenic Open University. Her publications focus on the relationship between urban space and cinema, on the history of Greek cinema, and on contemporary art-house Greek films. Dr. Poupou’s most recent publication is Athens World Film Locations (Intellect, 2014) co-edited by Afroditi Nikolaidou and Eirini Sifaki.

Golbarg Rekabtalaei has recently received her Ph.D. degree from the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilisations, at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation, titled “Cinematic Modernity: Cosmopolitan Imaginaries in Twentieth-Century Iran,” investigates the history of modern Iran through the prism of cinematic cosmopolitanism. Dr. Rekabtalaei’s research interests include the history of modern Iran and the modern Middle East, the history of cinema, urban transformations, cosmopolitanism, popular culture, and nationalism.

Serkan Şavk received his Ph.D. from Hacettepe University. He teaches in the Department of Cinema and Digital Media at Izmir University of Economics and he is the co-editor of the book Imaginaries Out of Place: Cinema, Transnationalism and Turkey (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013).

Viola Shafik is a freelance filmmaker, film curator and film scholar. Her publications include: Arab Cinema: History and Cultural Identity, AUC-Press, Cairo, 1998 and Popular Egyptian Cinema: Gender, Class and Nation, AUC-Press, 2007. Dr. Shafik has held visiting faculty positions at the American University in Cairo and at Zürich University. She has also worked as a consultant for the al-Rawi Screenwriters Lab, La Biennale di Venezia and the Dubai Film Connection, among others. She is the director of several documentaries, most notably Jannat `Ali-Ali im Paradies/My Name is not Ali (2011) and Arij - Scent of Revolution (2014). Currently she is the Head of Studies of the Documentary Campus MENA programme, a lecturer at both Humboldt University, Berlin and Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich and a member of the selection committee of the World Cinema Fund (Berlinale).

Deborah A. Starr is Associate Professor of Modern Arabic and Hebrew Literature and Film in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University. She is the author of Remembering Cosmopolitan Egypt: Literature, Culture, and Empire (Routledge, 2009), and the co-editor, with Sasson Somekh, of Mongrels or Marvels: The Levantine Writings of Jacqueline Shohet Kahanoff (Stanford University Press, 2011). As an extension of her interest in the cultural production of minorities in Egypt, she edited an open-access digital archive of Waguih Ghali’s unpublished writings. She is currently writing a book about the films of Egyptian-Jewish filmmaker Togo Mizrahi.

Irini Stathi is Associate Professor (Theory of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts) at the Department of Cultural Technology and Communication of the University of the Aegean (Greece). She has also taught at the University of Patras (Department of Theatrical Studies). She studied Theory of Spectacle at the Department of Disciplines of Art, Music and Spectacle at the University of Bologna and has a Ph.D. from the University of Panteion, Athens. At University of the Aegean she is responsible for the Audiovisual Applications and Communication Laboratory and has directed a number of research projects, including the restoration and digitalisation of films. Irini Stathi has published numerous books and articles on film history, film theory (especially theory of early cinema) and aesthetics. She has participated in numerous international conferences. She has also directed and produced two documentaries: Petra, (2006) and The Visage of the Pine Trees, (2008). Irini Stathi was a long-time collaborator of the late Theo Angelopoulos.

Jonathan Stubbs is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Communication at Cyprus International University. His main research interests are in historical cinema, media history in the British Empire, and the cultural and economic relationships between the British and American film industries. His book Historical Cinema: A Critical Introduction was published by Bloomsbury Academic in 2013 and he has produced articles for various journals including the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, the Journal of British Cinema and Television and the Journal of Popular Culture and Media History.

Elizabeth F. Thompson is Professor of history at the University of Virginia. She is author, most recently, ofJustice Interrupted: The Struggle for Constitutional Government in the Middle East (Harvard, 2013). Her first book, Colonial Citizens: Republican Rights, Paternal Privilege, and Gender in French Syria and Lebanon (Columbia, 2000), won two national awards. She is currently working on a book of essays titled “Scarlett O’Hara in Cairo: Cinema and the Politics of Late Colonialism.”

Vassiliki Tsitsopoulou has a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in Cinema and Comparative Literature. Currently she is an adjunct lecturer in Modern Greek at the University of Indiana, Bloomington. She has also held teaching appointments at the University of Notre Dame, Brown University, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the University of the Aegean. Her essays have appeared in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes on Greek cinema and Balkan cinema. She has just completed a multi-year, transatlantic research project on the Ottomans of silent cinema and is working towards its publication.

Mila Turajlic completed her MA in Media and Communication at the London School of Economics having first studied Politics and International Relations at the LSE and Film and TV Production at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. A documentary filmmaker, she has been a guest lecturer at universities in Europe (Sorbonne) and the US (Harvard University, Yale, University of Michigan and University of Chicago), speaking about Yugoslav cinema, the uses of narrative in history films and documentary film production. In 2010 she directed the feature-length documentary Cinema Komunisto about the abandoned state film studios in Belgrade and the central role cinema played in forging the political narrative of Yugoslavia. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in a cotutelle between SciencesPo, Paris and the University of Belgrade.

Marian Ţuţui is a researcher at the Romanian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Art History and professor of cinema history at Hyperion University, Bucharest. Between 1995-2013 he was the curator of the Romanian Film Archive. He is the author of: A Short History of Romanian Cinema (2005, 2011, in Romanian and English); Manakia Bros or the Image of the Balkans (2005, 2009 in Romanian and English); and Orient Express: Romanian and Balkan Cinema (2008, 2011 in Romanian and English). He has edited the volumes Escape from the Balkans (2013) and The Comedy of the Balkans (2014). His film criticism has appeared in numerous international publications. Since 2010 he is the director of Divan Film Festival.

Dario Vidojković works at the Department of History at the University of Regensburg, Germany, where he has studied history, law and politics (MA, PhD). He leads seminars on the Foreign Policy of Wilhelmine Germany from 1890 to 1914, on both World Wars, the Third Reich, on Collaboration and Resistance in World War II and on War propaganda. In addition, Dr. Vidojković has a keen interest in film history. He earned his MA for his thesis on selected Fritz Lang films as contemporary documents of the Weimar Republic. His latest article in print investigates the Serb contribution to the making of the German-produced adventure and Western movies based on Karl May novels. In 2014 he wrote an introduction for the edited war diary written by the German Major Erwein Karl Graf von Eltz, who served with the Cossacks in Yugoslavia in WW II, which was published in December that year. His doctoral thesis about the image of Serbia in German public discourse and diplomacy from 1878 to 1914 was published in March 2015 by the Harrassowitz Publishing House. He reviews books on WWII, the Resistance and Serbian and Yugoslav history at:

Alexander Yanakiev is a film historian, lecturer, critic, and author. He holds a doctorate from the Institute of Art Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences where he is now a full professor. Since he joined the IAS, he has chaired the Department of Cinema and TV and served as the Institute’s deputy director and director. He is also visiting faculty at the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts, the New Bulgarian University, and Sofia University and a member of the European Film Academy. Since 2011 he has been heading the National Research Center for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage. Prof. Yanakiev’s publications include: Bulgarian cinema: An Encyclopedia (2000) and (2003).

Sencer Yeralan is Professor at the Department of Industrial Engineering at Yaşar University and a Courtesy Professor at the University of Florida. Reflecting his studies in anthropology, his recent research focuses on the intersection of engineering and the social sciences. Prof. Yeralan teaches courses on globalization, technology, and philosophy. He is also the producer and host of a weekly radio programme on popular science.