Producers: Eno Milkani (Bunker Film +, Albania), Besnik Krapi (Circle Production, Kosovo), Goran Stojilkovic (Award Film & Video, Macedonia)
Production dates: Early October – Late November 2017
Funding: Albanian National Center of Cinematography, Kosovo Cinematography Centre, SEE Cinema Network, Star Media – Ukraine
Macedonian Film Agency
Creative Europe – MEDIA
Albanian-born filmmaker Florenc Papas studied film directing and screenwriting in Albania, at the prestigious Marubi Film Academy. After graduation, he developed his craft working in numerous short films, promotional videos, television series and broadcast documentaries. In 2013, he served on the crew of the feature film Bota (hyperlink: http://erafilm-albania.com/index.php/movies/bota) and in 2016 was the assistant director on Sundance award-winning Kosovo director Blerta Zeqiri’s debut feature The Marriage (currently in post-production). Since 2015, Papas is one of the programmer for the annual Tirana International Film Festival as well as TIFF’s doc fest, Docutiff. He recently participated in Talents Sarajevo 2015, Berlinale Talents 2016, Midpoint 2016, and PriForum 2016. Open Door will be his debut feature film.
Rudina, our story’s heroine, married to a man who is an immigrant in Greece, after her routine care to her sick in-laws, leaves the house, goes to pick up her five year old son Orjon from school, then hurries to the main port of Albania to meet her younger sister Elma, who is returning from Italy after a long absence.
When Elma gets off the ferry, Rudina is disappointed to find out that her sister is very pregnant. Months before, Rudina had loaned Elma the money to get an abortion, after Elma was abandoned by her Albanian boyfriend.
Rudina, Elma and Orjon set off on a long car journey to the village of their strict and traditional middle-aged father who keeps calling continuously. Rudina’s plan is to meet their father, who will surely be more than upset to find Elma pregnant, and head back to her own home to make care for her husband’s parents. As Rudina’s car slowly makes its way across southern Albania, Elma does everything she can to stop her sister from getting to their destination.
Open Door will be a film about human relationships and the burden of society’s customs and traditions. How to find decency in a patriarchal society where it depends on traditional values and not on the real values of human relationships, tends to be my premise.
The story of Open Door follows two sisters, Rudina and Elma, who are unable to go to their father’s home owing to the fact that the younger of the two, Elma, returns from abroad pregnant and unmarried.
As a younger filmmaker coming from a certain generation, I feel tremendous empathy and fascination for these characters. I find myself particularly drawn to this confrontation between the traditional values of our parents and real human values. Perhaps this is the one thing ideology has not been able to impact: the very specific nature of the Albanian family. The characteristics of these clans are often marked by an extremely stubborn and serious father, a long-suffering, hard working mother, and children who attempt to live their own lives but feel they must please their parents.
For me as a director, the inner workings and dynamics inside families, Albanian and otherwise, are the compelling material of which great cinema is made. The sisters in my story go to ridiculous lengths to please their father by producing a pretend husband for his benefit; a length that puts their lives in danger.
For me, this absurdity perfectly captures the awful, tragic and sometimes humorous social landscape that marks Albania in the past twenty years.