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HIVE, Greenwich International Film Festival 2022 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen and Edward F. Nesta   
HIVE-GIFF-2022-Sundance_Poster
Never underestimate the power of a woman, or in the case of the award-winning film HIVE, the power of many women. The film is based on the true story of Fahrije Hoti who inspires her neighbors with her enterprising spirit to provide for their families after the war in Kosovo (1998-1999) when so many men from their village went missing. Shown as part of the Greenwich International Film Festival 2022, it is a "must see" film.

 

HIVE - GIFF - 2022 

We had the pleasure of attending the Greenwich International Film Festival's presentation of HIVE at the Avon Theatre in Stamford, Connecticut on Thursday, April 2022. Avon Executive Director Stuart Adelberg introduced Wendy Stapleton, Chairman of the Board and Founder and Ginger Stickel, Executive Director of the women-owned, non-profit, Greenwich International Film Festival.
Wendy Stapleton - GIFF
Wendy Stapleton, Chariman of the Board and Founder 

Special guests at the showing included lead actor Yllka Gashi who portrayed Fahrije, the Lukaj Foundation, World Affairs Forum, Albanian Youth Center of Greenwich, Albanian Institute and Local Stamford chapter of the Albanian Writers Association, StoneCastle Vineyards, Stamford Çka Ka Qellu, and Doro.  

We have attended the Greenwich International Film Festival since 2017, and are always impressed with the high-caliber, impactful films that they bring each year. HIVE was another film that made an impact. Written and directed by Blerta Basholli, HIVE is based on the true story of a Kosovan woman Fahrije Hoti. It is a powerful film that delves into the aftereffects of war and how the survivors must learn to adapt to survive. It is an award-winning film that took home three awards from the Sundance Film Festival in 2021, which was the first film in the history of the Sundance Film Festival to win all three main awards, the Grand Jury Prize, the Audiences Award, and the Directing Award. 

Ginger Stickel - GIFF
Ginger Stickel, Executive Director

During the war in Kosovo (1998 - 1999), many men were taken from their villages, with the families living in limbo wondering if they would ever return. Afterwards, life for the families was a daily struggle rife with emotional turmoil whenever the trucks would arrive carrying personal items and clothing found that could be from the missing men. For some families, this would bring closure as they identified a jacket or a watch, while for others they would never know what happened to their loved ones. 

For Fahrije and the widows of her village, there was also the daily struggle of how to provide for their families. Living in a male dominated society, the women had to learn to fight against this stigma for their right to earn money to support their families. She has two children she must care and provide for, as well as her wheelchair-bound father-in-law. When her beekeeping efforts making honey, which her father-in-law sells at a local farmers' market does not bring in enough money for the family, she must look to other avenues. In a society that frowns on women working, she must also learn to find the courage to defy tradition. 

Enlisting the help of other widows living in similar situations, Fahrije convinces them that they must band together for their right to earn money to support their families. The women confront many obstacles and challenges along the way including the right to learn to drive a car. The women's main skills are cooking, and they meet with a supermarket owner to discuss making ajvar, a traditional red pepper condiment to be sold in the store. It is through the sale of ajvar that they are able to achieve financial stability and build a sense of community and pride in their ability. 

HIVE Q&A - Colleen Complex and Yllka Gashi
Q&A - Moderator Colleen Complex & Yllka Gashi

Actor Yllka Gashi portrays Fahrije with compassion and brings her story and that of the women of Kosovo to light. A powerful film beautifully told with passion, sadness, and a touch of humor that saves the day. Never underestimate the power of women, they can achieve anything as this film clearly demonstrates. After the film there was a wonderful Q&A with Yllka Gashi and Moderator Colleen Complex discussing the making of the film and the powerful effect it had on the cast. 

Yllka Gashi
Yllka Gashi

For information on how to purchase ajvar, please visit the website: https://albproducts.com/collections/jarred-foods/ajvar 

The Greenwich International Film Festival has year-round programming and special events including their upcoming Changemaker Gala on May 25, 2022, honoring Lin Manuel Miranda. 

For more information on the Greenwich International Film Festival, please visit their website: www.greenwichfilm.org. 

Greenwich International Film Festival 

Greenwich International Film Festival
55 Old Field Point Road
Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
United States
Telephone: +203-717-1800
Fax: +1-203-717-1804
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: www.greenwichfilm.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/greenwichfilm
Instagram: www.instagram.com/greenwichfilm/ 

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