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More about "The Poor Cousin" Screenings

November 3 / 2016

Screening The Poor Cousin Documentary at Cine TRIANON

May 13-15 / 2016

Filming at the municipality of Caltanissetta in Italy

Interviewees for the “The Poor Cousin” documentary were identified through preliminary field research carried out by PRISM in the town of Caltanissetta based on participants’ interest in the topic and their involvement in the local community. The resulting group of respondents, however, was particularly heterogeneous in terms of their professional and educational backgrounds: from young people involved in local recreation activities to active, colorful pensioners and from professionals active in the promotion of the region to the host of a radio show at a local broadcaster.

Another important aspect which resulted from many interviews, is that each one of them, having a strong knowledge about the town and its citizens, had clear ideas on how these funds may be well spent. Many ideas, many tips (to forward to those who manages these funds) have come out during interviews and for this reasons the results of the interviews and the level of involvement of respondents, bodes well for a product in line with the project & expectations and aims.
Moreover, a good promotion of the project, at local level, has been assured by the radio interview made at local radio station (Radio CL1) to Nikos Papakostas (Inter Alia) and Alessandro Melillo (PRISM), giving resonance to the project and to the activities carried out at local and European level.

April 25-28 / 2016

Filming in Bacau, Romania
The shooting of the sequences for the documentary filmed in the context of the “Ask the local” project took place in the Bacau Municipality and the commune of Horgești, in the period 25th – 28th of April 2016. 8 persons from different social context, education and different background answered to our questions: from activists in the field of ecology, to retired persons and employees from NGO’s were interviewed. Even though the selected interviewees are living in the same town and region, the way they perceive the corruption phenomena is different.We heard many stories about "fairies" who hijacks European funds to make fictitious schools, build roads that were broken a few months later or how corruption stood in the way of development of the rural communities over the past 20 years.

April 11-13 / 2016

Shooting in Krusevo, Macedonia (FYR)
The filmmaking process in Krusevo for the upcoming “The Poor Relative” documentary started with “casting” the main protagonists. Throughout this preparatory stage the working group from Youth Alliance-Krusevoidentified the most relevant and captivating stories from the locals. Selected stories were closely related to the main aim of the project, that is, to utilize small community structure and dynamics for enhancing accessibility and effectiveness of allocation of EU resources, thus attempting to involve citizens and stakeholders who rarely have a chance to contribute in the process of building a European narrative. When the protagonists were finalized and noteworthy stories were found we entered the phase of filming.
The production team from Athens arrived in Krusevo on the 11th of April. The YAK’s working group along with the production team of the documentary filmed 10 local citizens who were willing to share their stories, perspectives and experiences regarding the local storyline of funds misuse and the level of corruption in the particular region. There was an assortmentofindividuals who stood in front of the camera. This is demonstrated by diverse profile regardinggender, age, professions, cultural backgrounds, religion, social status and political views.

April 9-10 / 2016

Filming in Bujanovac and Presevo
The first footage and interviews were taken in the Albanian-speaking village of Letovica at the municipality of Bujanovac. Out of the approximately 2000 residents living in this village, almost half of this population lives abroad (850). What is noteworthy about Letovica is that, according to residents, while the neighborhood has 15 doctors of different specialization all are displaced and the village has no ambulance.
The first interview we conducted was with Mrs. Rukije, an unemployed Albanian language teacher, mother of 4 children, whose husband lives in Austria. The interview took place in the family house. The discussion was about EU investments, how central and local government use these investments, the impact of these investments to the public, about how people see the process of integration and themselves in the EU and the current situation.
The second interview was with Abdullah Saqipi, a teacher of machinery in secondary school. Abudllah is also from Letovica. He is married and has 3 children, one of which now lives abroad. He runs a private business, installation of electricity. He is grateful to EU investments in the period 2002-2008, but thinks that the local community is now forgotten not only by the government, but also by the EU: “I thought that we will have a quality education with new infrastructure, but I was wrong. Now we are missing the elementary things in school, books. We do not have books due to political reasons, no one is asking us about anything, we do not participate in any process that is important for our future lives. The problem is that people want to go aboard. EU integration is an alternative, but if it keeps going this slow, if this integration does not happen soon, this ship will be reversed.”

The fourth interview was taken in Serbian village Ljiljance, municipality of Bujanovac. We spoke with Lidija Stojkovic, an unemployed biology teacher and a widow, mother of two daughters and a son. “Both Albanians and Serbs are leaving their country in search of a better life. People have expected more from the EU, but now their expectations are waning. If a little investment in infrastructure does not appear, one day these roads and schools will remain without people. European investments have a good side. People are starting to be active citizens and this certainly is a success.”  
The fifth interview took place in Bujanovac, Salim and Sukri Demirovic, father and son. Both of them work in non-governmental Roma humanitarian center. The interview took place at their working place. The Demirovic family were subsidized with a recycling machinery plastic by the EU and they use this machinery to help Roma community. “Conditions in the Roma community are very bad. Among the Roma community there is over 80% unemployment, lack of personal documents, children who do not attend school regularly, children on the streets, the streets where they live that are unbuilt. Steps to integrate this community are small and there is lack of commitment of central and local government to improve the situation. An alternative from this community is integration in the EU. However, the community considers that it is forgotten in this region, that investments are going only in big cities.”

April 6-8 / 2016

Filming in Bulgaria
Shooting a documentary in Pirdop's nearabouts
Public funds use and abuse have been studied through a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods and investigative journalists have filmed a lot of cases, including with hidden camera. “Ask the locals”, or as its partners and participants call it “ALO!”project, takes a different approach to the subject.
Through ethnographic observations, face-to-face interviews and group discussions the ALO! team prepared for the filming of citizens’ perceptions and attitudes towards the use of EU funds in their small villages/towns. The Center for the Study of Democracy, InterAlia’s partner for Bulgaria, chose the town of Pirdop and two villages - Chavdar and Tsurkvishte (Churchville) located approximately 70 eastwards from Sofia in between two mountains.
The team was formed by Maggy, a sociologist, Dimitar, political scientist and former UN Youth Delegate of Bulgaria, and Chris, also a political scientist, all of whom are newly graduated from universities in Bulgaria and the United Kingdom. The team did 48 interviews in March and recruited over a dozen volunteers of all ages to take part in the film. The actual shooting took place on April 7th and 8th in various places – a church, playground, a cafeteria of the pensioners’ club, restaurant, sports club and a trail in the woods. We are not going to reveal all that you are going to see, however you can expect to hear from people from Chavdar Municipality, young people from the area of Pirdop, as well as some very special appearances from the extremely friendly ladies from Chavdar pensioners’ club. All of them were excited to contribute and share their stories and impressions from the use of EU funds and the level of development of their region.

May 14/2016

Interview at RADIO CL1

Ask the Locals! project manager Nikos Papakostas, along with the president of PRISM Alessandro Mellilo discuss with Maurizio Diliberto about ALO! and the multiple ongoing crises in Europe. Audio in Italian and English. Enjoy!

April 21/2016 - April 22/2016

Mid-term Meeting– Sofia, Bulgaria
Entering the second half of its life, “Ask the Locals!” project has already stepped into its most creative and crucial period. This includes the last phase of filming, the exploitation the documentary movie through participation in local, national and international festivals as well as the realization of an awareness campaign in six partner communities.
Ahead of this busy schedule, project managers and representatives of partner organizations met to evaluate previous phases, handle logistics and practicalities, organize upcoming activities and brainstorm on ways to optimally utilize project results.

March 31/2016 - April 2/2016

Filming at the municipality Georgios Karaiskakis in Greece
The filming of the documentary for the “Ask the Locals!” project started in Greece and in specific in the Georgios Karaiskakis municipality in the Western part of the country on March 31st. Selected respondents who were identified and “recruited” during field research shared stories, perceptions, concerns and hopes about their community with the Inter Alia crew. Has the allocation of EU funding throughout the past 4 decades been effective? Are there stories to be told, indicative of false processes and understanding of sustainable EU resource allocation? Has the crisis brought about change in structures, institutions, mentalities and behaviors? How can citizens contribute to improving allocation of funds in their communities? Are there advantages and opportunities for small communities that can be used for promoting cohesion with the rest of the country and the EU? What does the future of the village, the country and Europe look like for citizens of rural and remote villages?

It appears that while their involvement and benefit from the alleged misallocation of funds is minimal, if not non-existent, its results in the perceptions and feelings of citizens that come from it about the civil society, their region and the country is real and severe. Still, civic engagement and involvement in policy-making in smaller communities is easier to achieve and to be more effective in comparison to larger communities and urban centers.
Shooting in the municipality of Georgios Karaiskakis, the smallest in Greece and one of the poorest in the Eurozone, proved that size does not matter and that wealth is relative notion. Our warmest thanks to Dimitris & Maria, Vangelis, Christos, Kostas, Lampros and Periklis, who opened up their houses, businesses and hearts to share their thoughts, hopes and concerns for the future of their communities but also to the whole municipality that has supported our venture from the onset.

March 12-14/3/2016

Field Research, Arta Region by INTER ALIA
From the 12th until the 14st of March, the Inter Alia Team consisting of Nikos Papakostas, Nikos Pasamitros and Constantina Choumi conducted field research in the Municipalities of Arta and Georgios Karaiskakis (Arta city and Ano Petra, Chelona, Diaselo, Kleidi and Skoulikaria villages) collecting valuable information for the ALO! Project.Surveyed locals answered to structured questions on their perceptions, experience and reactions to fund abuse and fund mismanagement phenomena in their communities.

March 11/3/2016

Info day Arta Region (Arta and G.Karaiskakis Municipalities)
The team of Inter Alia conducted the #ALOcals! info day on the 11th of March informing locals in the city of Arta and the mountainous villages of Kleidi, Diaselo, Ano Petra and Skoulikaria. Due to the region’s geography, the info day was more of an info tour, with the ALO! team wandering the area and informing locals in common places and public spaces like cafes, restaurants, local businesses and the main commercial streets of Arta city and the villages. The Info day crew offered ALO! flyers, briefed those showing extra interest and chatted with the locals that were eager to learn and offer on the subject of the project.

January 30/1/2016

Info day in Caltanissetta, Sicily by PRISM
The infoday in Caltanissetta took place on saturday 30th of January. The meeting, orgnaised by PRISM with the support and the involvement of various local organisation (Casa delle culture e del volontariato, Migranti Solidali etc.) has been the occasion to promote, at local level, the project itself and its aim. The infoday has been divided in two different moments. The first part, managed by Alessandro Melillo of PRISM, with the support and the contribution of the youth involved in the CBA in Greece, has been based on the description of the ALO project.

January 28-29/1/2016

Info day in Bujanovac & Vranje, Serbia

Every other citizen in Bujanovac, which was surveyed within the action Ask the Locals! considered that the process of division of public funds takes place in accordance with party interests and that fraud and abuse in the allocation of funds, whether from the EU or from the state budget a frequent occurrence in their community. In addition to blaming local self-goverenment and politicians for that, citizens blame themselves because they do not report corruption. It is noticeable that they are not sufficiently informed of EU funds, and do not know to whom they can turn to. It is disturbing that almost everyone thinks that the situation is worse than in previous years and not feel improvement. There are people who know about the EU's contribution in his municipality, primarily for the construction of the new building of the department of the Subotica Faculty of Economics.
Fismir Jahiu, coordinator for public policy of the Civic Initiatives.

January 16/1/2016

Info day in Krushevo
Youth Alliance team held its ALO Info Day in Krushevo and had the opportunity to meet the locals. The info day was successfully implemented, the working group was warmly welcomed and the locals were very approachable. They were more than happy to express their opinion and to share their stories and experiences.Stay tuned and patient for the photos of the other info days!

More pictures HERE.

January 10/1/2016

Update from the Bulgarian team
Two months following the capacity-building activity of “Ask the Locals” (ALO!), the participants from the Center of the Study of Democracy have been involved in several initiatives related to the project. Very soon after their return from Skoulikaria, Greece, Kristiyan Braykov, Dimitar Dimitrov, Magdalena Velichkova and Nikol Chumova translated the ALO! questionnaire in Bulgarian and selected a small Bulgarian village where they will ask the locals – the village of Chavdar. The team believes that Chavdar case could serve as a myth/stereotype- buster that EU funds are generally misused and focus on how corruption risks are perceived and being managed both by the municipality and citizens.

December 15/12/2015

Ask the Locals! social media marathon results:

November 24/11/2015

Capacity Building Activity – Skoulikaria & Arta, 10-15 November 2015

Inter Alia and its 5 project partners held a Capacity Building Activity aiming to train participants for the upcoming phases of the Ask the Locals! project. 30 persons from 6 countries (and 10 different nationalities) participated in the second action of the ALO! at the remote village of Skoulikaria, Greece between 10 and 15 November 2015. The whole team of 30 was made up of 6 working groups that will implement the following phases and actions of the project.

Next, participants worked on the topic of corruption and fund abuse. Through formal and non-formal learning activities, they received different inputs about common challenges and potential responses. In order to get a clearer idea about specificities of local agency against corruption, participants met with Periklis Migdos, the mayor of the municipality of Georgios Karaiskakis, while they also discussed some of the issues of the region with Ioannis Papalexis, the former mayor of the city of Arta and the local business consultant, Emily Kokkineli. The day in Arta also included a public discussion with local citizens about the project and a local-band concert organized in the framework of the ALO! project.

For more info, contact:

November 7-10/11/2015

Kick off Meeting

The “Ask the Locals!” project was officially launched! From November 7th to November 10th project partners held a series of meetings regarding the upcoming phases of ALO!. Project managers Todor Yalamov (Center for the Study of Democracy), Petar Zmak (Civic Initiatives), Marian Damoc (Romanian Youth Movement for Democracy), Anelija Mitrova (Youth Alliance), Alessandro Melillo (PRISM) along with Nikos Papakostas, Boyka Boneva and Nikos Pasamitros of Inter Alia discussed in detail about the structure of the project. More specifically, they analyzed the methodology foreseen, the involved communities and their characteristics, the logistics and financial aspects of cooperation, the profile and criteria for choice of the working groups, the exact tools for action during the project phases, the documentary production and the visibility and dissemination strategy.

October 21/10/2015

Call for participants in the working group of “Ask the Locals!” project

Inter Alia is looking for four volunteers who will be involved in the implementation of the “Ask the Locals!” project. Selected participants will attend an international capacity building seminar regarding fund abuse between November 10th and November 15th. Moreover, the working group will conduct field research in the region of Arta in order to draw conclusions on the experience and perceptions of the local population with abuse of resources as well as on ways for effectively addressing it (December 2015). In addition, participants will be involved in identifying suitable respondents for the production of a documentary film that will delivered as part of the project (January 2016). Finally, the working group will assist project coordinators in carrying out an awareness campaign which will inform, train and help the involved communities in partner countries to defend from fund abuse and its repercussions (2 documentary projections followed by public debates – March & May 2016).

For more information you can address your questions to the project manager, Nikos Papakostas at or +306980742148

Inter Alia presented “The Poor Cousin” on a proper setting – on the big screen. A mixed crowd of friends, supporters, stakeholders, partners, contributors and interested individuals was present. The audience generally welcomed and warmly applauded Inter Alia’s first audio-visual venture. The insights of the film raised intense informal debates that took place along with drinks and snacks in the celebration that followed. A big thanks to all of you who joined and supported our movie in the beginning of its promising journey!

This is the 1st trailer of “The Poor Cousin”, the upcoming documentary of the ALO!, Ask the Locals! project implemented by Inter Alia NGO under the Europe for Citizens programme of the EU. The documentary was shot in small communities in Greece, Bulgaria, F.Y.R.Macedonia, Italy, Romania and Serbia. The project explores the EU resource allocation and fund mismanagement and the role of citizens in improving allocation of funds in their communities.

Respondents’ interest in the main theme is shown both by the style and content of their responses. They showed a fairly clear perception of the phenomenon of the use of European funds in the territory, although in many cases, they refrained from making specific references to events or special cases. However, their perception of missed opportunities that the local use of the funds represents, is very clear and well perceived by all respondents.

We heard many stories about "fairies" who hijacks European funds to make fictitious schools, build roads that were broken a few months later or how corruption stood in the way of development of the rural communities over the past 20 years. With this occasion we want to send our thanks to Nikki, Paul, Florin, Cristian, Elena, Petrică, Sorin and Constantin for the fact that they accepted our invitation of sharing their stories about the mismanagement of public funds as well as their perception of the future and the potentials of their community.

Even though the team faced few unpredictable circumstances regarding the setting and the timetable during the filming, in the end, every one of the foreseen goals was achieveddue to the good management, cooperation and, when needed, improvisationof the production team. The coexistenceand collaboration between the filming crew and the working group seemed to be very contributive for finalizing this stage from the project.
The further activities including the actual process of movie making, promotion of the film and raising awareness throughout this documentary film are ongoing and the working group from Krusevo will continue working and supporting each future phase of the “Ask the Locals!” project.

The third interview was with Enis Mehmedi from Presevo, a carpenter who has his own private company called “Europa Aluplast”. The difference between Bujanovac and Presevo is that here there is a large number of private businesses, but on the other hand, compared to Bujanovac, there is less investment from central government and donors. “My company is called “Europe”, but I’m not supported by EU, not because of EU, but because of the local politicians. They, in corporation with EU donors, give donation to companies that are related or support their political party”.

Last interview was with two businessmen in Bujanovac, Ndrçim Hasani, who is the owner of hotel “Rozaf”, and Nexhat Behluli who runs a private media called “Spektri”. Both of them have mentioned the same problems as previous participants. “Although investments in infrastructure exist, the quality of life is not changed. This change will be possible when we as a state become ready to join EU. We must work hard, doesn’t matter if we join EU or not. A reconciliation of peoples is essential to encourage any process forward, if you do not find a solution for this and forget this place, the future does not exist for us.”

You will be surprised that within a perimeter of less than 10 km one can see the differences of engagement and performance and citizens’ appreciation when the mayor fulfills his duties. The team conveyed the message that the ALO! project will seek not only to document the current state of things, but also to facilitate citizens’ engagement towards increasing efficiency of funds use (even in cases where they have already been spent).

The meeting was deemed important by all, not solely for the arrangements that took place, but equally importantly for the enthusiasm, confidence and team spirit it stimulated to project partners.

Read in Greek "HERE"

Such responses fulfilled a dual objective: on the one hand, to gather new information, opinions and stories coming from citizens who rarely have a say about high politics processes such as distribution of resources. On the other hand,to get a grasp of the level of understanding of citizens over highly complex issues such as corruption and allocation of EU resources in remote areas where the level of education is, at best, moderate and state aid in short supply.

The Inter Alia working group recorded local opinions and will analyse the data in order to draw preliminary conclusions. During the field research phase, Inter Alia also located locals that will speak of fund abuse and fund mismanagement on camera in the documentary phase that will follow.

The second part has been structured as a sort of "open space" with the aim of collecting feedbacks, ideas, stories and contribution form the audience attending the meeting. The infoday was also promoted via radio (Radio CL1 - the main local broadcasting). Many good inputs have been collected, and many local people have been already informed about the next steps of the project.
Stay tuned!

The main notion that we received when discussing with local citizens in Vranje in the context of the “Ask the Locals!” project is the perception of is that interests of politics and political parties are above citizens' interest and that is the main cause of corruption in Serbia.
Jelena Velikinac, volunteer in Vranje.

More about Chavdar

6.029 people reached, 282 clicks, 191 Likes, 65 shares, 36 comments Thank you all for your support in our cause : ) People of Greece, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Italy, Serbia and around the globe don't forget, we're all ‪#‎ALOcals!

The CBA moved along three basic axes: a. Information and details regarding the project; b. Corruption-related challenges in partner countries; and c. Preparation for the upcoming phases. Participants were informed about the aims and structure of the project as well as working methods, tools and deliverabless.

In the final phase, together with the project managers of Inter Alia, participants analyzed the process of field research, the documentary production and the awareness campaign and discussed various possible ideas for disseminating the results and ways to meet potential obstacles that might occur during the ALO! project.

Following a fruitful 3 days, the team departed for the second activity of the project, a Capacity Building Activity organized in Skoulikaria, Arta between November 10th and November 15th.

For more info, contact: