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Fluturat - Butterflies

On October 15, 2022, ACDA, in collaboration with RH Scholarship, organized the premiere of the documentary film "Butterflies" in Toronto, directed by Bujar Alimani.

The film is a recent creation aiming to stir the collective memory regarding the crimes of the communist dictatorship in Albania. It delves into the facts of the lives of 21 women who were interned in the 1960s-1990s. These women belonged to families persecuted by the communist government.

The documentary film portrays the criminal nature of the dictatorship in Albania through the experiences and narratives of these women. It sheds light on the tortures, persecutions, and inhumane conditions they faced in the internment camps.

The idea for this movie originated in a meeting where the producer acquainted himself with the 21 characters of the film and their stories of persecution by communist regime. Their strong social and spiritual connection persisted through regular meetings, despite being scattered around the world. What bonded these women together was their past, the years of internment together in the Gradishtë Sector (the official term for the place where families condemned by the communist government were interned). 'Gradishtë Sector' was a territory with minimal living conditions, located in an isolated area of the city of Lushnjë.

Persecution, dispossession, and internment of "enemy families" were among the methods employed by the regime to eliminate political opponents, spread terror, and establish dictatorship. For about 8 years, 6 concentration camps were open, surrounded by fences, where primarily women, elderly, and children of those who had escaped, been sentenced, or executed were interned. During the years 1944-1990, around 20,000 families were interned for political reasons, including 7,022 individuals of various ages. Among them, children up to 80 years old lost their lives in the internment zones.

By reviving the memories and experiences of these 21 women under the communist dictatorship, Alimani compels us to see the cruelty of the dictatorship from another perspective, that of women in persecution. He shows how the difficulties and sufferings faced by this group were of a different magnitude in communist Albania. The harrowing stories of the documentary's characters served as a testimony not only to their suffering but also to human values: strength, dignity, resilience, and solidarity.

The film stirred emotions and received accolades and appreciation from the audience as an excellent service rendered to Albanian history, memory, and collective consciousness.

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