Fresh from the 2017 Cannes Film Festival Jamal Hodge is a multi-award winning director and producer of several films, including The Jump, The Kind Ones, and Knockout Game. While The Kind Ones and Knockout came will continue their festival runs in the Fall, you can catch The Jump in its last theatrical screening at The People’s Film Festival SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 2017, 10:00AM Julia DeBurgos Performing & Arts Center. Or watch on Amazon Prime.
Jamal is currently directing a show pilot called: A Happy Divorce #ahappydivorcefilm. And gearing up for two feature films in 2018. You can connect with him at www.directorhodge.com.
Jamal Hodge’s Review of The New York Albanian Film Week Film Festival
As a guest at the festival and in fact, Albanian culture, I must say being on the jury of the 6th annual Albanian Film Week was a fantastic artistic and emotional experience. The Albanian people are not quick to trust but once you’re adopted into the club you’re treated like family. My fellow members of the jury Fatrin Krajka, Lulzim Guhelli, Amina Zhaman, Diar Xani whom I shared four epic nights with, all came to the process from varying perspectives and tastes. They were fair, fun, and passionate. Maybe a little insane in that endearing Albanian way I came to enjoy.
The queen of the festival Mrika Krasniqi, is a work of art pretending to be a mere human. She brought such vision to the festival, and kept the experience bright for all involved, I cannot say enough about her commitment to the maturing Albanian film Industry.
The films themselves were impressive for their budgets and their rich variety. Of course, many films did focus on the lingering spiritual miseries of the war. But that is to be expected from a generation of filmmakers that have endured life’s cruelest experiences. Home Sweet Home, which won the Best Picture Award, told a somber tale of a man returning home after being presumed dead only to find that his coming back to life might mean the death of his family’s future. It truly moved me, gave me a deeper understanding of the Albanian people. And saw its lead Actor and Actress walk off with Best Actor and Best Actress Awards.
Director Iber Deari walked off with ‘Best Director’ for his thrilling work in A Long Way Home and Toka. He also got the best short film nod. His films showed the bright future for Albanian thrillers and action movies, and were my personal favorites.
Mirsad Abazi, Amina Zhaman, Mrika Krasniqi, Iber Deari, Lulzim Guhelli, Diar Xani, Nazim Salihu (NY Elite Magazine Photography)
Then we had the unforgettable imagery and poetry of ‘Eho’. A film distinctly Albanian and so far removed from the American Hollywood model that at first it left me confused, before a night of reflection revealed its true beauty and intention.
In conclusion, the young Albanian film industry is on a collision course with greatness if they can acquire larger budgets and spend more time committed to pre-production and not just on getting the work done. With more time spent on story and the revelations of life beyond the war, I feel Albanian films will take the global market by storm. They have the advantage of a strong community and a strong legacy of pain that they can draw from to infuse their films with meaning and character that can touch the human heart no matter where you come from or what your race or history might be.
It was my honor to serve on the Jury.
Amina Zhaman, Jamal Hodge, Ermira Babamusta on the NYAFW Red Carpet (Photo by Beqir Sina)
Amina Zhaman, Lulzim Guhelli, Ermira Babamusta, Diar Xani, Jamal Hodge (Photo by NY Elite)
Fatrin Krajka, Lulzim Guhelli, Amina Zhaman, Mrika Krasniqi, Diar Xani, Jamal Hodge (Photo by NY Elite)
Jamal Hodge, Marko Caka, Lulzim Guhelli, Fatrin Krajka (Photo by NY Elite)
Jamal Hodge and Nazim Salihu (Innovation Media New York Photography)