LAB 2013-2014 > Biljana Garvanlieva & Sarah Francis – Glow of the metropolis

Biljana Garvanlieva & Sarah Francis – Glow of the metropolis

Biljana Garvanlieva


Biljana was born in Skopje, Macedonia in 1973. After studying dramaturgy in Skopje, in 1999 she received a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to study theater and film at the Free University of Berlin (Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin). She currently lives and works in Berlin and Skopje as a freelance author and director of documentary films. In 2006 she directed her first documentary for the TV network 3sat entitled 'Macedonian Dream. A girl and her accordion', which has won several awards, including the 'German Oscar' - 'Golden Lola' German Short Film Award. In 2009 she followed up her previous success with 'Tobacco Girl', which has received numerous awards for its direction, including Nomination for the German Short Film Award 'Golden Lola' and 'Juliane Bartel' German Media Award. In 2010, Garvanlieva was awarded the 'Heart of Sarajevo' prize for Best Documentary at the 16th Sarajevo Film Festival, for her documentary film 'The Seamstresses'.

Sarah Francis


Sarah graduated from IESAV (Institut d'Etudes Sceniques et Audiovisuelles - Universite Saint-Joseph, Beirut) in 2005 and her graduation short movie: 'Interferences' won the students' film competition at the European Film Festival 2005. In this very first project, the theme of Beirut city was already present. Sarah later on took Masters Classes in information and communication and participated in filmmaking workshops (Asian Film Academy, South Korea in 2005 among others). Since 2006, she has been working as a freelance director for several production companies as well as on painting and photography. She has just completed her first feature film: 'Birds of September' (with the financial support of AFAC, Screen Institute Beirut and Doha Film Institute) and is currently working on a video for Ashkal Alwan 'Video Works 2014'.


Glow of the metropolis


In Skopje, Macedonia a cleaner is cleaning the new public bronze statues. These 200 million dollar statues are imposing representations of warriors, mothers, inspired from classical Antiquity. As the film develops, cleaning these huge controversial monuments brings us closer to the intimacy of the cleaner as an individual and more specifically to the action of cleaning itself. In Beirut, Lebanon several persons are cleaning : They clean their body, clothes, the dishes, objects around them, their house, then public space. We explore how this daily repetitive action can vary from an intimate meditative ritual to a compulsive gesture to release emotional tension while aiming at removing so called 'dirt' from ourselves, or our environment. And while this same physical action can carry so many layers (functional, personal, social and so on); public cleaning both in Skopje and Beirut, two cities in search of a new image and trying to redefine themselves, can become a metaphor for polishing and maintaining a social image which is far from the reality of its citizens.