|Tomka Dhe Shokët e Tij / Tomka and His Friends|
Director: Xhanfise Keko
Screenwriter: Nasho Jorgaqi
Music: Aleksandër Lalo
Producer: Kinostudio “Shqipëria e re”
Director of Photography: Faruk Basha
Art Director: Shyqyri Sako
Sound Designer: Vangjel Leka
Film Editor: Shpresa Papapavllo
Length: 72 min
Cast: Enea Zheku, Herion Mustafaraj, Genci Mosho, Artan Puto, Selma Sotillari, Fluranc Ilia, Sotiraq Çili, Pavlina Oça, Zehrudin Dokle
Best known outside of Albania for Beni Ecën Vetë (Beni Walks On His Own, 1975) Keko studied film editing in Moscow, then returned to Albania in 1952 to work at the newly-funded Kinostudio Shqipëria e Re. During the half-century of communist rule, Xhanfise Keko (1928-2007), was Albania’s most famous female filmmaker, and remains an undiscovered master director of children’s films. By 1972, she had edited hundreds of fiction films, newsreels and documentaries. In 1973, she moved into directing with the first of her 10 renowned children’s films, Mimoza Llastica (Spoiled Mimoza) Tomka Dhe Shokët e Tij (Tomka and His Friends) is one of her crowning achievements in her 35 years of filmmaking. Keko edited and directed this “child spy” tale set in WWII that follows a group of young, barefoot boys who help the Albanian partisans defeat a squad of German troops who have decided to camp on their soccer field. The naturalistic performances of the child actors are a hallmark of her film style. The restored version of the film Tomka and His Friends is made thanks to the support and the collaboration of the US Library of Congress Audiovisual Conservation Center and The Albanian Cinema Project which proudly premiere this restoration work in the 12th edition of Tirana International Film Festival.
The Albanian Cinema Project
Is an initiative to bring much needed awareness, attention and assistance to the current plight of the Arkivi Qendror Shteteror I Filmit (Albanian Film Archive). Working with the support of the Albanian Ministry of Culture, the US Embassy in Tirana, the Albanian National Center of Cinematography, the Albanian Film Commission, the Association of Moving Image Archivists and concerned members of the international film and film archives community, the Albanian Cinema Project is dedicated to preserving, restoring and promoting Albanian film heritage.