A remarkable ecosystem straddling the border between Albania and Montenegro, Lake Skadar makes a picturesque backdrop for a region in flux.
Ardian Broja is on the lake each morning before dawn, setting nets and reeling in the day's catch. There is an inherent beauty to his daily tasks, colored by solitude and even a touch of danger. But to him it's a job like any other: time spent in exchange for money, to heat his home and feed his family. For decades, he's relied on the lake and its fish for just that, but things have changed. Overfishing and destructive fishing methods are threatening Lake Skadar's ecosystem, and the livelihoods of fishermen like Broja.
This film chronicles a day in the life of a fisherman on Lake Skadar, detailing the sometimes uneasy partnership he and his neighbors have formed with local and multinational authorities. As Broja says, they're now united towards the same goal: "If the rules are respected, there will be more fish, and the future will be better."
Surrounding the production of this video, we spent a year in the Balkans, working with local and international cultural and natural preservation organizations on a variety of projects. Even major international organizations have learned that, in order to be effective, they must work hand-in-hand with local stakeholders to bring about meaningful change. This video attempts to attach a face, and a story, to the larger narrative of Albanian conservation movements.