ASTER Lifetime Achievement Award Winnner: PIRO MILKANI
PIRO MILKANI (5 January 1939, Korça) is acclaimed Balkan director and a real legend of the Albanian cinema. He is also experienced screenwriter, producer, actor and cinematographer. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (1959–65) with his classmates Jiří Menzel and Juraj Jakubisko. He then worked in his native country for many years as cameraman, director and screenwriter. He made numerous feature films and dozens of documentaries and shorts. He was also an actor, appearing in the Italian film Lamerica (1994) by Gianni Amelio and the Cypriot film And the Train Goes to the Sky (2001) by Yiannis Ioannou. He was Albanian co-producer of the Greek film Ulysses' Gaze (1995) by Theo Angelopoulos. From 1998 to 2002, he was Albania’s ambassador to the Czech Republic and to Slovakia.
His last feature The Sorrow of Mrs. Schneider (co-directed with his son Eno Milkani) tells the story of a group of friends shooting their graduation film about a motorcycle factory. It’s Albania's 2009 Academy Awards official submission to Foreign-Language Film category.
He wrote the book Unbelievable but true (E pabesueshme, por e vërtetë) in 2018.
In 2019 he was awarded by the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs with The Gratias Agit award for the promotion of the good name of the Czech Republic abroad.
Milkani belongs to the most international of Albanian film professionals; he is fluent in Czech, Russian, French, and Italian.
His films are available on the Bunker Film YouTube channel.