Media production training program with journalism students in Albania

We were honored to work with over 60 journalism students from across Albania to share new media production techniques and to produce documentary films about what justice means to them.

We were thrilled when we were first asked to support the USAID/Albania Justice for All project in the fall of 2019. We were tasked with working with 60 journalism students from across Albania to share new media production techniques and to produce documentary films about justice in Albania. At the conclusion, we could share their films at the Albanian Food and Film Festival. To us, this project was a perfect fit.

While the COVID-19 pandemic took the focus of the entire world in 2020, we didn’t give up. Even more importantly, the students remained committed. At the end of this project, we are enormously proud that while COVID certainly changed everything we had planned for the year, it made this project more memorable and successful in every single way.

Find out how we managed to do all of this below in three stages, followed by the amazing Film Festival we conducted across three continents, links to documentary films produced, and a special bonus production activity at the end.




Rana Labs arrived in Shkodër and Elbasan in February 2020, working with 30 students in two universities. Our team came with mobile filmmaking kits comprised of Google Pixels, gimbals, microphones, laptops, lights, and other gear. At each university, the students worked in groups to develop their ideas for films they wanted to produce about justice in Albania. Over the course of 6 days in each location, we practiced with equipment, wrote storyboards, and at the end, they pitched their ideas for the films they wanted to produce.

“During the pandemic, we worked remotely for several months. We took advantage of lockdown periods to work on our storyboards in Google Docs, have regular Zoom calls to catch up and discuss story ideas, and plan for the next workshop”




We were finally able to return to Albania in October 2020. This time, students were ready to begin creating their films. Working with a seasoned television producer from the Rana Labs team, students worked for several days to interview their subjects, create shot lists, film b-roll, and ensure that all of the content they needed for their film was ready for editing.

In total, eight films were produced in many different regions of Albania. Each story featured Albanian voices telling stories of what justice means to them. Some films were in first-person documentary format, while others used third-person narration to tell a visual story.


Post-Production Workshop


Now the time had come! We had our footage ready, our storyboards and shot lists in hand, and our laptops open. To create our films, the students learned how to use Adobe Premiere Rush for the first time. They first created the story arc, cutting the narratives to match the storyboard. Once we agreed the story had been assembled correctly, we added b-roll, music, on-screen text, and the ending credits. Watching the students learn Premiere Rush was an incredible experience – it made for an intuitive, fun, and hands-on learning process.
Watch the Student Films!


Film Festival: January 19, 2021

Leading up to the film festival, we hosted an online voting platform for students to get as many votes as they could for their films. The votes they received, and more. Beyond this platform, we counted the number of views each film received on YouTube and Instagram. All of the films did tremendously well, and many groups got a lot of votes and views!

The U.S. and U.K. Ambassadors to Albania joined the film festival to share in some of the awards announcements. Five jurors provided expert advice to the students on how they could continue to improve in filmmaking. Rana Labs team members from Kampala, Guatemala City, Washington D.C., and Jerusalem participated in the event.

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We Hired Our Students

You read that right! We issued a call for Production Assistants to join us in the final task of this project: The production of seven more films, this time about the Justice for All project itself. As we commonly do for organizations worldwide, the project wanted to document success stories over the five years working in Albania. However, we didn’t want to do this without some of Albani’s most talented new content creators. Our former students! We hired six of them as paid interns to work with us in developing storyboards, conducting interviews, writing transcripts, and assembling story arcs in the editing phase. We successfully produced all of the films and could not have done it without our talented team.