16th to 24th August 2014: DokuFest in Prizren


On Saturday, 16th August 2014, after being served drinks at the entrance of the Cinema Bahce and seated in the open air cinema with the moon shining above, the invited guests were taken by the opening ceremony with students and Veton Nurkollari, the festival's creative director.


Then the documentary "Everyday Rebellion" of the brothers Arman T.Riahi and Arash T. Riahi started.  This film  wants to  inform the audience about non-violent forms of protest and disobedience in the 21st century. Some may have questioned this non violent approach when watching or hearing that putting grafity is a very effective non violent tool or the actionism by a naked lady protester cutting a cross with a chain saw? It certainly achieved what documentaries are all about ....initiating discussions.....raising questions...... and maybe even bringing change?


Even though the organizers of DokuFest didn't expect themselves such a big audience for the Austrian Experimental Shorts Tscherkassky's Dream Works, the small Kino Klubi was nearly full and after talking with some people who watched these sequences of short films, the feedback was very positive.


In the film "Hoop dreams" from Steve James (SHBA, USA 1994) two African-American teenagers are followed who were recruited by a scout from a high school with an outstanding basketball program. Even though the film takes about 3 hrs, one is never bored, not even one single minute, but always captivated, what happens next in their lives, who will succeed and the end is quite unexpectedly.  


Under a starlit sky,  young Kosovars take their seats alongside tourists and are captivated by the film "Dancing in Jaffa" from Hilla Medalia (Israel 2013). This film tells about the dancer Pierre Dulcine who returns to fulfill his lifelong dream of teaching dance to Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli children. Dance, a great way to overcome hatred and prejudice.



Veton Nurkollari, the festival's creative director, says that DokuFest is producing good news and changes the image of a war-torn and crime-ridden nation into an open minded and cultural interested nation. This year even more than 10,000 tickets have been sold and amongst the festival visitors are about 40 percent foreigners.


"We're trying to tell people that Kosovo is a much safer place, and most people are convinced when they get here," Nurkollari says.



"From a hard-hitting Austrian look at prostitution in Thailand, Bangladesh and Mexico (Whore's Glory), to a camp Spanish rehash of the New Testament (Fist of Jesus), DokuFest reaches far and wide as a counterpoint to the tabloid starlets and trashy pop music scene that have become so prevalent in the Balkans since Yugoslavia's demise," writes Fatos Bytyqi.




Mr. Mathias Kiessler, from the Germnan Embassy said: "It is really difficult to get chosen for the DokuFest because there are nearly 2,400 submissions and only about 230 documentaries are shown at DokuFest this year." 




Soaking in the atmosphere, Johann Brieger, the Austrian Ambassador, says: " A starry sky while you're watching the film, it's an experience you'll never forget.  DokuFest is putting Kosovo well and truly on a cultural map. Congratulations, well done, well organized - simply great experience"


(written by Roswitha Brieger)


For more information please kindly refer to: www.docufest.com