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News 02 Aug 16

Kosovo Film Festival Starts Without State Cash

Days ahead of the start of the Prizren documentary and short film festival, organisers of Dokufest say that while authorities in Kosovo pledged to help, they have not yet handed over a penny.

Die Morina
Photo by: BIRN

Dokufest organizers, presenting the full schedule of the festival on Monday that runs from August 5-13 in Prizren, say this year's festival will be run without any state aid.

Kosovo's Ministry of Culture, the biggest funder of the festival, offered 30,000 euros that was due to cover 20 per cent of the total expanses.

But Eroll Bilibani, executive director of Dokufest, said they had not received any cash from the ministry.

“Kosovo institutions use every opportunity to mention how proud they are of Dokufest. But unfortunately this year we did not have any support from any ministry - the Municipality of Prizren and the Ministry of Culture have yet to transfer any funds,” Bilibani said.

The Culture Ministry and the Municipality of Prizren did not respond to BIRN's own questions about this delay.

However, the festival will continue, organizers say, and there will be a bigger number of police and other security authorities monitoring each point where festival is held.

Dokufest director Nita Deda said that everything was being done to mark Prizren once again as an important city on the cultural map.

“This year we had a record number of film applications. We selected 238 of over 5,000 films that applied. This makes it the festival's biggest and most qualitative program," Deda said.

“Corruption” is the main topic and slogan of this edition, and its social consequences will be explored through films, discussions and workshops with international and local film makers and experts.

Festival artistic director Veton Nurkollari said that apart from the usual competition categories, a category will also be dedicated to film directors who died last year.

“Two of the most famous films of Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, 'Taste of Cherry' and 'Close Up' will be screened in honour of this artist while in honour of Belgian director Chantal Akerman there will be a world premiere of an interview she had in Prishtina a year before she died,” Nurkollari said.

There will be 10 national premieres that short films program selector Samir Karahoda said would be very important for the festival.

Karahoda added that “Home”, a  co-production of Dokufest's, which has already been nominated for the European Film Academy awards, will be screended.

Famous musicians will be on hand for the DokuNights program, too.

Omar Souleyman from Syria will open the festival concert while Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan will perform on the last night, dedicating her art to lovers.

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