News 29 Feb 16

Kosovo Film Makes History Despite Oscars Disappointment

The short film ‘Shok’ (‘Friend’) failed to win an Oscar but the conflict drama made history for being the first movie shot in Kosovo ever to be nominated for a prestigious Hollywood award.

Erjone Popova
BIRN
Pristina
The 'Shok' crew at the Oscars ceremony in Hollywood. Photo: Facebook.

Many people in Kosovo stayed up until five o’clock in the morning on Monday watching the Oscars ceremony but their hopes of ‘Shok’ winning the award for Best Short Film were ultimately dashed.

The 21-minute movie based on true stories from 1998 and directed by British film-maker Jamie Donoughue was the first-ever Kosovo-made film to be nominated for an Academy Award, which President Atifete Jahjaga said was a victory in itself.

“Shok is our winner,” Jahjaga wrote on Facebook after the ceremony.

Prime Minister Isa Mustafa expressed pride that the film had received such acclaim.

“‘Shok’ made many friends for Kosovo. The world recognised and appreciated Kosovo for what it is, a wonderful place of talented people,” Mustafa said.

Donoughue said the crew were disappointed but thanked the people of Kosovo for their support.

“We worked so hard to bring the Oscar home but this time it wasn’t to be,” he said.

The film looks at how the conflict with Serbian forces affects the lives of two 12-year-old boys and the strains it puts on their friendship.

Donoughue told BIRN in an interview last month that he wanted to explore an important period in history that he felt has not been properly documented.

“Many people are unaware of what happened in the region and lessons of past (and indeed present) conflicts have not been learnt,” he said.

“More so however I wanted to tell a story of ordinary people, who are the true victims of war, as well as explore how a nation can positively rebuild and move forward,” he added.

The British ambassador in Pristina, Ruairi O’Connell, watched the Oscars ceremony with President Jahjaga and congratulated the film-makers for telling an important story.

“Cheers for the amazing achievement of creating a film like ‘Shok’ that gave the world the sense of life in Kosovo in 1998,” O’Connell said.

The Best Short Film award was won by Irish production ‘Stutterer’.

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