Three Windows and a Hanging is Kosovo’s first ever Oscar candidate
by Vladan Petkovic
- Macedonia selects To the Hilt, Bosnia chooses With Mom, and Slovenia sends Seduce Me
The Cineuropa Award winner from Sarajevo, Isa Qosja’s Three Windows and a Hanging [+see also:
interview: Arben Zharku
interview: Isa Qosja
film profile] (read the interview), has been selected as Kosovo’s Academy Awards candidate for Best Foreign-language Film. This is the first Oscar submission from the country, which has not been eligible for consideration until now.
“In 2011, we sent a request to the Academy to accept a nomination from us,” says Fatos Berisha, the former head of the Kosovo Cinematography Centre and now the artistic director of Prishtina’s PriFest. “But I received the answer that Kosovo was not eligible, as it was not a member of the United Nations.
“However, I did some research and found out that there is no such regulation in the Academy’s rules, and that five non-UN countries had submitted films in previous years. We started lobbying with some former Oscar winners, and the US Embassy in Prishtina.”
The crucial moment was current KCC director Arben Zharku’s visit to Tribeca, where he met with the members of the Board of the Academy. He says, “I explained the current situation that Kosovan cinema finds itself in, that there is now more money and a stronger infrastructure, and that more films are coming. By the end of May, the Board had decided to agree to Kosovo submitting films from this year.”
The film was developed thanks to awards from Sarajevo's CineLink and Connecting Cottbus. “Primarily, this has a symbolic meaning for the Kosovan film industry,” adds Berisha. “But it will also be a good marketing tool for the promotion and placement of this and other Kosovan films on the international market.”
Meanwhile, another Cineuropa Award winner has been selected as an Oscar candidate: Faruk Lončarević’s With Mom [+see also:
interview: Faruk Loncarevic
film profile], which received the prize at last year's Sarajevo Film Festival (watch the video interview), will represent Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Marko Šantić’s Seduce Me [+see also:
interview: Marko Santic
film profile] will compete for Slovenia. The coming-of-age story earned Šantić the Best Director Award at last year’s Festival of Slovene Film in Portorose and a Special Mention at Warsaw (watch the video interview).
Finally, Macedonia is sending Stole Popov’s To the Hilt, which premiered last week at the Manaki Brothers International Cinematographers’ Film Festival in Bitola. The historical epic set in 1903 has just been released in the territory.