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FESTIVALS Kosovo

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Oleg and the Rare Arts, Depth Two and other European documentaries shine at DokuFest

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- A portrait of an unorthodox musician and an examination of a nation’s war crimes have won the international and the Balkan documentary competitions at the young festival

Oleg and the Rare Arts, Depth Two and other European documentaries shine at DokuFest
The winners of the 2016 edition of DokuFest

The 15th edition of DokuFest in Prizren, Kosovo, focusing on both Balkan and international documentaries, came to a close on Sunday 13 August with a ceremony held at the Lumbardhi cinema. Of the 17 films awarded, 15 were either European documentaries or co-produced by a European country. 

The members of the international jury, Carlos Ramos, Jetmir Idrizi, Luke Moody, Nick Pinkerton and Rachael Rakes, awarded Best Film to Oleg and the Rare Arts [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Andrés Duque, a portrait of Oleg Karavajchuk, an eccentric 89-year-old Russian pianist and composer, for letting the main character have “the time and space in which to reveal himself in his own good time”. The jury especially praised the editing for being “strange and deft, picking up tender, brilliant, telling moments in perfect time, seamlessly transitioning between long and short takes”. 

(The article continues below - Commercial information)Cine Iberoamericano Int

The Balkan Dox jury, comprising Eric Hynes, Marek Septimus and Maria Bonsanti, found the winning Serbian-French co-production, Depth Two [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Ognjen Glavonić – an experimental documentary combining spoken testimonies and images of places where Serbian mass killings took place in Kosovo – to be “as cinematically accomplished as it is morally devastating”. They remarked that it placed “the viewer in a position of both historical reflection and present outrage”. 

When it started, three years after the war, DokuFest had no cinemas to screen films in, so today, they are screened above a river, projected onto the walls of a mediaeval fortress and inside a former hamam. This year, the organisers experimented with “sunset cinema” for the first time.

The most pressing issue that Kosovo is facing at the moment, according to artistic director Veton Nurkollari, is corruption, and the organisers felt they needed to address it, hoping that opening up a discussion about it could also serve as a means to help fight it. A film programme entitled “Power, Corruption and Lies”, including the Austrian title A Good American [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, the German-French film Democracy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: David Bernet
film profile
]
and the Slovenian-Croatian co-production Houston, We Have a Problem! [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Žiga Virc
film profile
]
, and a number of panel discussions were presented to tie in with the theme. 

Film production in the region has improved significantly in the past few years thanks to the international success of films, the national film funds opening up to co-productions, and the film training programmes initiated and run by several film festivals in the region, said Nurkollari. In view of the rising quality of Kosovar films, DokuFest has been presenting a yearly national film competition since 2007 as well. This year, a short fiction film about the struggles of acting students coming to terms with the reality of the industry they’re trying to be a part of, A Performance by Dritëro Mehmetaj, won for its “authentic performances, clever scriptwriting and decisive direction”.

Despite insufficient domestic institutional support, this year’s jubilee edition of DokuFest continued the festival’s mission of engaging with the local community, thereby helping to build it up as well.

Here is the complete list of award winners:

Balkan Dox

Best Film
Depth Two [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Ognjen Glavonić (Serbia/France)

Special Mention
Something About Life – Nebojša Slijepčević (Croatia)

Best Newcomer
Tourism – Toni Gacina (Croatia)

Special Mention
Drums of Resistance – Mathieu Jouffre (Kosovo)

International Dox

Best Feature Film
Oleg and the Rare Arts [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Andrés Duque (Spain)

Special Mention
On Football [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Sergio Oksman
film profile
]
– Sergio Oksman (Spain)

Best Short Film
Impressions of a War – Camilo Restrepo (Colombia/France)

Special Mention
The Park – Randa Maroufi (France) 

Human Rights Dox

Best Film
Homeland (Iraq Year Zero) – Abbas Fahdel (France/Iraq) 

Special Mention
Starless Dreams – Mehrdad Oskouei (Iran) 

Green Dox

Best Film
When Two Worlds Collide – Heidi Brandenburg and Mathew Orzel (Peru)

Special Mention
The Woods Dreams Are Made Of [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Claire Simon (France/Switzerland)

International Shorts

Best Film
Import – Ena Sendjevic (Netherlands)

Special Mention
Frankfurter Str. 99a – Evgenia Gostrer (Germany)

National Competition

Best Film
A Performance – Dritëro Mehmetaj (Kosovo)

Special Mention
I Kissed Your Kiss on Your Girlfriend’s Cheek, It Was Still Wet – Samuel Weniger and Dardan Zhegrova (Kosovo/Switzerland)

Audience Award
Batusha’s House – Tino Glimman and Jan Gollob (Kosovo/Switzerland)

Procredit Bank “Ekovideo” Award
Besnik Boletini
Indrit Loshi
Agon Veselaj

Seneca's Day Lithuania
 

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