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FESTIVALS Kosovo

Before Snowfall and Iron Picker win Prishtina awards

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- Films by Hisham Zaman and Danis Tanović won main awards at the fifth PriFest in Prishtina. Festival included industry section PriFORUM, highlighting the state of industry in Kosovo and the region

Before Snowfall and Iron Picker win Prishtina awards

The fifth Prishtina International Film festival PriFest took place from Sept 20-27 and presented 49 films in seven programmes.

In the main competition, the Golden Goddess award went to Nisham Zaman's Before Snowfall [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(photo).

Russian director Yuri Bykov's The Mayor picked up two prizes: Best Director and Best Actress for Irina Nizina.

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Circles [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nikola Rakocevic
interview: Srdan Golubovic
film profile
]
by Srdan Golubović also took two: a Special Jury Mention and Best Actor for Leon Lučev.

The Media Jury, consisting of five journalists from Kosovo and Albania, gave its prize to Halima's Path [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Croatia's Arsen Anton Ostojić.

In the Balkan competition programme Honey and Blood, Danis Tanović's An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Danis Tanović
film profile
]
won the Red Goddess award.

Ernest Meholli's Kosovo-Holland co-production Gone Back, which had its world premiere at PriFest, received the audience prize.

In the competition for the best middle length film that the festival has been having for the last three years, which puts it among rare festivals in the world that nurture this format, the Silver Goddess award went to Tunisian director Anis Lassoued's My Shoes.

“Middle length is an unusual format and filmmakers find it very hard to show at festivals,” says Fatos Berisha, departing director of the Kosovo Cinematography Centre and head of PriFest’s industry section PriFORUM. “This year in PriFORUM we introduced a pitching contest, and naturally started with middle-length projects.”

The pitching selection included four projects from Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro, and a co-production between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The award for best pitch went to the Montenegrin project Tranquility of Blood by Senad Šahmanović. Prior to the session, the directors and producers, most of which pitched for the first time, were tutored by Slovenian producer and member of EAVE Danijel Hočevar.

The PriFORUM also featured a discussion on the state of the industry in the region, and included a case study of the promising project Three Windows and a Hanging by Kosovo director Isa Qosja, a co-production between Kosovo’s CMB and Germany’s Niko Film. After winning the €1,500 worth pitching award at Connecting Cottbus in 2012 and the CineLink Work in Progress Post Republic award worth €80,000 in services at Sarajevo, the project by the director whose 2008 film Kukumi was the first film from Kosovo to break internationally, looks to be the next feature from the territory to gain attention.

Production in Kosovo is still on a low level, with two features (Gone Back and Ekrem Kryeziu’s Code of Life), two shorts and one feature documentary produced in the last year. Lendita Zeqiraj’s short Balcony screened in the Orizzonti section of Venice this year. But things are shaping up slowly, the funding budget of the KCC has been increased from last year’s €500,000 to €600,000 and a new cinema law, drafted by the body’s working group, which would facilitate access to coproductions and measures to increase exhibition in the territory, should be in effect by February 2014. 

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