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OSCARS 2022

Could Hive make history again?

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- Blerta Basholli's Sundance sensation is gaining momentum ahead of voting for the Academy Award nominations

Could Hive make history again?
Hive by Blerta Basholli

Blerta Basholli's Hive [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Blerta Basholli
interview: Yllka Gashi
film profile
]
first made history when it world-premiered at Sundance in 2021 and became the first film ever to win the top three awards in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition: the Grand Jury Prize, Directing Award and Audience Award.

Fast-forward a year, and the Kosovar filmmaker's feature debut is the first film from Europe's youngest country to break into the shortlist of 15 titles vying for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film. Last December, Elisabeth Moss and Lindsey McManus boarded the film as executive producers with their company Love & Squalor Pictures, giving it a crucial boost in its Oscar campaign.

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Hive is an unforgettable, eloquent, moving story about the will of survival and empowerment through an unflinching vision,” they said in a statement first published by Deadline. “The film’s intimate portrayal of a woman’s struggle towards independence moves us to understand the possibility for change, and Blerta’s powerful storytelling masterfully captures the self-determination of individuals all over the world to overcome oppression.”

Based on a true story, the feature follows Fahrije (breakout star Yllka Gashi), who, like many of the other women in her village, has lived with fading hope and burgeoning grief ever since her husband went missing during the war in Kosovo. In order to provide for her struggling family, she pulls the other widows in her community together to launch a business selling a local food product, despite the resistance from the deeply patriarchal society.

“Instead of giving in to despair, Fahrije Hoti decided to wipe away her tears and move on. Whenever we had a hard time during the making of the film, I would think of her. She was, and always will be, my role model to always push on and never give up,” says Basholli.

Bosnian director Jasmila Žbanić, whose Quo Vadis, Aida? [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jasmila Žbanić
film profile
]
was in the final five at the Oscars last year and recently swept the EFA Awards, also pitched in, saying: “The beauty and strength of this film lies in the fact that the director, the actress and the whole team manage to show the invisible, to say the unspeakable. Like a hive, the film vibrates within you a long time after you have watched it.”

Since its Sundance triumph, Hive has won more than 15 festival awards, including at Warsaw, Hamburg, Montpellier, Berkshire, Osnabrück, Herceg Novi, Prishtina and Cinedays Skopje, while Gashi picked up Best Actress Awards at Valladolid and Scottsdale. Meanwhile, its international sales agent, LevelK, has sold it virtually everywhere in the world: from Australia and New Zealand to China, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Canada and the USA, where it is distributed by Zeitgeist Films in association with Kino Lorber. The rights have also been picked up in most European territories, as well as Turkey and Israel.

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