The Odesa International Film Festival goes “Beyond Borders” at Kosovo’s PriFest
- PriFest is preparing to welcome several guests from Ukraine to allow them to introduce their movies, as well as to take part in the pitch and present their film projects
In keeping with its main motto, “Friendship. Forever.”, and as a gesture of support and solidarity, the Prishtina International Film Festival (PriFest) will host the Odesa International Film Festival (OIFF) in Kosovo this year. PriFest will provide space to run a part of OIFF’s programme in Prishtina, meaning that the joint 14th edition of PriFest and 13th edition of OIFF will unspool from 26-31 July.
The two festivals have always shared the same slot in July and have often shared international guests, who would go from one festival directly to the other. This year, both gatherings were scheduled to be held in the last week of July; however, OIFF had to cancel proceedings because of the war. The PriFest management then contacted the heads of OIFF and offered to accommodate the festival in Prishtina along with some of its programmes and guests.
Vjosa Berisha, general director of PriFest, stated: “We are really concerned and saddened seeing what is going on in Ukraine right now. We survived war 20 years ago, so we really feel for Ukraine and its people. Culture and the arts suffer equally in these situations, and seeing the people of Ukraine, and how brave they are in resisting and fighting back, we felt we needed to do something for our colleagues. So, we contacted our friends from the Odesa International Film Festival and explained our idea. And we are very proud to announce that we will have a special programme of films by young Ukrainian filmmakers featured at PriFest as an Odesa IFF programme. Also, ten Ukrainian feature-film projects will take part in PriForum, for the pitching session, and then they will go to Prishtina Rendezvous to meet sales agents, producers and festival selectors. We are aiming to enable the Ukrainian filmmakers and the management of OIFF to be present in Prishtina. I hope everything will be okay by then and that they can come.”
Anna Machukh, general director of OIFF (see the interview), underlined: “Russia’s cynical and unjust invasion of Ukraine has had a direct impact on every Ukrainian, and on all branches and industries that are developing in the country. We have been deprived of the opportunity to hold the 13th Odesa International Film Festival in the format that our guests and viewers love so much. But we are very grateful to our colleagues at the Prishtina International Film Festival for the opportunity to have OIFF Beyond Borders at PriFest and to show Ukrainian film projects to foreign audiences. In recent years, Ukrainian cinema has constantly grown, got stronger and won fans around the world. We cannot stop now, and we must tell the history of Ukrainian culture to the whole world. I am sure that very interesting, original and unique projects about Ukraine and its distinctive culture will be waiting for us at the pitching session.”
This initiative is being implemented with the support of the City of Prishtina. The Mayor of Prishtina, Përparim Rama, gave the following statement: “It is a great occasion – given the situation with the war in Ukraine, it’s fantastic that this year, the Odesa International Film Festival will hold its 13th edition here in Prishtina, in partnership with PriFest, the most successful film festival in our capital. The city of Prishtina will support this wonderful step of cooperation between the two festivals. This is an opportunity to express solidarity with Ukraine and support its fight for a basic right – freedom.”
Applications to take part are being accepted until 25 May and can be submitted here. PriFest is preparing to host several guests from Ukraine in order to enable them to introduce their movies, as well as to take part in the pitch and present their film projects.
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