By Dakota Hall
For nine days every year in August, Prizren is transformed.
Enthusiastic festivalgoers from near and far flock to the historic city to soak up the unique DokuFest atmosphere as the population of the city swells. Throughout DokuFest 2016, K2.0 will be zooming in on some of Prizren’s permanent and temporary residents, to find out what DokuFest means to them.
Cousins Nexhmedin and Xhafer Brahaj, who bake bread in the family business just a street away from the center, have watched DokuFest grow over the years in their home city.
Xhafer notes that it’s interesting to see Shadervan play host to such a diverse range of foreigners, coming from places as far afield as Tunisia or the U.S. When asked how it feels to see them assembling in his city, Nexhmedin laughs. “We see them, they see us,” he shrugs.
DokuFest is good for business as it brings in about twice the number of customers, though they both feel there’s still a divide between the festival go-ers and local residents. They don’t attend films themselves as they have to work, so DokuFest is a busy but otherwise typical week, filled with baking bread and watching football — except for the new people-watching opportunities the festival affords.
Nexhmedin says that DokuFest’s greatest value is in presenting the hospitality of Prizren and Kosovo at large, and helping to foster a new kind of international reputation for the country. At age 59, he remembers how throughout his childhood, Prizren was a popular tourist destination noted for its beauty and rich cultural heritage.
The baker jokes that it’s not possible to take a photo in the center of Prizren without capturing both a church and a mosque in the frame. DokuFest, he says, is a source of pride, and an opportunity to showcase Prizren, and Kosovo, to the world.
Kosovo 2.0 is DokuFest’s official media partner — discover all the hottest content every day from around the festival here. Kosovo 2.0 is a print and online magazine bringing you voices unfettered and unafraid. Our complete collection of print magazines will be available from our stand in Shadervan throughout DokuFest, including our latest ’90s Issue.