It is that time of the year again when we bid welcome to the festival to all of you who adorn us with your presence at our annual celebration of arts and culture. That time of the year when magic of moving images and joy of rhythms of the music descends once again upon this charming city, to a place that despite all of the troubles of the past and all the struggles of the present, continues to strive for the better and brighter future.
For Future is a theme of this year’s edition of the festival and we’re determined to celebrate it in style because we believe that future of this place, as well as of our planet is bright, despite all the ugly and unpleasant things happening in the present.
You may call us baseless optimists or senseless utopists but we’ve seen enough films lately and have listened many tunes constantly to prove you otherwise. And as proof to this we’ve come up with a program that you’ll find in pages that follow.
In there you’ll find stories about brave citizens of Aleppo that will bring tears to your eyes, stories of horrors of wars in Syria and Iraq that will make you question your faith in humanity, stories about famed presidents, grieving musician and visionary individuals that may restore that same faith that you thought you may have had lost and stories about Japanese female divers, sounds of the jungle, holocaust tourists and broken relationships that make this world such a wonderful place.
Two retrospectives of two extraordinary filmmakers and artists are also to be found in the program and we are deeply honored to be able to bring to the festival a comprehensive body of work of acclaimed British avant-garde filmmaker John Smith and of Travis Wilkerson, one of America’s most brilliant and gifted filmmakers.
We will be paying hommage to great master of cinema Jonathan Demme, who sadly passed away this year with the screening of his landmark film Stop Making Sense. An avid explorer of these pages will also notice name of another great master, Andrei Tarkovsky and we are thrilled to be screening his masterpiece Stalker as part of specially curated programme on the theme of Future.
For those of you in love with short films there’s a lot to choose from, too. A number of fresh talents are appearing across the programme, several returning filmmakers are there too, and a high quality work from the region is what is making us especially excited with this year’s selection.
Add to this equally impressive films from our National competition as well as new batch of films from our own Future is Here training program and we have no reason not to be enthusiastic about the future of filmmaking in Kosovo.
We’re happy to welcome back our partner festivals from North South Documentary Network with respective selections, thus offering a window through which to glimpse new films coming from Mexico and the USA. We’re also eager to share with you a program jointly curated with Glasgow Short Film Festival and imagiNative festival from Toronto on the theme of sovereignty and to present a small program curated by our friends from Vienna based This Human World festival.
Plus many more and we invite you to experience all these with the hope that by doing so you will be rewarded as much as we were while preparing it.
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to all the extraordinary people that have made this beautiful journey and this dream of ours possible: our generous sponsors, partners, fantastic team and wonderful volunteers, and the filmmakers who shared their films with us; this festival would not be possible without you!
We wish you a great festival!