Numerous uncertainties as a result of the ongoing pandemic have created new circumstances regarding the organization of the 20th edition of the international documentary and short film festival, DokuFest. Unlike last year, when due to restrictions to prevent the spread of corona virus the festival was transferred to the online platform, this year with the ease of restrictions, it comes up with the hybrid edition, where the program will take place with the physical presence of the festival audience and guests.
The Festival Producer, Alba Çakalli claims that this situation has affected both the organizational and the artistic aspect of the festival, therefore after many discussions and preparations, it was decided that the theme of the festival this year will have three words: Re: set Re: mix Re: act.
“The theme of this year’s festival contains three words: Re: set Re: mix Re: act, with the central notion actually being letters RE in the root of these words. Thus, the festival will try to explore many facets and aspects of these words in the context of the world reemerging from pandemic and reimagining itself in this new situation. A number of films will touch upon the theme and we are excited to find ways of bringing our audience into the conversation,” says Çakalli.
According to her, the theme is also reflected in the visual identity and the promotional campaign, as it represents the excitement of DokuFest for reuniting with the cinema audience to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the festival.
“DokuFest has already established the tradition of organizing the festival in August, for 9 days, with many cinemas. But last year was a total change for as a team we were forced to learn a way we had not done before, neither those who have made the festival from the very beginning, nor we who have grown with the festival for a decade. Considering the fact that until this April there were still uncertainties regarding the situation with pandemic, last year’s experience just as it closed some doors for us, it also created some new visions. The reason why the festival is hybrid this year is a legacy from the last year, where a small part of the program will be online, while naturally we prefer returning to the physical encounter with the audience. But the focus and inspiration of this year’s festival theme is the global situation in which humanity finds itself today, not only with what is happening regarding the pandemic, but also the political changes and other developments in different countries. “Some things were stopped by the pandemic, and we thought that there might be chances for improvement, but then we saw that a lot of developments are continuing again with the old trend,” says Çakalli.
She adds that the three words: Re:set Re:mix Re:act have their own message, but at the same time they are open for the audience to interpret them in their own way.
“Since the festival marks its 20th anniversary, this year also includes parts of previous campaigns, such as 20 Years of ‘Punk and Protest’, or ‘Braking Borders’, or ‘Truth & Lies’. But our audience will have the opportunity to express themselves about this through an installation in Lumbardh, where “20 Years of…” is written, and they complete the sentence with what “20 Years of” means for them. For us it is 20 Years of DokuFest, but for someone else it might be something else. Therefore, the theme always leaves room for debate, the message is not strict or rigorous for the audience, but as it happens with films in the competition program, with special programs, or with discussion panels we have different topics where everyone has space to find themselves,” says the festival producer.
According to her, reaching this point has been full of challenges, but also a pleasure to prepare an unforgettable edition of the festival. “The situation with the pandemic has affected the planning, production, hospitality and other aspects of the festival, but still with the three words: Re: set Re: mix Re: act we managed to reflect what we experience throughout the year and at the festival,” concludes Çakalli.