The documentary and short film festival, DokuFest has wound up its 20th edition, going beyond all the expectations of the organizing team. Prepared in an atmosphere of obscurity due to the pandemic, this edition too was notable for its rich film program, musical performances, discussions, workshops and exhibitions. Meanwhile meeting again the audience and numerous filmmakers has been the main emotion for the management of the festival.
“Returning to the cinemas with the audience, as well as with the presence of filmmakers, has been the greatest joy these days, when we consider all the difficulties of organizing this edition in pandemic”, says the executive director of DokuFest, Linda Llulla-Gashi. According to her, the 20th edition will remain an unforgettable experience, which will enable looking to the future and the resumption of life despite all the difficulties.
The artistic director of DokuFest, Veton Nurkollari, is very pleased with the progress of this edition and the commitment of the great team to return the festival to the format it used to be, as well as the extraordinary interest of the public that has gone beyond expectations.
“It is an edition that has gone beyond our expectations,” says Nurkollari. According to him, before the festival the expectations were not high due to many uncertainties that derive from the conditions of the pandemic period.
“We are pleasantly surprised by the extraordinary interest of the public, but also with the number of filmmakers and visitors especially from abroad. We have had a significant number of filmmakers traveling from the US, from Europe. We have returned our partner Balkan Documentary Center for the workshop and Pitching Forum with all the participants and tutors from all over Europe. Similar forums are still being held online due to the situation; therefore the exchanges here have been quite good considering the situation with the pandemic. It is a pleasant surprise that many people have come to Prizren,” claims Nurkollari.
According to him, in this edition, in order to protect the public health, DokuNights has not been organized, as the space where this program is held has not enabled the social distance. But for this year DokuNights has been modified to Sonic Nights. “Therefore, we decided to place a stage in the Castle, where the space is larger, with a regulated distance, with only two weekends with music content, which I think has been an acceptable solution, which has impressed the public too,” says Nurkollari.
The selector of the Short and National film program, Samir Karahoda as well, considers that this edition has been much better in relation to the expectations, while he considers the participation extremely satisfactory in all the activities realized for the audience, where their comments and those of the guests from abroad have been positive. “While in the personal facet, one thing I will never forget is the premiere of our film Displaced. I may say that the premiere at DokuFest has been more exciting than the one at Cannes, due to the fact that it was screened in front of the protagonists and a large number of film fans, where the reaction of the audience has left an extraordinary impression on me,” says Karahoda.
The producer of the festival, Alba Çakalli claims that despite many challenges during the planning, nevertheless “the jubilee edition can be evaluated as a very unique and successful edition of DokuFest”.
“This edition will be remembered for its rich program of films, music, discussions, workshops and exhibitions. But mostly will be remembered for the magic it brings to Prizren during the 9 days of August. We are very happy that we managed to reunite with our loyal audience to experience again the liveliness of the city, which we had missed a lot last year,” says Çakalli.
After the jubilee edition wound up, the artistic director Veton Nurkollari notes that the preparations for the next edition follow to bring new surprises for the public, as well as further improvements in the technical aspect. “We are looking towards the next year, when we hope that the situation will be normal, in order to organize the festival the way we are used to, so that the number of the audience can increase even more,” concludes Nurkollari.