Last night at Lumbardhi Bahçe many people came to see a surprise screening of “Displaced” by Samir Karahoda, followed by “Go Go Kosovo” by Jane Stockdale and Jordan Laird. Both films explore the difficulties Kosovars sportsman and woman face to get proper training and to compete in high level competitions around the world.
Kosovo has faced numerous barriers to get to the amazing level it is today even though the infrastructure where athletes exercise still lack the necessary equipment. Shortly after being accredited in the Olympic Committee, Kosovo celebrated the first gold medal in judo, won by the extraordinary, Majlinda Kelmendi.
“Go Go Kosovo” is also a celebration for the now victories of Distria Krasniqi and Nora Gjakova, the judoka’s from Peja who won golden medal at the Olympic games “Tokyo 2020”.
The first film shown by Karahoda which made its premiere in Cannes Film Festival, explores the immeasurable sacrifice two local ping pong players making the most of any space and liberty given to train young people who are passionate and who will maybe one day, be gold medallists too.
“Go Go Kosovo” was part of the special screening section at DokuFest, and it truly was a true resemblance of all the fight done to achieve high levels. At certain points of the film the audience rushed to clap enthusiastically as if they were experiencing the matches for the first time.
One of the directors of this documentary, Jane Stockdale explained the origins of how it started: “ The idea for this films started nine years ago when I was in a barbecue in Kosovo and we were talking about the upcoming Olympics in London and everybody was really excited about it but also frustrated because Kosovo was not allowed to compete and as they told me the story of the Kosovo Olympic theme, I was blown away by the passion, the enthusiasm and the commitment. This was such an inspiration, and this is how it started.”
Jordan Laird joins the sentiment of Stockdale and says a little bit more about his journey shooting for this documentary: “The journey of this film has not been an easy one, but if there is anything we’ve learned along the way from Toni, Majlinda etc, is that anything worthwhile requires hard work, dedication, patience and a little bit of time”.
Through all the step backs and hard training, Kosovar athletes were allowed to compete under their own flag in Rio 2016. Sports were breaking the ice, while opening a strong conversation about Kosovo and it was firstly a statement of Kosovo being there represented more than anything else.
But Kosovo proved right to those who relentlessly supported sportsmen and sportswoman and wrong to those who tried to undermine the progress.
The audience was moved and emotional because this hard journey of Olympic athletes is a metaphor for any thriving cultural and social sector in Kosovo.
After both screenings the audience got to hear the support and greetings from all of those who participated in “Go Go Kosovo”.
Ulrika Richardson, the UN Development Coordinator in Kosovo said: “It is such a pleasure to be here, on behalf of UN in Kosovo, first, congratulations to DokuFest, the 20th year, your anniversary has been a journey. Tonight, the theme is sports, and I truly believe that the whole spirit of DokuFest which is about friendship, cooperation, respect, equality, everything that we think are good dimensions of our way being together, the social fabric of our societies, and sports is just that fantastic expression of all that.”
Besim Hasani was also present during the screening, and this documentary also shows his own struggle and endless efforts to make a dream come true for all Kosovars to participate sports and compete in Olympic Games.
He said: “From 1991 to 2004, there was a struggling journey the destination of which none of us knew. For someone it might just look interesting but for us it is our life. This was our dream, to be equal with everyone”.
So many competitors who represented Kosovo in the Olympic Games made an appearance through the screen thanking everyone who saw the film and assuring everyone that they still will compete and go on.
There is nothing left to say but “Go Go Kosovo”!
If you want to see “Go Go Kosovo” it will be also screened on Friday 13th at Kino Lumi in Prizren.