Nine Albanian short films made their debut this weeks at Dokufest, Kosovo’s largest international documentary and short film festival which is holding its 16th edition in the historic city of Prizren, just 18 km from the Albania-Kosovo border.
The Albanian movies competed in the national category where several Kosovo and Albanian-Macedonian directors showcased their latest productions.
The Albanian atmosphere at this year’s festival was also present with a concert by the Albanian Iso-Polyphonic Choir featuring Italy-based Kosovo jazz pianist Robert Bisha and an exhibition showcasing pictures by the landmark Marubi museum of photography in Shkodra with a rich collection dating back to the mid-19th century when Albania was still in the Ottoman Empire to span to the 20th century independence, monarchy and communism eras.
More than 250 documentaries and short films from 63 countries are being showcased in six categories of this year’s festival taking place at the historic town of Prizren from August 4 to 12.
Documentary photo exhibitions, debates, master classes and lively music performances are also part of the 9-day festival.
The ‘Future’ has been selected as this year’s festival theme, reflecting the organizers’ “concerns and hopes, but above all belief that a better future is possible, and that it is coming.”
“You can call us unfounded optimists or senseless utopians, but we have watched a lot of recent movies and heard sounds that continuously prove the opposite,” says festival director Veton Nukollari.
International films selected in the festival bring stories from war-torn Syria and Iraq, famous presidents, musicians and visionaries to Japan’s legendary ama women shellfish divers.
The festival is also a good opportunity for tourists in Albania’s coastline to temporarily escape the heat wave and visit Prizren, only two-and-a-half-hour drive from Tirana.
A study has shown that apart from reinvigorating cultural life in Kosovo, the festival which usually lasts for ten days also has a huge economic impact on the town of Prizren and its local businesses considering thousands of local and foreign visitors packing the town. The festival is estimated to trigger spending of about €4 million by visitors in accommodation, meals and shopping.
Albanian films competing in the festival
Albania, 2016, 18 min
Director: Erenik Beqiri
Starring: Arben Bajraktaraj, Romir Zalla, Ema Andrea
Synopsis: A man wanders in the dark tunnels of an abandoned building until he finds a table waiting for him and the Waiter ready to serve a special dinner made only of human meat. A challenge for his appetite.
City of Walls
Albania, 2016, 22 min
Director: Eneos Çarka
Synopsis: This documentary gives an insight on the street art & graffiti culture in Tirana, Albania. During the shooting process, the City Hall interferes in the art scene with their own project and creates a conflict with a political street art collective.
Kosovo/Albania, 2017, 7 min
Director: Enxhi Noni
Synopsis: Is it possible to grasp the meaning of the future by accepting only the present and leaving the past behind? A delicate medley of these notions, regarding the historical and cultural background of Albania. Do youngsters dare be disturbed?
Albania/Greece, 2016, 14 min
Director: Joan Zhonga
Synopsis: Survival, clash and symbiosis go side by side; all accompanied by bursts of joy and pain as a result of man’s internal need to find and exaggerate differences when similarities are obviously greater.
Kosovo/Albania, 2017, 5 min
Director: Rigers Shimaj
Synopsis: Giulia is an 18 years old girl, living and dreaming in Tirana. Her passion lives on two wheels and her challenges begin with the first step she takes out there in the world.
Heaven has been fooled
Albania, 2016, 13 min
Director: Odeta Ҫunaj
Starring: Alban Ukaj, Astrit Alihajdaraj, Odeta Ҫunaj
Synopsis: Vesa, a former singer, meets a fan of hers who tries to shed light on her life.
Albania, 2017, 29 min
Director: Ylljet Aliçka
Starring: Robert Ndrenika, Suzana Prifti, Elia Zaharia
Synopsis: An old couple from the Albanian countryside, receive a wedding invitation from a close relative in the capital city. At first they are very enthusiastic, but soon the indifferent and snobbish people around, make them feel unwelcome.
These sounds taste synthetic
Kosovo/Albania, 2017, 7 min
Director: Gretel Dani
Synopsis: Sometimes you don’t have the option of closing your eyes because reality happens so fast and enters your memory. I cannot say which emotions have come and gone, I only know that feeling lost no longer holds a place in me. There are sounds telling you it is going to be better. Listen to the music.
Director: Emiljo Leka
Synopsis: In the past 25 years of democracy, Albania has been suffering from a family-related blood feud phenomenon over a piece of land. The story of this short movie is about two cousins, 12-year-old Adi and 9-year-old Soni. They are cousins and they are like brothers to each other. Their fathers co-own a piece of land that Soni’s father has unilaterally decided to divide in two parts. A true family drama takes place after the land is divided, completely changing their daily routines.