Distant Constellation, Meteors and other European docs shine at the 17th DokuFest
by Tina Poglajen
- Turkish filmmakers Shevaun Mizrahi and Gürcan Keltek have won the top prizes at the documentary film festival in Prizren this year
The 17th edition of DokuFest in Kosovo, focusing on both Balkan and international documentaries, came to a close on Saturday 11 August with a ceremony held at the Lumbardhi cinema in Prizren. Of the 14 films awarded, all but one were either European documentaries or co-produced by a European country.
The members of the international jury, Nico Marzano, Anna Zamecka, Ela Bittencourt, Alush Gashi and Sergio Gomes, awarded Best Film to Meteors [+see also:
interview: Gürcan Keltek
film profile] by Gürcan Keltek, a stern critique of the armed conflict between Turkish and Kurdish people, for “bringing lyricism and the magic of atmospheric phenomena to an urgent story”, and especially praised the “different cinematic languages” of the film that rekindle memories of a region that is not often in the glare of the mainstream media.
The Balkan Dox jury, Goran Dević, Marina D Richter and Tara Judah, found the winning US-Turkish-Dutch co-production Distant Constellation [+see also:
film profile] by Shevaun Mizrahi, a poetic exploration of individual histories of a retirement home in Istanbul, to be “an extremely accomplished film” with a “singular vision”, a “precise and affecting sound design” and a “deep exploration of the human condition”.
Movies were also awarded in several other programme sections. Among them, the winners of Human Rights Dox (A Woman Captured [+see also:
film profile] by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter) and the Special Mention in the same sidebar (On Her Shoulders by Alexandria Bombach) both focused on women’s stories. The film programme was accompanied by a series of talks and panel discussions that ranged from environmental issues to women’s rights – and incidentally, it is worth noting that Kosovo has in the last few years become one of the most egalitarian countries in the world when it comes to film funding, as 50% of it is legally required to go to female filmmakers.
This year’s theme was “Reflection”, explored through the festival’s campaign as well as through a specially curated film programme, outdoor digital exhibitions, artist talks, collaborative workshops and a varied range of music performances.
Starting three years after the war, DokuFest had no cinemas to screen films in, so today, they are screened on a river, projected onto the walls of a medieval fortress and inside a former hamam. Today, the gathering is beloved by many filmmakers, media representatives and local visitors, who keep coming back year after year. Its significance for the country transcends the label of a mere film festival, too: despite insufficient domestic institutional support, DokuFest forges on with its mission of engaging with the local community and thereby helping to build it as well.
Here is the complete list of award winners:
Best Newcomer Award
Momsy – Josip Lukić (Croatia)
Special Jury Award
Braguino – Clement Cogitore (France/Finland)
Best Short Film
Aliens – Luis Lopez Carrasco (Spain)
Human Rights Dox
Fence – Lendita Zeqiraj (Kosovo/France/Croatia)
Third Kind – Yorgos Zois (Greece)
No Man Is an Island – Ali Parandian (Norway)
Waiting – Laura Kajtazi-Testa (Kosovo/Canada)
Special Prize and Distribution Prize
Routine – Bekim Guri (Kosovo)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.