Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Lovely DokuFest in Kosovo

The open-air cinema straddling the river in Prizren. Photo credit: Mona Nicoara (c) Sat Mic Film, LLC

We had a great time at the wonderfully programmed DokuFest in historical town of Prizren in Kosovo. We had the chance to screen in a whimsical open-air theater straddling the river, as well as in an old cinema whose preservation was the original impulse behind founding DokuFest. The festival lived up to its reputation: A warm community of documentary filmmakers led by programmer Veton Nurkollari, great movies and great music concerts, and all-night discussions fueled by macchiatos, kebabs and raki in the center of town. 
European youth platform Spartak caught one of our  DokuFest screenings and wrote the following about Our School:

"Stays very close to all people involved and shows the growing pains, adaptation troubles, discrimination and efforts in a beautiful way. The interviewed children keep that (often hilarious and/or touching) honesty about their hopes and dreams and the camera catches all. Sometimes it reminded me a bit of Être et avoir, the celebrated portrait of a French peripheral town school. Our School is a truly amazing and complete portrait of small-town, peripheral Romania, (Roma) children from puberty to adulthood and the efforts of parents and teachers to get education for the kids. Highly recommended."

In an overview of DokuFest on the Scottish Doc Institute's blog, Sonja Henrici noted that Our School is

"a subtle film [which] denies us the more common journey towards 'hope,' but shows the systemic inability in people’s hearts and minds to embrace difference, and the emotional and psychological effects it has on the Roma children who cannot even begin to consider to celebrate their 'diversity.'"
Thank you, DokuFest!