«The Central and Eastern European Documentary industry is still healthy, despite damages that pandemic may have infused.»

    DOKUFEST: Artistic Director Veton Nurkollari on the festival's jubilee edition.

    The 20th DokuFest – International Documentary and Short Film Festival is currently on from 6 – 13 August, 2021 in Prizren, Kosovo.

    Founded in 2003 with the aim of revitalising culture cinema in Prizren, DokuFest fills the cinemas and improvised screening venues around the historic city with a selection of more than 200 hand-picked films from around the world, as well as attracting numerous international and regional music acts that perform at DokuNights — its music strand.

    Modern Times Review spoke with DokuFest Artistic Director Veton Nurkollari on the challenges, trends, and current DokuFest experience.

    What sort of themes did you notice in 2021 film submissions? How did this thematic pattern carry over to the final programme?
    There were a number of themes from this year’s submissions that we noticed and that sparked our attention. From the more obvious and expected films about pandemic, hospitals and patients there, many films about lockdown too. Also a number of films about protests, such as those in Hong Kong or Minsk, about refugee and prisoner camps in Syria and Iraq, situation in Middle East, world in environmental crisis and about domestic violence. Some of these themes and thematic patterns did indeed find their way into the program, one such being a programme called «Terra Femme» for example, with films made by female filmmakers and mostly about women and many others across different sections of the festival.

    We must ask about the pandemic as it still causes logistical issues across the event industry. Of course, as a continent, we are in a better place during the 2021 summer than the 2020 summer. What sort of lessons did you learn from the 2020 Dokufest that you carried over to 2021? What is new/different this year?
    The pandemic taught us few things, like how to quickly adapt to new environment, including Zooms and online edition of the festival but even more it taught us of a need to cherish those precious times spent together with the audience and the guests, something we missed . . .

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    Steve Rickinson
    Communications Manager and Industry Editor at Modern Times Review.

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