by Isa Vatovci and Xhorxhina Bami
The directors of the country’s three major international film festivals have decided to stage their festivals as planned over the summer, while also respecting COVID-19 prevention measures.
The three major international film festivals in Kosovo, the International Documentary and Short Film Festival – Dokufest, the International Film Festival in Prishtina – Prifilm Fest (PriFest), and the International Animation Festival – Anibar, will be held this summer as planned, on condition that organisers respect restrictions designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The decision to go ahead with the festivals was taken at a joint meeting of the three festival directors with the Kosovo Cinematographic Center, KCC. The Cinematographic Center said it would fully comply with government recommendations to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
During the last joint consultation between the organisers of the three festivals and the Cinematographic Center, they discussed ways of staging this year’s events in the new context created by the pandemic.
The KCC announcement said all three directors had now expressed readiness for the festivals to proceed as planned.
The KCC said that Veton Nurkollari, the artistic director of Dokufest, had said that preparations were already underway to organise the 19th edition of this festival in Prizren in August.
Vjosa Berisha, director of PriFest, which is due to be held in the capital Pristina from July 14 to 19, said during the consultation meeting that the organisers had examined ways to adapt the festivals to the situation created by the pandemic.
“Some online activities will take place due to the difficulties we may encounter in bringing industry experts and professionals from other countries to Pristina this year,” the KCC reported Berisha as saying. Berisha also suggested that some films might be “shown in open-air locations to avoid any danger from the virus”, it said.
The KCC said that Arba Hatashi, director of Anibar, had said that his festival, scheduled to be held in Peja/ Pec from July 13 to 19, was working to create conditions for the festival “to be at the service of the local, national and international community”.
So far, there have been 856 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kosovo of whom 490 have since recovered and 26 have died.
Starting from Monday, the government has introduced a three-step plan to ease the COVID-19 prevention measures, by extending the hours of free movement of people and allowing certain businesses, such as retail shops, take-away food businesses and construction companies, to reopen.