International Festival of Documentary and Short Films Features “Why Poverty” Programme

03 Oct 2013

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The 12th edition of the International Documentary and Short Film Festival “DokuFest” was held between 17 – 25 August 2013 in Prizren, Kosovo.

This year, the Festival reached its peak with diverse activities including cultural, social, environmental etc. The Festival presented the most ambitious programme ever screened at DokuFest: 231 documentaries and short films from 53 countries presented over nine days in eight cinemas. The majority of films came from Europe 35, Asia 7, Americas 7 and Africa 4. Ticket counter reached the number of 10,000 visitors to screenings, excluding visitors to free screenings and opening film.

As in previous years, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Kosovo Team (UNKT), and United Nations Volunteers (UNV), supported special programme within DokuFest “Why poverty” - a part of the global campaign that uses film to pass messages and to make people think what it means to live in poverty. The topic is very closely linked to the poverty eradication activities, MDGs and the Post 2015 agenda.

Special programmes took place within DokuFest that marked “Why Poverty” campaign.

On Thursday, 22 August, UNKT panel discussion  on poverty, migration and education took place. “Why poverty” documentaries were shown in Cultural Center in Prizren.  The ten films presented were moving, subtle and thought provoking stories, tackling big issues and posing difficult questions at the same time. A Panel dedicated to addressing the issue of poverty and illegal migration in Kosovo brought together Steliana Nedera, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Daut Xhemajli, Deputy Minister of Justice, Jorge Baca, Head of IOM,  and Blerta Zeqiri, Filmmaker as panelists. Prior to the discussion, a short documentary “Mamma Illegal” was screened as a means to generate the debate.

Saturday, 24 August - the SMILE project (UNDP), in cooperation with DokuFest, organized a debate "DokuTalk" on Social Media and Activism. The debate was opened with an excerpt from a Syrian documentary film on social media, and was followed by a panel discussion consisting of international, regional and local activists and experts.

In addition, the SMILE Video-Booth was placed in the center of Prizren and open to citizens to pose questions to their municipality, the filmings of which are becoming part of the Video Booth Documentary for Accountability in Local Government.

A mural with notes, named “Poverty Wall” was erected in a designated part of the DOKUFEST in Prizren. The wall allowed random passersbyes to write an answer to the question “How can we end poverty?”. Comments, suggestions and answers were recorded and will be used in our future activities.

Last but not least, UNDP Kosovo MDG Champion Arta Dobroshi screened her short artistic movie “Together” premierly at the DokuFest on Wednesday, 21 August. The film is a touching story of a single homeless mother and her little son strugling to survive in the streets of Pristina.

The “Why Poverty” programme will continue even after the conclusion of the festival. DokuFest crew has developed a special agenda to further promote the fight against poverty in Kosovo.

Inclusion of Documentaries to DokuFest’s educational package “Schools and Documentaries” that will be made available to Cinema Clubs in high schools, allowing teachers and students to discuss and get inspired in being the part of the solution;Inclusion of short documentaries to DokuFest’s travelling cinema project that will be travelling to rural areas of the Prizren Region; andInvolvement of filmmaking community, and students, part of the DokuFest’s film school in production of documentaries that address this pressing issue in the local context.

Our activities at the Festival were captured in a short public service announcement that can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUHBJKlN8jE&feature=youtu.be