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154 Films in Search of an Audience, in Kosovo and Beyond

How do you grow the local film industry in a country with just three year-round cinemas?

19 April 2019

In Kosovo, building an audience for locally made movies is not just a question of finding the money to make those movies, Prishtina Insight writes. The publicly funded Kosovo Cinematography Center (QKK) is actually quite active considering the country’s small population, less than 2 million, and smaller state budget. The center has partially funded 154 film projects in the past decade. Last year, it earmarked 1,179,400 euros ($1.32 million) for 27 projects, including several feature films.

 

For lack of screens to show them on, “Unfortunately, the Kosovar audience is deprived of the chance to watch these films, even though they pay for them to be produced,” director Ben Apolloni said.

 

The QKK website lists just five cinemas in Kosovo – three in the capital, Pristina, and one each in Prizren and Peja. Only the Pristina movie theaters show films regularly, Prishtina Insight says.

 

 

Local films do sometimes show in Pristina. The Cineplexx cinema said it has screened six local films to a total of 30,000 viewers since it opened. Alush Gashi  of Kino Armata, a Yugoslav-era cinema that reopened as an art house last year, has screened more local films – 20 shorts and seven documentaries – to a total of about 2,000 people.

 

 

 

  • Kosovo is far from unique in seeing movie houses disappear and audiences dwindle over the past two to three decades. The trend was even stronger in countries where generous support for the film business ended with the collapse of Communism.

 

  • Kosovo cinema-goers have more choice in the summer thanks to a couple of established festivals. The largest festival, Dokufest, will run for the 18th time this August in Prizren. Pristina’s international film festival Prifest will take place in July.

 

  • Cold November, a Kosovan-Albanian-North Macedonian co-production about life in Pristina under Serbian rule in 1992, won an honorable mention at the goEast festival of Central and East European film this month in Wiesbaden, Film New Europe reports.
Compiled by Ky Krauthamer
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