Magazine article Screen International

Industry Issue Government Petition at Kosovo's PriFest

Magazine article Screen International

Industry Issue Government Petition at Kosovo's PriFest

Article excerpt

Delegates at the 2016 Pristina Film Festival have issued a petition to the Kosovan government in the form of the Pristina Declaration, a call for support for the country's film industry.

The document outlines four key issues that signatories see as critical to the industry's future success:

• Kosovo's citizens are the only ones in Europe who need Visas to travel around the continent, prohibiting ease of movement for film-makers to festivals etc.

• Kosovo has no access to the Council of Europe's Eurimages funds for the co-production, distribution and exhibition of European films.

• Kosovo has no access to Creative Europe funds.

• Kosovo has no access to the European Commission's MEDIA sub-programmes funds.

Signatories included Oscar-winning producer Cedomir Kolar (No Man's Land), Torino Film Lab's head of programmes Matthieu Darras, and PriFest directors Vjosa Berisha and Fatos Berisha. The petition will remain open for the duration of the festival (April 22-29).

Speaking to Screen, Kolar emphasised the importance of inclusivity: "Kosovo is segregated completely. We are still in Europe, a very troubled part of Europe which is now calming down. If we continue the divisions it is bad for everyone.

"They are the only ones who cannot travel without visas, they're always considered second class citizens. There's no way back from independence now, we have to do something."

The petition states that political obstacles currently prohibiting the free movement for Kosovan film-makers, and access to funds, are creating "isolation" and "deeper cultural differences" making "fertile ground for extremism".

It cites the potential for culture, particularly film, to have "a strong positive impact on Kosovan society" and claims that the industry is approaching a "critical moment".

Fatos Berisha commented to Screen: "The isolation is a terrible thing. …

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