Joint-production films between Kosovo and Bangladesh is possible – Veton Nurkollari


Veton Nurkollari is an eminent film personality from Kosovo who also is an artistic director of the ‘International Documentary and Short Film Festival DokuFest’, recently visited Bangladesh at the invitation of the Embassy of Kosovo in Bangladesh to participate at the Kosovo Film Days that was held for the first time in the country, which was held on June 5-6 at the National Museum in Dhaka. The Embassy of Kosovo in Bangladesh organized this event in association with the Bangladesh National Museum and DokuFest, Kosovo. At this event local audiences from Bangladesh watched a feature film and 7 short films from Kosovo.

During this event, Bangladesh journalist Ahmed Tepantor interviewed Veton Nurkollari. Here is the excerpt:

Ahmed Tepantor: What is the strength of Kosovo Cinema?

Veton Nurkollari: I would say that one of the biggest strengths of Kosovo cinema is this new generation of emerging filmmakers that are freeing themselves from traditional ways of making films and are bringing fresh, and in some cases, even experimental approaches to their filmmaking practices.

Ahmed Tepantor: Please tell me a little about DokuFest.

Veton Nurkollari: DokuFest is the largest and most important film festival in Kosovo. It started as a very small initiative in 2002 by a group of people with the simple aim of saving and reviving the last remaining cinema in the city of Prizren. Today, it has grown to become one of the most respected documentary and short film festivals in this part of the world.

Ahmed Tepantor: What is the core focus of DokuFest?

Veton Nurkollari: As mentioned above, DokuFest is predominantly a documentary and short film festival and its main focus is in bringing the best of documentary and short film to its audience in Kosovo. However, Dokufest is also focused very much on using documentary film in the classrooms as well as in running training programs for young filmmakers through its DokuLab initiative.

Ahmed Tepantor: Is there any scope to show a Bangladeshi cinema package at your festival?

Veton Nurkollari: I believe that there is a scope or possibility to show Bangladeshi cinema at our festival in the near future and part of my visit to Bangladesh was to explore this kind of possibility.

Bangladesh journalist Ahmed Tepantor (Left) with Veton Nurkollari, eminent film personality from Kosovo. Image credit: Atikur Rahman.

Ahmed Tepantor: As we know within a very short time Kosovo film professionals are successfully working in world cinema, so what is the essence?

Veton Nurkollari: There are probably different reasons and many factors for the recent successes of Kosovo’s cinema, one probably being increased interest in a rather unknown cinematic art coming from a place very few know or heard about, except for war-related issues. The other could be the above-mentioned fresh or simplistic take on important themes, resulting in a new cinema that has already started to be labeled New Kosovo Wave in cinema.

Ahmed Tepantor: What about Film education in Kosovo?

Veton Nurkollari: In Kosovo, there is a Film and TV department which is a part of the University of Prishtina. Still not enough as we feel there should be more options to study film but as I mentioned Kosovo is a young country and not everything is possible in such a short time.

Ahmed Tepantor: Do you think proper cine journalism can help to navigate the cinema industry?

Veton Nurkollari: Proper cine journalism is essential and very much needed for a healthy cinema industry.

Ahmed Tepantor: Did you watch any Bangladesh film? If not, then why? Do you think this is a lack of proper distribution of Bangladeshi cinema worldwide?

Veton Nurkollari: I have watched very few Bangladeshi films, unfortunately. Partly because not many films from Bangladesh are being submitted to our festival but also because I don’t see them often at other festivals too. Not sure if it has to do with the lack of distribution of Bangladeshi cinema though, it could be. But I have seen a Bangladeshi film recently, called A Day After, by Kamar Ahmad Simon, an absolutely wonderful film, I should say.

Ahmed Tepantor: Is there any possibility to make Kosovo–Bangladesh joint production?

Veton Nurkollari: In Kosovo, there are possibilities for co-productions through a state-funded Kosovo Cinematography Center, where a minority co-production scheme exists. So, in theory, a co-production between Kosovo and Bangladesh is possible and I would encourage Bangladeshi producers to explore this opportunity.

Ahmed Tepantor: As it is your first visit to Bangladesh, what is your opinion about this country?

Veton Nurkollari: Yes, this was my first time in Bangladesh and while quite short I did enjoy my time in Dhaka. I hope to return soon to explore a bit more of your beautiful country and its cinematic heritage.


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