Odessa International Film Festival goes ‘beyond borders’ at Kosovo’s PriFest

– PriFest is preparing to welcome several guests from Ukraine to allow them to present their films, as well as participate in the pitch and present their film projects

In keeping with its main motto, “Friendship. For all time. and as a sign of support and solidarity, the Prishtina International Film Festival (PriFest) will this year host the Odessa International Film Festival (OIFF) in Kosovo. PriFest will provide space to perform part of the OIFF program in Prishtina, which means that on 14and edition of PriFest and 13and edition of the OIFF will take place from 26 to 31 July.

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The two festivals always shared the same July slot and often shared international guests, who went directly from one festival to the other. This year, both gatherings were to take place the last week of July; however, OIFF had to cancel the procedure due to the war. PriFest management then contacted OIFF officials and offered to host the festival in Prishtina with some of its programs and guests.

Vjosa Berisha, Managing Director of PriFest, said: “We are really worried and saddened to see what is happening in Ukraine at the moment. We survived the war 20 years ago, so we really have sympathy for Ukraine and its people. Culture and the arts suffer alike in these situations, and seeing the Ukrainian people and how brave they are to resist and fight back, we felt we had to do something for our colleagues. So we contacted our friends from the Odessa International Film Festival and explained our idea to them. And we are very proud to announce that we will have a special program of films by young Ukrainian filmmakers presented at PriFest as part of the Odesa IFF program. Also, ten Ukrainian feature film projects will participate in the PriForum, for the pitching session, then they will go to the Prishtina Rendezvous to meet the sellers, producers and selectors of the festival. Our goal is to allow Ukrainian filmmakers and the management of OIFF to be present in Prishtina. I hope everything will be fine by then and that they can come.

Anna Machukh, Director General of OIFF (see interview), underlined: “Russia’s cynical and unjust invasion of Ukraine has had a direct impact on every Ukrainian, and on all branches and industries that are developing in the country. We were deprived of the possibility of holding the 13and Odessa International Film Festival in the format that our guests and viewers love so much. But we are very grateful to our colleagues from the Prishtina International Film Festival for the opportunity to have OIFF Beyond Borders at PriFest and show Ukrainian film projects to foreign audiences. In recent years, Ukrainian cinema has steadily grown, strengthened and conquered fans from all over the world. We can’t stop now and we have to tell the story of Ukrainian culture to the whole world. I am sure that very interesting, original and unique projects about Ukraine and its special culture will be waiting for us during the pitch session.

This initiative is implemented with the support of the city of Prishtina. The Mayor of Pristina, Perparim Ramamade the following statement: “It’s a great occasion – given the situation with the war in Ukraine, it’s fantastic that this year the Odessa International Film Festival is holding its 13and edition here in Prishtina, in partnership with PriFest, the most successful film festival in our capital. The city of Prishtina will support this beautiful stage of cooperation between the two festivals. This is an opportunity to express solidarity with Ukraine and support its fight for a fundamental right: freedom.

Applications are accepted until May 25 and can be submitted here. PriFest is preparing to welcome several guests from Ukraine to allow them to present their films, as well as participate in the pitch and present their film projects.

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