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To Each Their Own Documentary: Eighth Edition of the Film School

It is insufficient for young people to watch inspirational, critical and radical documentaries about the society they live in – whether microcosm of their society or the global one – without giving them the opportunity to express their views, insights and perspectives through the same medium.

Through “School and Documentary” project, DokuFest aims to teach young people the process of making documentaries about their surroundings – by giving them the tools, the know-how and professional assistance necessary to make their own activist films.

The target group are high school students, who go through the process guided by professionals in the field – from the brainstorming and pre-production to the final phases. Their curiosity for the world is around them is key, bringing a transformative aspect to the workshops.

Blerta Zeqiri guiding the students through the storytelling process

As we entered 2020, 20 young people from Prizren, Shtime, Gjilan, Ferizaj, Peja and Prishtina joined the filmmaking camp in one of the landmark venues of Prizren – Cinema Lumbardhi. Mentored by seasoned filmmakers Andrijana Stojković and Blerta Zeqiri, eight ambitious projects were conceived. Cinematographer Samir Karahoda provided hands-on cinematography training, empowering these young talents to tell their visual stories.

Cinematography training by Samir Karahoda

The film projects include stories on Climate Change, Gender Based Violence, Technology and Adolescence, Traditions and Youth, Human Rights etc. With the completion of all required footage, the film teams will reconvene to finalize the editing and prepare the films for the upcoming edition of DokuFest, to be held from 7-15 August 2020 in Prizren, Kosovo.

Background:

In 2008 – 2009, DokuFest organized screenings of human rights related documentary films to high school students in Prizren. This project included 3,000 students that attended the screenings, further expressing their interest to debate on the topics that came out from the documentaries. This expanded to t a similar project that included students from high schools in Dragash, Mamusha and Suhareka in addition to those in Prizren.

Simultaneously, DokuFest published an educational supplement that could be used in high schools – a manual on documentary films and their usage as an educational tool when discussing social issues, human rights and developmental problems.

These schools will receive the necessary equipment for film screenings and documentary films on human rights topics. Film clubs will organize screenings twice a month, which will be followed by debates on the issues that arose from the films. Screenings and debates aim at increasing awareness amongst students in topics of human rights and promotion of democratic values.

“School and Documentary” reinforces DokuFest’s aim to contribute as an educational factor in the community, as well as actively raising awareness amongst students in topics of human rights and democratic values. This project was the predominant factor in the establishment of DokuLab program and future vision and approach in educational activities.

The project is generously supported by the National Endowment for Democracy.

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