Schools and Documentaries


“Promoting Democratic Values and Human Rights through Film” Extracurricular activities are at the core of DokuFest’s engagement for over a decade, helping establishment of more than 10 cinema clubs throughout high schools of Kosovo that actively use documentary film in classrooms as extracurricular activity to enable students to concretize abstract topics of human rights, help them develop interpersonal, intercultural and societal relations and deepen their understanding and respect for differences among citizens. They also help in achieving more tolerance and respect for others.Referring to new Curricular Framework by Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), calling for increased use of alternative tools in Education, primarily Audio-Visual Tools, through the support of National Endowment for Democracy, we managed to align our methodology with new Curricular Framework of MEST engaging 17 teachers from 7 municipalities in a training program on use of film in classroom and development of didactical materials in form of film guides.

“School and Documentary” Professional Teacher Development Workshop with emphasis on use of audiovisual materials as alternative tools in process of teaching. The project aims to further expand the film catalogue and didactic materials for the Online Teacher Resource in all local languages. Provision of these tools will facilitate the needed teacher professional development connected with the on-going school curriculum reform and student achievement.The most recent partnership with the WHY Foundation in Denmark, and our longstanding partnership with Balkan Documentary Distribution Network we have managed to secure moving and thought-provoking film titles to be used by facilitators and thematic experts for professional teacher development.Through this facilitated process, teachers are developing film guides that are aligned with Kosovo Curriculum Framework that available to all teachers in Kosovo through Online Teacher Resource. The film guides will be used as a tool by teachers, primarily in public schools to achieve a wide range of effective learning outcome in their use of film. The guides also include activities to use in the classroom after the film screenings.

Facilitated discussion on Sexual Violence as a tool of War, after the screening of the film “Soldiers Who Rape”. The discussion was facilitated by teacher Gyltene Isufi, who participated in the workshop “School and Documentary” The content management of the platform provides access to films, film clips, film guides as well as activity sheets to be used by teachers in respective schools. Rise of hate speech is the kind of discrimination that is so strongly present across the whole Western Balkans, and has now become a part of public life. Through the facilitated process by thematic experts, teachers are guided to develop the guides and ensure alignment with the MEST’s revised Kosovo Curriculum Framework, with particular emphasis on lessons that include misinterpreted data and encourage hate speech.

All of these activities over the years enabled a natural expansion of the project to develop several pillars – that of inviting schools to specific events, development of educational materials, provision of tools to a tangible human rights film school, enabling students to learn the basis and methodology in filmmaking in order to address human right issues and democratic values through their lens. This process allowed us to be recognized as a key institution that utilizes documentaries as educational tools in high schools in areas populated by the majority and minority communities.When we analyze the NED supported program and multidimensional approach to enrich its activities by using the infrastructure of the organization (equipment, facilities, additional human resources involved in project implementation) we can conclude that the project not only allowed reaching out to schools, but it addition enabled us to guide high school students in exploring their creativity in addressing important human rights issues and democratic values through the medium of documentary film.Six generations of students through “Future is Here” Film School, researched, produced and showcased their work, initially at DokuFest and later to international Festivals, exceeding all of our expectations.

Our approach inspired likeminded organizations to establish similar approaches in their respective countries, creating open minded and progressive collectives across Western Balkans, ready to collaborate based on reciprocity, trust and sharing within a dynamic cooperation environment. Despite the isolation due to Visa Liberalization Policies of the EU, the local stories of our young students travelled around the world. Due to their universality, strong social and activist approach films travelled to events such as “Feminist Border Arts Film Festival” of New Mexico State University in the United States to “Equality International Film Festival” in Kiev, Ukraine. These are just few examples of participation from long list of Festivals and Human Rights events where films produced through NED support.Films can be viewed under Film link on this webpage or directly on DokuFest’s Vimeo Channels.

This program has been funded by NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY

© DokuFestPhoto credits: Elmedina Arapi, Eroll Bilibani