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Cinema scene Kosovo filmmakers work towards a brighter future

Portrait Ilir Hasanaj

Filmmakers in Kosovo are helping to inspire and empower people, and that’s why Switzerland is supporting them.

Independent filmmaker Ilir Hasanaj is the son of a political activist who fled from Kosovo to Switzerland. Ilir grew up in Winterthur, attended film school in Zurich, then went back to Kosovo to make a movie. He decided to stay because he felt he could really make a difference there. He's now in charge of screenings at an independent cinema in Pristina.

He is part of a wave of new filmmakers in Kosovo who are addressing social and environmental issues. The annual Dokufestexternal link in Prizren in the southwest also provides a platform for young engaged filmmakers. Dokufest received €30,000 (CHF32,000) from Switzerland in 2019.

In the same year, Switzerland doubled its funding (to €25,000/CHF26,000) for the Anibar International Animation Festival external linkin the northern city of Peja. A Swiss government spokesman said the festival, geared towards young filmmakers, had transformed animation into an important medium in Kosovo. 

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