Transformational Leadership Program - Scholarships and Partnerships

Scholar Champions Unheard Voices, Stories In Kosovo Film

TLP-SP scholar Kaltrina Krasniqi was awarded support from the Kosovo Cinematography Center (KCC) last month for the feature film she directed, “Vera e andrron detin” [Vera dreams of the sea].

The film, written by Doruntina Basha and produced by Shkumbin Istrefi, was one of 17 chosen for the award. It follows the title charaacter Vera, a 60 year old woman in Kosovo, as she seeks a divorce in a conservative culture while navigating issues of equality and property.

The KCC jury found the film “abstract, symbolic and critical at the same time”, praising the intimacy with which the piece examined Kosovo society and values while resonating with women and other marginalized groups such as Roma, seniors, and the deaf-mute.

“I am interested in…this particular generation of people who have all of their life fallen between these two worlds,” said Krasniqi.

“A lot of these very important stories come from this fading generation that have been educated and brought up in this completely different system and are continually trying to adjust to the so called new times ”

Image Watch more of Krasniqi's work on Vimeo.Photo courtesy Kaltrina Krasniqi.

Krasniqi was introduced to film shortly after the Kosovo War ended when she was 18 years old. She went on to study Film Directing at Kosovo’s Academy of Arts and later completed a Master’s degree at the Kosovo Institute for Media and Communication.

Krasniqi has worked in film, television, publishing and web since 2001, co-founding or co-directing several local cultural and historical initiatives including the popular Prishtina café-bookshop Dit’ e Nat’ and the Kosovo Oral History Initiative.

Now, Krasniqi is studying in the United States as a scholar of the Transformational Leadership Program – Scholarships and Partnerships (TLP-SP). The Program, supported by USAID, World Learning, and the Government of Kosovo, allows her to pursue a professional certificate in Business of Entertainment at the University of California-Los Angeles.

Image A still from Krasniqi's latest short film, "The Canaries Know" (2014).

“I need this type of education in order to gain a more in-depth understanding of production and also co-production,” said Krasniqi, emphasizing that in today’s world—especially in Europe—countries rely on each other to make films.

“The film industry in Kosovo is still very, very young. Even though it has been very successful, the industry in itself is not sustainable professionally speaking because…our department of film is not developing with the pace of our industry,” she said.

Krasniqi began bridging that gap by founding Vera Films—named after her character—what she describes as “one of my first companies that will focus much more on the development of women’s gaze in cinema”.

She plans to continue developing the organization when she returns home in December, along with pursuing a new career in producing noncommercial films that tell unique stories, supporting writers and directors along the way.

“At this time I’m interested in making films which are not about the young and vibrant but are, on the contrary, about the old and slow,” she said. “I see a lot of potential there with many interesting voices”.

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