Written for Kosovo 2.0 during our coverage of the Dokufest film festival in Prizren.
If all you do during Dokufest is hike from screening to screening, you’re not going get the full Dokufest experience. Take it from veteran festival-goers, there’s so much more to Dokufest than just the movies. To really “do” Dokufest properly, there are a few things you shouldn’t leave without doing:
1. Getting an early start to the day with a tea. Prizren’s many tea houses sell their tea at fifteen cents a cup – typically dark, Turkish tea that packs a punch stronger than an espresso. Recover from your hangover by grabbing a newspaper and a kifle (a type of croissant), and enjoy watching the city slowly come to life.
2. Hanging out in the Marash district, right beside the river Lumebardh. Do this in the evenings, when the sun has set and the heat dies down. Grab some friends, drink some beer, sit on the grass, and enjoy the Dokunight concerts playing at the nearby Mullini cafe.
3. It’s a rite of passage for first timers to the festival: Prizren’s fortress dates back from Byzantine times, and was used for defense up until 1912. It now houses the Kino Kalaja (Albanian for Fortress Cinema), as well some of the most spectacular views of the city imaginable. Well worth the hike up Cvilen Hill.
4. The DokuCamp is new and improved: under this year’s management, the green, secluded oasis is now a great option for your Dokufest stay. Located right beside the river, you can start the day with a quick dip before heading to your first screening of the day.
5. Leave the festival circuit and get lost in Prizren. The narrow streets, Ottoman architecture and small craft shops make Prizren the only city of its kind in Kosovo. Must-see sites: the League of Prizren, the Sinan Pasha Mosque, the Sarachane Tekke, and the numerous old family homes of Prizren, some dating back as far as the 1800’s.
6. Most importantly: the people. Appreciators of good film, artists, activists, travellers and fun-seekers of all stripes make the festival and the city come alive every year. Come with an open mind, and say “yes” to every invitation.
See you at the festival,