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The 7th edition of Zubroffka in Białystok and Podlasie in Poland came to an end last Sunday. The festival was a great success with screening of dozens of noteworthy short films. 76 shorts in five competitions were presented along with sections of shorts from film festivals such as Onedotzero, Dokufest in Kosovo, Queer Lisboa Film Festival, Reykjavík Shorts & Docs Festival, Japan Media Arts, Timishort Film Festival and Sami Shorts from Lapland (FI). Information of awards and jury statements can be found on Zubroffka´s Facebook page.
Zubroffka focuses mainly on short fiction but some documentaries were included in the sections at the festival. Having seen 64 shorts in 5 days, some of Docs & Film Festival’s favorite documentaries include;
– Pariah, dir. Anton Tayshikhin (Russia, 2011), a documentary about Vladimir, a Belarussian Buddhist, who wanted to learn about Buddhism in Russia and went to live with Buddhists in Buryatia, Russia.
– Poppy, dir. James Cunningham (New Zealand, 2009), an animated story based on real events. Poppy is about two New Zealand soldiers who are trapped behind enemy lines in WW II. They find an orphaned baby and one soldier wants to save it, the other does not. One of the soldiers is the great-grandfather of the writer.
– Reindeer Princess, dir. Nils John Porsanger (Norway, 2010), a short documentary about Anne Risten, the only female competitor in the male dominated sport of competitive reindeer racing. Anna and her reindeer Ena II have a special bond, and together they aim for nothing else than victory in reindeer racing.
A special mention must be given to the whole section of shorts from Dokufest in Kosovo which included five short films. All films tell a story related to the war in Kosovo, and are based on true events. With that in mind, doc/fiction is maybe a better classification for these films. Dokufest in Kosovo is one of the most renowned documentary film festivals in the Balkan region. The festival was established in 2001 in the city of Pristina. At the time there was no cinema in the city, but founders of the festival build numerous screening rooms from scratch every year since. The films in the Dokufest section are;
– Kolona, dir. Ujkan Hysaj, 2012
– Like a dog in a Vineyard, dir. YLL Citaku, Driton Hajredini, 2011
– The Iron Mungary, dir. Burim Haliti (Kosovo, 2010)
– Ninulla, dir. Antoneta Kastrati & Casey Cooper Johnston, 2011
– The Basement, dir. Arian Mustafa, 2001
Zubroffka is without a doubt a film festival to attend for those interested in short films. The film festival has become one of the top cultural events in Białystok and Podlasie and will definitely grow even bigger. And as for the location, the city of Białystok dressed itself up in a beautiful thin layer of snow during the film festival, charming everyone who came for a visit.