American Night Reception at DokuFest

Ambassador Delawie’s Remarks at the American Night Reception at DokuFest, August 7, 2017

Hello everyone, how are you doing? What a beautiful night in Prizren! The power of the United States to create good weather. It’s wonderful to see you all here tonight for the fifth annual America Night at DokuFest.  It is my real pleasure to continue the tradition of sharing cultural traditions between our two countries, and this year, our visions for the future, through film.

We are here to celebrate the American filmmakers, directors, producers, and educators participating in this year’s festival.  And we are also celebrating the DokuFest team’s success, and Kosovo’s success, in creating and sustaining a world-class film festival.  I just heard an expert compare it favorably to the Berlinale- wow, that’s incredible!

Prizren, as you all know, is a cultural treasure of Kosovo.  This is my second visit to this beautiful city in just two weeks.  Prizren’s charm, religious and cultural heritage sites, and summer festivals attract people from all over the world.

Just in the last few hours I’ve met with young filmmakers, a thriving business, and tourism entrepreneurs working to connect people to the many beautiful sites of Kosovo.

We at the Embassy are proud to support DokuFest and other projects in Prizren that have helped attract international attention and turn the city into a point of pride and the cultural destination it is today.

I recently visited Prizren Castle and saw the remarkable restoration work.  I am happy to see the castle being used again for this year’s festival.  This was one of our goals when we funded the restoration: to see the castle open for public use and in active public use constantly.  If you haven’t made the trek up there yet, I urge you to take the time to explore the recent changes.  Though maybe you should wait for a day when it isn’t 40 degrees. But please go soon, it is tremendous.

When we speak of historical restoration or even documentary film, we often associate it with the past.  But understanding our history is critical to creating a better future.  So I was very excited to hear that the theme of this year’s DokuFest is “The Future.”

We are thrilled to have here tonight several American filmmakers and curators.  Throughout the festival they will share their ideas on how to use film to highlight social issues and capture untold stories that will help shape our future, all of our future.  Thank you Americans for making the trip to Kosovo and to Prizren.  I hope you enjoy the festival, and I hope the connections you make with other talented filmmakers and industry representatives last well into the future. I hope when you go back to the United States, you will tell everybody what an incredible country Kosovo is and what an incredible festival Dokufest is.

I want to thank Nita, Veton, Eroll, and the entire DokuFest team for all of your hard work to make this festival a success for Prizren and for Kosovo.  Would one of you like to say a few words?

*A representative from DokuFest gives brief remarks*

There is one more group I think we have to thank. Just like in the United States, so much important work would not get done without the help of volunteers. Those here, for example, wearing “I’m so future.” I’m not quite sure what it means, I’m the wrong generation, but there are lots of other people around town wearing “I’m so future” t-shirts. They are volunteering, they are helping out, they are making Prizren a better place, they are making Kosovo a better place. Please think about volunteering, you too, in whatever you do.

Thank you very much for coming, thank you Dokufest. It was a pleasure to host you all this evening. Have a great time!