On August 5th, the producers of the BAFTA-winning short film “Home” gathered in the same room for Dokufest — and the first time in their lives.
In addition to the 2017 BAFTA for best short film, “Home”—which profiles a family’s wartime migration—has enjoyed a successful run streaming on platforms like Facebook and Vimeo, attracting millions of views. BBC 1 presented a special broadcast of the film in recognition of its cultural impact.
The producers presented a retrospective panel on the film, reflecting on the UK-Kosovo joint production. Apart from a string of emails, conference calls, and one-on-one flights from Kosovo to the UK, this was all of the producer’s first chance to meet and discuss the film that made the world take note of Kosovo cinema.
“There’s a magical substance connecting Kosovo and the UK,” said Afolabi Kuti, one of the film’s producers.
The panel discussed how this deep partnership could be misunderstood occasionally. UN representative Shpend Qamili recalled meetings questioning why “Home” was a Kosovar film, considering some British resources and personnel involved with its production.
“This is our project because 400 Kosovars worked on it,” he said. He added that this cultural connectivity created countless small stories from the creation of sets to humorous interactions.
“The whole UN family in Kosovo stood by the project from the beginning to the end,” Qamili said.
Kuti added that director Daniel Mulloy was a driving force behind the film’s creation, explaining that he often gave the filmmakers goals they thought were impossible.
“I was humbled by the trust Daniel gave me,” producer Shpat Deda said. “When I finished, it felt like I graduated university.”
Most of the film’s production was done for no material gain. According to Deda, the overriding motivation and thread connecting the production was simple: compassion for the world’s refugees.
“The best way to learn about other people is to tell their stories,” Kuti said.
While the film was inspired by Kosovo’s own history of wartime migration and Mulloy’s interaction with refugee families, it was not made for one time or place.
Kuti said that this happens all around the world, explaining why the film refrains from clearly stating its setting or time period while focusing on the human impact of conflict.
However, this doesn’t mean they want to stop producing films together. The producers discussed hinted at another, bigger project on the way.
“Or five,” Qamili said. 🙂