Following a tour of the world that’s seen it jump around more international locations than a student taking a “gap year” from university, the documentary film ‘Kosovo: A Moment in Civilization’ is finally en route to Australia. Much like that Contiki-tired traveller, it brings with it some fascinating stories, amazing video footage of sights few have seen and even fewer have visited, and all of this while still speaking English. First stop is Sydney, and it touches down next week!
Shot in just 10 days, with only a 4-man crew, including presenter, Stefan Popovic and director, Boris Malagurski the film deals with Serbia’s endangered UNESCO World Heritage sites in its southern province of Kosovo. Since war in the region in 1999, over 150 Christian churches and monasteries have been destroyed by Albanian extremists. 4 monasteries are included on UNESCO’s “List of Endangered World Heritage” and the film focuses on those monuments. While this isn’t a political film, understanding the political context of the subject matter is crucial to the audience’s understanding and appreciation of the significance of these heritage sites. Their history, splendour and vulnerability are presented through the story of one man’s childhood, drawing a parallel with civilization’s childhood. Short of having David Attenborough team up with Bear Grylls, Michael Palin and Billy Connolly, the story of these hidden treasures could not have been told better.
As is often the case in the making of a film, what went on behind the scenes is just as interesting as what made it to the big screen and it’ll give you an added appreciation for the finished product. According to the film’s presenter and its director, it was a combination of guerrilla recording, switching licence plates on transport vehicles, social media silence and police stops. In fact, by the time of the world premiere in Paris, Popovic had been detained for questioning by Kosovo police, Malagurski had received threats via Twitter and an official statement from the cabinet of the self-declared “independent government of Kosovo” condemned the film before it had even been screened. Great publicity, but to say that things escalated quickly would be an understatement.
Considering all of these factors and the subject matter of the film itself, perhaps the greatest triumph here is the fact that this film was completed at all – especially to this standard – and that we as a western audience are even in a position to see it. Filmed on a shoestring budget comprised almost entirely of public donations and with the support of various individuals and institutions, it’s here and against all odds, it’s actually bloody good! This is a film for everyone where you might just learn something while also being impressed by some stellar cinematography. What’s more, with a Geelong boy as the presenter (and special guest of the Australian premieres), there’s even some local flavour in there to entice you to come along to a screening when this international film lands on Aussie soil! Get amongst it!
Full info on limited Sydney and Melbourne screenings below:
Kosovo: A moment in Civilisation – Times, place and dates:
Friday 9th March at Bonnyrigg Sports Club – Starts 8pm
Saturday 10th March at Paddington RSL – Starts 7pm
Friday 16th March at St Nicholas Church Hall, Geelong – Starts 7pm
Saturday 17th March at Holy Trinity Church, Melbourne – Starts 7pm
Tickets are only $20 and are available via Eventbrite:
Holy Trinity Church Hall, Melbourne – Coming Soon – Facebook event post coming soon.