Winner of the prestigious Sundance Festival, premiered at Cannes, the EFA nominee and one of the most successful shorts from Kosovo. Based on a true story of a post-war Kosovo’s ping pong club and two enthusiasts struggling to maintain it.
Kosovo | 2021 | 15 min
PRODUCTION: Eroll Bilibani
CAST: Jeton Mazreku, Ermegan Kazazi, Rifat Rifati
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Samir Karahoda
EDITING: Enis Saraci
SOUND: Memli Kelmendi
In post-war Kosovo, driven by the ambition of keeping their beloved sport alive, two local players wander from one obscure location to another carrying with them the only possession of the club: their tables. Blending both documentary and fictional elements, the film centres on Ermegan and Jeton from Prizren who are attempting to rebuild the local table tennis club despite a lack of resources. Made by great photographer turned director Samir Karahoda, who is also a resourceful programmer at Doku Fest in Prizren, the film explores Kosovo reality. After his short film “In Between” (screened at ENFF, premiered at Berlinale), this film had its premiere in Cannes, it was nominated for the European Film Awards, and won prizes at Sundance, Toronto, among others.
DISPLACED tells the story of a post-war Kosovo ping pong club, the ‘Lidhja e Prizrenit’ (League of Prizren) and its journey to the present day, through the lives of its two main protagonists and the coach of the club. The film takes the form of docu-fiction, for which we recreated actual events with real characters, combining real footage from the present. The ‘Ping Pong Federation’ was the first Kosovo sports federation to be internationally recognized after the end of the Kosovo War in the late 1990s.
Every day, new talents in Kosovo emerge. Kosovo has Olympic champions, World and European champions. But instead of investing in the development of sports infrastructure and the future of our youth, the government only brags about the international successes of Kosovo’s athletes. No competing sport in our country meets minimum conditions or infrastructural standards to hold international matches.
DISPLACED is a tribute to all the athletes who, with enthusiasm and a quiet perseverance, manage to overcome the problem of lack of space, and represent their country by contributing more to the state than the state contributes to them. Despite their success, the ‘Ping Pong Federation’ is still ignored by the local and central authorities, a condition that shows no sign of changing anytime soon. I hope and believe that this film will help us draw attention to the dreams of these young people and embolden the state to lend them a hand.
Festivals & Awards (selection)
Cannes Film Festival, 2021 – International Premiere | Sarajevo Film Festival, 2021 – Special Jury Mention | European Film Awards, 2021 – Nominee for Best European Short Film | Toronto International Film Festival, 2021 – IMDbPro Short Cuts Award for Best Film | Trieste Film Festival, 2022 – Best Short Film | Sundance Film Festival, 2022 – Short Film Jury Award
Samir Karahoda began working as a photographer in 1992. In 2003 he completed his photography studies at the Academy of Fine Arts at Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul. In addition to his work as a photographer, he is also a cinematographer, tutor and curator of the short film program at the DokuFest, Documentary and Short Film Festival in Prizren. His documentary short film IN BETWEEN was his directorial debut, which in 2019 had its world premiere at the Berlinale as the first Kosovar film to compete at this festival. IN BETWEEN was also a candidate for the European Film Awards. DISPLACED is his second short film which had its premiere at the Official Competition at Cannes Film Festival.