April 6, 2022 | Wednesday
During the shooting of the film I had first-hand experiences with family members pulling children (talents) away from the table tennis club because of its miserable conditions. We live in the 21st century, we aspire to join the European Union, and we do not even provide our children with the space to dream. If we do not invest in our athletes and talents now, tomorrow it will be too late, they will choose other paths that will cost us much more for their rehabilitation.
“Do these people have children?”, Ermegan says in the café scene. We shot a dialogue, which still hurts me the most for not being in the film, since during the editing process I had to remove it, because of the form of the story.
We started an initiative, through the film, to touch on a topic that directly affects every child, parent and family – our dreams.
Our country is rich in talents, but poor in policymakers who enable talents to realize their dreams. Having personally experienced the struggle of my 11-year-old son Miron – who has already realized that there’s no future for him in this country – and the experience of my life-long friend Jeton, I decided to make a film entitled “No Place”. Our goal was to raise awareness on this topic and for the film to speak to the society and especially the decision-making authorities, so it had to be screened at a major festival to then be able to get the attention of politicians and authorities. We achieved our goal, we had the premiere of the film at the biggest and most important festival in the world, that of Cannes. We made history, we were there for the first time as a state, it was no coincidence why the film is 15 minutes long (Cannes rules). The other goal was achieved after the Prime Minister came to Cannes, when I believe he saw for the first time how talents and children of his country practice their sports in miserable conditions, despite their successful and dignified representation of their state.
For me and my film crew, the protagonists and everyone else who was part of the film managed to raise their voices and claim the rights of those who deserve it in the best creative form. Of the five biggest festivals in the world, we competed in three of them and in all three of them we won awards. In Cannes, the best European film, in Toronto, the best short film, in Sundance, the best documentary short film. This is something rare or unprecedented.
Former Mayor of Prizren, Mr. Mytaher Haskuka, allocated the budget and assigned space for the construction of the multi-functional hall and this process was stopped in the PRB (Procurement Review Body) due to tender complaints and unfortunately, this institution does not have an active board and the case remains pending like hundreds of others. Therefore, with this article I wish to invite the responsible institutions, namely the Government of Kosovo, to consider the establishment of the board of the PRB as soon as possible and to review with priority the status of the multi-functional hall tender, respectively the Table Tennis Club in Prizren. Any delay means greater despair for these talents and dreams cut short!
During the shooting of the film I had first-hand experiences with family members pulling children (talents) away from the club because of its miserable conditions. We live in the 21st century, we aspire to join the European Union, and we do not even provide our children with the space to dream. It is no coincidence that in the 2021 edition, the “Lidhja e Prizrenit” team had a perfect score of 32 wins out of 32 games, all played as guests, as they couldn’t play host.
As a film team we think the artistic journey of our film ends here, as there is nothing greater that can happen after the unimagined journey. What we saw in this team is something special, which I could only show with a film. I’m sure these kids will one day make us proud. They proved with their silent war that they are real talents and they love their country and that their country does not even see them!
If we do not invest in our athletes and talents now, tomorrow it will be too late, they will choose other paths that will cost us much more for their rehabilitation!
If we had invested more in talents and athletes, we would have a completely different image than the one we have today, we would have much more good news and we would be much more proud of our country than we are today, therefore I invite the authorities to pay utmost attention to the youth and talents of our country!
Despite all the awards we have received for the film “No Place”, for me personally and the film team, the biggest award for us would be the moment of starting the construction of the table tennis hall and the feeling that these talents have found a home for which they will play with pride. This has been our main goal from the beginning.
I am sure that we are not such a poor country that we do not have the means to create facilities for athletes, we are not so miserable to admit this injustice to young people, but we have proven for years that as a society we are good at stealing the future of our children!
On behalf of the film team and all the protagonists, we wish you a happy International Table Tennis Day with the hope that next year on this day we will celebrate in the promised hall and these talents will have the hall they deserve!
Samir Karahoda is the author of the film “Displaced”