Oscars: Kosovo Selects 'Zana' for International Feature Film Category

'Zana'

Antoneta Kastrati's debut feature had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Kosovo has submitted Antoneta Kastrati's feature debut Zana for consideration in the international feature Oscar category.

The film, a co-production with neighboring Albania, follows the story of Lume (Adriana Matoshi), an Albanian woman who lives with her husband and mother in law in a village. Lume lost her only child a decade before during the civil war that raged across the former Yugoslavia and is now haunted by night terrors and is unable to get pregnant.

Desperate for a child, she and her family abandon modern medicine and turn to a traditional healer for help, where Lume undergoes elaborate rituals and exorcisms to rid her of the black magic believed to be causing her infertility. When she finally becomes pregnant, her dark wartime past returns to haunt her and her unborn child.

Kastrati says the film, which comes on the 20th anniversary of the Kosovo War, is "an attempt to reflect on my personal wartime past."

Zana was produced by Casey Cooper Johnson (who also co-wrote the script) and co-produced by On Film Production and (Albania) and Alief. It was lensed by Katstrati's sister Sevdije Kastrati, who shot the film using Panavision cameras and leneses after winning Panavision's New Filmmaker Grant.

Financial supporters included the Kosovo Cinematography Center, Albanian National Center of Cinematography.

Zana is Kosovo's sixth submission to the Oscars since 2014; the country has yet to earn a nomination.

The 92nd Academy Awards are set to take place Feb. 9, 2020.