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Lost Exile

DirectorFisnik Maxhuni
ProducerBritta Rindelaub – Alva Film; ECAL/HEAD, Radio Télévision Suisse, Ikone Studio, Pristina
WriterFisnik Maxhuni
CastArben Bajraktaraj, May-Linda Kosumovic, Sunaj Raca, Fatmir Spahiu
EditorKostas Makrinos
CameraLeo Lefevre
Screening2 November 2017 | 19:30 hours | Filmhuis Den Haag
3 November 2017 | 15:45 hours | Filmhuis Den Haag
Length29 min

A personal story about immigration and human trafficking. The winner of the Cinema & Gioventù Jury Award at the Locarno Film Festival. Screenings are followed by Q&A with the director Fisnik Maxhuni.


Emir, a family man, works for the local mafia as people smuggler between Serbia and Hungary. Hana, a young woman from Kosovo, wants to flee her country and meets up with Emir to drive her. On the way, Emir’s unscrupulous colleagues order him to stop at a motel next to the border. They see in Hana an opportunity to gain money by delivering her to a prostitution ring. That night, Emir is faced with a moral dilemma and his own humanity, while Hana will test her courage to change her life and make it to Europe. A personal story by Fisnik Maxhuni who was born in Kosovo during the dismantlement of Yugoslavia and illegally emigrated to Switzerland in 1993.

Festivals & Awards (selection)

Cannes FF, 2017 – Short Film Corner ‘Coups de Coeur’ | SEEfest, Los Angeles 2017 – Special Jury Mention | Tirana IFF 2016 – Best Albanian Short Film | Ouchy Film Awards, Switzerland 2016 – Best Film Award | Signs of the Night Film Festival, Paris/Lisbon 2016 – Official competition | Delhi Shorts IFF 2016 – Best Short Film | Villeurbanne Film Festival, France 2016 – Regional Best Film Award | Locarno FF, Switzerland 2016 – Cinema & Gioventu Jury Prize

Director’s statement

In 2016, illegal immigration is now a very hot topic and concerns all of Europe, without any exception. In Kosovo, the debate is even bigger as the country is seeing a large part of its active population leaving towards a better future. By willing to write and shoot this film, I was confronted with the need to turn the page on my personal history and concentrate on recent events. However, even though more than two decades have passed, the situation remains pretty much the same; there are still lots of illegal migrants and smugglers in the region. By concentrating the plot of the film on a woman migrating from Kosovo (Hana) and a smuggler from Serbia (Emir), I had the opportunity to explore the „two faces of the mirror” of migration to finally interrogate the question of exile and its meaning nowadays.