Burbuqe Berisha: The First Woman Director in Kosovo Who Raised the Role of Women in Kosovar Cinematography

“There are many great artists who live very long and do not manage to do even a quarter of the work that Burbuqe did. She did it all at breakneck speed as if she sensed she had a limited time to live. Buqe is the first female director in Kosovo and was an inspiration for the young directors who came after,” Arbnesha Grabovci Nixha, a close friend of the first film and theater director in Kosovo said.

Burbuqe Berisha represents a group of creators who were formed during the time of resistance, transforming art as resistance and testimony. Her life was not easy. Burbuqe Berisha made many sacrifices for her family. She grew up without parents, while her father was imprisoned for political reasons. Buqja was a mother and father to her sisters and brother, helping them achieve their goals and guiding them on the right path.

Despite all the difficulties, she left her mark on the new history of Kosovo by becoming the first woman to graduate from the Faculty of Arts, Department of Film Directing at the University of Pristina. In addition to her profession as a director, she also held the position of director at the National Theater of Kosovo for a period of four years.

She was also a member of the Governing Council of the Kosovo Cinematographic Center, as well as the “Shota” Ensemble in 2017, and the manager of Kino ABC. Burbuqe Berisha has created a significant number of short and long films, documentaries, television series, and theater performances, and was the winner of several awards at international film and theater festivals. In 2019, she won the national award for cinematography.

In December 2003, her film “Kosova Eleven” won one of the main prizes at the International Short Film Festival. In 2019, she was awarded the “Bekim Fehmiu” award by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports for her contribution to art. Her film “A Story from Pristina” was awarded the Special Media Award in the Long Film Competition at the “Dea Open Air” festival in Tirana. This film, which stands out as one of her most successful productions, dealt with a sensitive and personal subject for the director.

“The film talks about a family where a little girl gets sick with leukemia, and her parents do their best to find the right income to cure her,” said the now-deceased director.

For years, Burbuqe also practiced the profession of lecturer and vice-dean of the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication at the AAB College in Prishtina. Despite facing significant hardships throughout her life, Burbuqe Berisha was recognized by those close to her as someone who never ceased to offer assistance to others. Her family, friends, and colleagues attest that she consistently made herself available to lend a helping hand whenever the need arose.

For years, she has been part of the “Tetori Rozë” organization to raise awareness against breast cancer, especially the traditional walk against breast cancer held in October, helping those who suffer from this disease and raising awareness about the importance of health care.

She died at the age of 51, leaving us a memory of a strong, persistent, loving, and tireless professional woman. Burbuqe Berisha passed away while she was getting ready to direct the opening concert of the Kosovo Opera, taking her last breath on the steps of the Ministry of Culture.

She was born in 1970 and died in Pristina in 2021.