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05 Jul 12

Red Carpet Ready for Sarajevo Film Festival

Sarajevo is gearing up for its biggest cultural event of the year on Friday, the 18th annual Sarajevo Film Festival. 

Valerie Hopkins
BIRN Sarajevo

The film festival is expected to draw about 100,000 people to its 13 programmes between July 6 and 14.

Kicking off the event is a movie by Bosnian film director Aida Begic, “Children of Sarajevo.”  The movie tells of two war orphans from Bosnia's capital who turn to religion to overcome personal hardships. 

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival where it won special recognition. Four years ago, Begic’s debut feature “Snow” won the Grand Prix at Critics Week in Cannes.

“Children of Sarajevo” is one of nine movies that will be shown as part of the competition programme for feature films.

Festival Director Mirsad Purivatra said that this year his team chose to select movies with an accent on dark humour.

“Because these are not the best of times for our country and the rest of Europe, the focus is on the genres of black comedy”, he told the press when announcing the opening film.

This year the festival will feature a total of 210 works from 57 countries.

The closing film will be “The Angel’s Share,” from Britain and France, directed by Ken Loach, which won the Jury Award at Cannes. Lead actors Paul Brannigan and Gary Maitland will attend the festival.

Other guests include British actress and director Charlotte Rampling and producer Christopher Simon.

The festival’s special guests this year include Spanish actress Victoria Abril, cult director Bela Tarr, and footballer Eric Cantona.

Two-time Oscar winner Branko Lustig will be awarded the Heart of Sarajevo award, a symbol of the festival, which honours individuals for their “extraordinary contribution to the promotion and advancement of the art of film.”

Lustig, a Croatian native, has worked in the region and in Hollywood and won two Golden Globe awards for Schindler’s List and Gladiator.  

On July 11, when Bosnia marks the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, the film festival will host Human Rights Day.  An international jury will select the best documentary film along with the festival’s Human Rights Award. 

“Football Rebels,” directed by Gilles Rof and Gilles Perez, about football players who are advocates against political injustice, will be screened.

The Sarajevo Film Festival was established in 1995 towards the end of Sarajevo’s 44-month siege. It has continued to feature movies from all over the world with an emphasis on those from Southeast Europe.  

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