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news 24 Aug 15

Turkish Film Wins at Sarajevo Film Festival

The contemporary comedy-drama 'Mustang' by the Turkish director Deniz Gamze Erguven won the top prize at the 21st Sarajevo Film Festival.

Elvira M. Jukic

Closing of the Sarajevo Film Festival I Photo source: sff.ba

The 21st Sarajevo Film Festival closed on Saturday night with a ceremony at which the Heart of Sarajevo award for the best film was given to the Turkish director Deniz Gamze Erguven.  

Described by the festival organisers as “a powerful, female take on contemporary Turkey”, the drama focuses on five sisters who struggle to escape conservative parental restrictions after being ordered to stay away from school and told they will have arranged marriages.

The girls who played the main roles in ‘Mustang’ – Gunes Sensoy, Doga Doguslu, Tugba Sunguroglu, Elit Iscan, Ilayda Akdogan – shared the award for best actress.  

The award for the best actor was shared between Yorgos Kentros, Vangelis Mourikis, Panos Koronis, Makis Papadimitriou, Yorgos Pyrpassopoulos and Sakis Rouvas from the Greek film ‘Chevalier’ which also got a special award from the jury alongside the Hungarian film ‘Saul’s Son’. 

The festival started during the wartime siege of the city in the 1990s and has since grown into one of the biggest such events in Europe, with over 100,000 people attending this year and increased box-office revenues.

“We still have some calculations to make but the results are really positive and we estimate our box office is up by 10 per cent,” festival director Mirsad Purivatra was quoted as saying by Screen Daily.

The festival has brought film stars such as Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Mickey Rourke, Steve Buscemi, Kevin Spacey and many others to the Bosnian capital over the years.

This year it was attended by Benicio del Toro, who was given a honorary Heart of Sarajevo award before presenting a new film in which he plays an aid worker during the 1992-5 Bosnian war.

The 2015 festival saw 259 films from 57 countries screened over nine days.  

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