Sarajevo Film Festival

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Sarajevo Film Festival
Sarajevo Film Festival logo.png
2008 logo
Location Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Founded 1995
Awards Heart of Sarajevo, Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award
Directed by Mirsad Purivatra
Language International
SFF red carpet
Documentary program

The Sarajevo Film Festival (Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian: Sarajevski filmski festival / Сарајевски филмски фестивал) is the premier and largest film festival in Southeast Europe,[1][2] and is one of the largest film festivals in Europe. It was found in Sarajevo in 1995 during the siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian Independence War, and brings international and local celebrities to Sarajevo every year. It is held in August and showcases an extensive variety of feature and short films from around the world. The current director of the festival is Mirsad Purivatra, former CEO of the Bosnian branch of McCann Erickson.


The first Sarajevo Film Festival was held from October 25th to November 5th 1995. At that time, the siege of Sarajevo was still going on, and attendance projections were very low. However, a surprising 15,000 people came to see the films, of which there were 37 from 15 different countries. The festival grew at a remarkable pace now being the most prominent film festival in South-East Europe, attracting more than 100,000 people annually on all programs and screening hundreds of films from 60 countries.[3]

The Sarajevo Film Festival is hosted at the National Theater in front of which the Festival Square and the red carpet are located, with screenings at the Open-air theater Metalac, Bosnian Cultural Center, and five other cinemas and projection locations around the city. The festival has been attended by celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Emile Hirsch, Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig, Danny Glover, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Steve Buscemi, Michael Fassbender, Jeremy Irons, Bono Vox, Nick Cave, Coolio, Stephen Frears, Mickey Rourke, Michael Moore, Gérard Depardieu, Darren Aronofsky, Sophie Okonedo, Gillian Anderson, Kevin Spacey, Eric Cantona, Benicio del Toro and many others.

By 2001, the European Film Association made the Sarajevo Film Festival one of the eleven festivals that could nominate a film for the award of "Europe's Best Short Film". The 2001 winner of the Sarajevo Film Festival, Danis Tanović's No Man's Land, went on to win an Oscar in the United States. In 2004, the Best Movie Award was named "The Heart of Sarajevo".

Beginning with the 13th Sarajevo Film Festival in 2007 and in cooperation with the Berlin International Film Festival and Berlinale Talent Campus, the Sarajevo Talent Campus has been added to the festival. The Sarajevo Talent Campus is an educational and creative platform for up and coming young film professionals, and has eventually come to be revered as the most prestigious film training event in the region.

The festival also features CineLink, a year-long project development program resulting in an annual co-production market during the festival dates. The CineLink Market each year presents about 10 finest regional projects for feature-length fiction films, also offering festival guests a special opportunity to meet with the assembled regional industry, with emphasis on young filmmakers, producers and directors presenting their latest projects, productions and works in progress, with highlights of the regional production presented to international distributors, TV-buyers and festival programmers, making CineLink the most important international market place for new features from Southeast Europe.

The first edition of CineLink, which was part of the 9th Sarajevo Film Festival was held in 2003. Of the 91 entries from across the region, a three-member jury, Philippe Bober, Behrooz Hashemian and Čedomir Kolar, producers whose films have won awards at all the major international film festivals such as Cannes, Venice, Rotterdam and Berlin, chose 6 winning, and the winners were: Bare Skin (The Abandoned) - Zlatko Topčić, Bosnian Pot - Vedran Fajković, Slowly - Nikola Mišić, Totally Personal - Nedžad Begović, Roses for Tosca - Branko Đurić, Simona Stražisar and Last Day - Namik Kabil.[4][5][6][7][8]

Festival programmes and awards[edit]

Main article: Heart of Sarajevo


  • Competition (feature, short and documentary)
  • CineLink
  • Kinoscope
  • Open Air
  • In Focus
  • Tribute to…
  • Sarajevo City of Film
  • Children's Program
  • Teen Arena
  • Talents Sarajevo
  • New Currents
  • New Currents shorts
  • Regional Forum
  • Docu Rough Cut Boutique
  • Laško Summer Nights
  • Operation kino


  • Heart of Sarajevo: Best Feature Film
  • Heart of Sarajevo: Best Actor
  • Special Jury Prize
  • Heart of Sarajevo for Best Actress
  • Heart of Sarajevo for Best Short Film
  • Heart of Sarajevo for Best Documentary Film
  • Special Jury Prize for Competition Programme Documentary Film
  • Honorary Heart of Sarajevo

Sarajevo Talent Campus[edit]

Launched in 2007 in co-operation with the Berlin International Film Festival and the Berlinale Talent Campus, Sarajevo Talent Campus is an educational and networking platform for emerging film talents from South-Eastern European region (Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia and Turkey). Each year, more than two hundred applications are received, and only eighty are carefully chosen to attend a six-day training led by some of the most prominent film professionals in the world.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About the Sarajevo Film Festival". Sarajevo Film Festival Official Website. 
  2. ^ "Inside Film's Guide to Film Festivals in Europe". Inside Film. 
  3. ^ Pond, Steve (17 August 2014). "Sarajevo Film Festival Celebrates 20th Year Under the Long Shadow of War". TheWrap. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "SFF: 14 polufinalista Cinelinka". 26 May 2003. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  5. ^ "SFF: Glavni žiri CineLinka izabrao 6 projekata". 24 June 2003. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  6. ^ "SFF: Skript doktori započeli rad sa finalistima CineLinka". 2 July 2003. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  7. ^ "Završen CineLinkov program usavršavanja scenarija". 9 July 2003. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  8. ^ "Prvi bh. nacionalni filmski festival". 2 June 2003. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 

External links[edit]