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Sarajevo’s New Director Talks “Full Spectrum” Of Lineup – Deadline

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Jovan Marjanović has been with the Sarajevo Film Festival for greater than twenty years and whereas he’s what he describes as “a real baby of the pageant” this yr marks the primary version the place he’ll sit as director of the much-loved Balkan occasion, taking the reins from founder and long-time director Mirsad Purivatra.

“We owe Mirsad a lot, however he’s very a lot nonetheless concerned – there was no avoiding that,” quips Marjanović of the much-loved Purivatra, who has lately launched boutique Croatian occasion Ponta Lopud Movie Pageant. “He’s a outstanding chief and we’ll all miss him as our chief. I hope I’ve discovered sufficient from him to proceed the place he stopped.”

With the Sarajevo Movie Pageant, it’s maybe unsurprising that there’s a singular comradery inside those that work on the pageant. Based in 1995 throughout a close to four-year siege on town, few trade occasions can communicate to the identical distinctive cultural resilience that this comparatively younger pageant can. Fashioned out of a need to rebuild a metropolis and artwork sector that was ravaged through the Bosnian Battle (the longest siege of a capital metropolis within the historical past of contemporary warfare), the Sarajevo Movie Pageant has efficiently formed itself into the Balkan area’s largest trade movie and TV occasion with top-notch programming, a powerful trade phase, instructional and networking platforms.

This yr will see the pageant return in full pressure after Covid restrictions marred the earlier two editions (it was a web based solely occasion in 2020 and a Covid-restricted model final yr). For the twenty eighth version, a complete of 51 movies will compete for the fest’s coveted Coronary heart of Sarajevo awards throughout 4 competitors sections: characteristic movies, documentary, quick and pupil movie.

The choice consists of 20 world premieres, eight worldwide premieres, one European premiere, 21 regional premieres and one Bosnia & Herzegovina premiere. Ruben Östlund’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner Triangle of Disappointment, on which Marjanović and Purivatra are affiliate producers, will open the pageant on August 12.

Sarajevo Movie Pageant

“Ruben Östlund has been a good friend of the pageant for a very long time,” says Marjanović. “It turned out that our companions TRT Balkan have been seeking to lengthen their partnership into producing movies and we made an formidable lineup of titles that we needed to get entangled with and Ruben’s was actually among the many first on the record. It was nice to have the ability to carry one accomplice to a undertaking from a filmmaker that we now have been working with for some time after we offered The Sq. 4 years in the past.”

In the meantime, Bosnian helmer Pjer Žalica’s black comedy Could Labor Day has been set because the closing evening movie. It will likely be the world premiere for the native title which Marjanović says “native audiences will certainly run to see.”

Thus far, this yr’s occasion seems to be set to usurp attendance for earlier editions. When the pageant started its on-line ticket gross sales on August 1, it reported a file variety of gross sales on the primary day.

“It’s undoubtedly trying greater than the final two years and it’s good to return to having full capability with no restrictions,” says Marjanović. “It’s most essential to have our viewers again and to have friends from throughout Europe and, in fact, the area again.”

The pageant has largely saved quiet about sure however pivotal adjustments to its employees construction – most notably Marjanović’s promotion to pageant director and former head of communications Maša Marković’s promotion to go of trade –, preferring as a substitute to concentrate on curating one of the best regional lineup in its program in addition to holding a stable and related native taste to its trade program CineLink Business Days.

“The transitions have been very natural,” remarks Marjanović, who notes that the programming group has remained the identical. “We’ve been specializing in ensuring we stay a gathering place for trade professionals on web site reasonably than on-line and we’ve seen that folks nonetheless need to meet. This can be a very network-driven enterprise and networking may be very a lot on the coronary heart of the occasion itself.”

This yr, in a bid to indicate its long-term solidarity with Ukraine, the pageant has prolonged its total lineup to incorporate Ukrainian titles – a primary for the regional pageant. It’s going to see Ukrainian titles akin to Marta Smerechynska’s documentary Diary of a Bride of Christ and Pamfir helmer Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk’s Liturgy of Anti-Tank Obstacles included in this system. The inclusion of Ukrainian titles is not only a one-off: the pageant has vowed to incorporate the nation for all future additions and has been working tirelessly to arrange residencies, create jobs and set placements for Ukrainian filmmakers.

“We needed to do one thing very particular and concrete with our colleagues in Ukraine so we determined one of the best factor we might do was to enlarge our focus area to incorporate Ukraine,” says Marjanović. “It’s now with every little thing we do, and Ukrainian titles can characteristic in our competitors program and past.”

He provides, “This is essential to us as a result of we perceive what Ukraine goes by very effectively as we went by it within the Nineties. These are usually not simply gestures – these are set in stone.”

The competitors lineup features a raft of titles born out of the Balkan area not directly together with Cannes entry Marie Kreutzer’s Corsage, Aida Begić’s A Ballad, Dominik Mencej’s Riders and Ukrainian-Turkish manufacturing Klondike.

Sarajevo will even be awarding a number of Honorary Coronary heart of Sarajevo awards to a slew of well-known worldwide trade names akin to U.S. director and screenwriter Paul Schrader, who will current a particular screening of his newest title The Card Counter and Jesse Eisenberg, who will unveil his directorial debut When You End Saving the World. Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen and Ukrainian helmer Sergei Loznitsa will even be honored on the pageant with Mikkelsen screening his movie The Hunt and a retrospective of Loznitsa’s work being performed all through the pageant.

“We’ve needed to ask and honor Sergei for a while, and we’re thrilled that that is the yr we will do a retrospective of his work,” says Marjanović. “I’m certain his movies will communicate loads to our viewers, and they’re going to all be completely satisfied to find among the classes from his titles.”

Moreover, Sarajevo will proceed its push into the tv sphere by internet hosting its second annual TV awards through the occasion with 17 sequence from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Slovenia represented throughout the nominees. This yr, award classes have expanded to incorporate drama sequence and comedy and winners can be lauded with a Coronary heart of Sarajevo award.

In its Avant Premiere Sequence strand, which sits inside CineLink, the primary two episodes of a wide range of regional dramas that are all in search of worldwide distribution, can be screened. Danis Tanović’s newest sequence The Hole (Kotlina) can be one of many premieres on the occasion.

The pageant can be providing up a particular pre-festival screening on the eve of the occasion with a particular work-in-progress screening of a brand new documentary movie about former Sarajevo mayor Emerik Blum from Quo Vadis, Aida? director Jasmila Žbanić. The experimental, free-of-charge screening, which can happen on August 11 on the fest’s Coca-Cola Open Air Cinema, will see Žbanić and Debolokada Manufacturing invite the Bosnian viewers to assist full the movie of their seek for tales, images and tales about Blum.

“We’ve obtained the total spectrum of probably the most well-known names in cinema, all doing various things throughout completely different mediums,” says Marjanović. “It’s fairly thrilling to have this number of native product.”

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