This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Sarajevo Film Festival, an event born in the strife of the Bosnian War while the city was still under siege. Since then, the fest has grown to be recognized as the most important film event in its region. Beginning tomorrow, Friday, August 15 and running through Saturday, August 23, the festival will screen over 200 total films, with nearly 40 feature docs represented. Among the latter are the following:
The majority of the nonfiction offerings appear in the official Documentary Competition, with eighteen films represented. Included here are: Siniša Dragin’s THE FOREST, which recounts the discovery of a Romanian plot to spy on Yugoslavian President Tito; Shalva Shengeli’s THE RULER (pictured), on a controversial statue of Stalin in a small Georgian village; Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova’s UNCLE TONY, THREE FOOLS AND THE SECRET SERVICE, about the impact of surveillance on a popular Cold War-era Bulgarian animation team; Elton Baxhaku and Eriona Cami’s SCANDAL, documenting Albania’s LGBT movement for the first time; Kazim Öz’s ONCE UPON A TIME, which follows a family of Kurdish migrant laborers; and Damir Čučić and Mišel Škorić’s MITCH – THE DIARY OF A SCHIZOPHRENIC PATIENT, an autobiographical portrait which doubles as therapy.
Additional docs appear in several other festival sections, including the local filmmaking strand, BH Films, a Human Rights sidebar, and Kinoscope, a non-competitive grouping of films from outside the region. Among these are two films on Bosnian War-era concentration camps and their survivors, Nidal Magrabi’s THE CAMP and Mustafa Kapidžić’s THE LAND IS HARD AND THE SKY IS HIGH; Almir Berkovac’s investigation into the efficacy of international law in the legacy of the Bosnian War, TWO SIDES OF JUSTICE; Juan José Lozano and Nicolas Wadimoff’s look at the Swiss prosecutors of international criminals, CRIMEHUNTERS; and Sergei Loznitsa’s portrait of Ukrainian resistance, MAIDAN (pictured).