2017 | Senad Alihodžić | 7 min | Narrative Short
ABOUT 14th ANNUAL BOSNIAN-HERZEGOVINIAN FILM FESTIVAL - 2017
A total of 13 films screened Wednesday through Saturday, April 12 through April 15, 2017 at two Manhattan venues SVA Theatre and Anthology Film Archives.
The program consisted of four blockbuster features, nine documentaries and six short films, including an animated film including works by eight women directors.
We kicked things off with BH Film Forum program on Wednesday, April 12 at Anthology Film Archives, the place which hosted our second and third annual BHFF editions back in 2005 and 2006. The evening included a special screening of Branko Ištvančić’s documentary essay Album as part of our non-competition program, as well as a special panel presentation featuring Bosnian-Herzegovinian and international film professionals and cinema experts. The panel included distinguished actress Mirjana Karanović, photographer Ron Haviv, curator Ana Janevski, film and media scholar Aleksandar Bošković, filmmaker and multimedia artist Amir Husak and scholar of cinema and cultural studies Dijana Jelača .
Then, from Thursday, April 13 through Saturday, April 15, the action moved to SVA Theatre for a jam-packed, three-day marathon of screenings featuring the 2017 BHFF competition selections and Q&A with the director of My Aunt In Sarajevo, Goran Kapetanović, the director Cameraperson, Kirsten Johnson, the director and lead actress of A Good Wife, Mirjana Karanović, the director of Death In Sarajevo, Danis Tanović and last but not least the director of No Smoking in Sarajevo, Gianluca Loffredo. Discussions were led by Dijana Jelača and Amir Husak.
In addition, the year 2017 was a momentous year as it marked the highest recorded attendance in the history of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival. The festival also received close to 60 submissions this year.
This year's program was incredibly diverse and tackled a number of important social and cultural themes, from economic precarity, disability, gender discrimination, to the ongoing efforts to come to terms with the legacies of the war. We were delighted to feature the work of innovative young filmmakers alongside established regional names such as Oscar-winning director Danis Tanović and legendary actress Mirjana Karanović.
BHFF 2017 PROGRAM
2017 | Senad Alihodžić | 7 min
A man walks to work, going about his daily routine, taking note of passers-by playing various games. He soon finds himself entangled in a unique and surreal game of his own. Game is a nostalgic story of lost time.
2016 | Slobodan Maksimović | 92 min
Nika’s mother’s attempts to end her career as a racecar driver only inflame her desire to carry on the legacy of her father, a professional driver killed in a tragic accident. Frustrated, Nika neglects her studies, withdraws from her family and begins secretly racing anyway. When her father’s best friend tells Nika that he’ll help her get into the Adriatic Cup race if she finishes the school year, Nika accepts. Maksimović’s fast-paced coming-of-age story brings an exciting Balkan perspective to universal themes including rebellion, understanding, and love.
2016 | Goran Kapetanović | 14 min
Twelve-year-old refugee Sevko finds himself alone in Sweden after having to flee his native Bosnia during the wars of the 1990s. Sevko faces adversity in his new country, including bullying from other refugees, and finds unique ways to overcome adversity while waiting for news from home. A prologue to filmmaker Goran Kapetanović’s My Aunt in Sarajevo, Refugee 532 deals with the emotional and political fallout that occurs in the aftermath of war and conflict.
MY AUNT IN SARAJEVO
(Min Faster i Sarajevo)
2016 | Goran Kapetanović | 58 min
Born in Sweden, 18-year-old Anja is determined to visit Bosnia to discover her roots. Her father Zlatan, now 23 years settled in Sweden with no interest in returning home, is dead-set against the idea. Undeterred, Anja purchases two plane tickets and she and the deeply reluctant Zlatan set off for Sarajevo—Anja to discover her ancestry, and Zlatan to come to terms with his past.
2016 | Kirsten Johnson | 102 min
Veteran documentarian Kirsten Johnson intricately pieces together clips from her 25-year career to examine the ethics of documentary filmmaking. From Bosnia to Nigeria to her family’s own farm, Johnson offers a poignant, unflinching look at the relationship between subject and biographer. Johnson’s work is juxtaposed against her personal life as she raises her children while facing the declining health of her mother. Cameraperson asks probing questions while drawing viewers into stories across the world.
A GOOD WIFE
2016 | Mirjana Karanović | 94 min
Milena’s comfortable, middle-class life is shaken when she discovers a video that appears to implicate her husband Vlada in war crimes. In an impeccably-paced psychological drama, Milena debates Vlada’s role in the war, struggling between her commitment to her family and her own moral compass. A Good Wife is Mirjana Karanović’s directorial debut.
2016 | Elma Tataragić | 15 min
Filmmaker Elma Tataragic explores the connection between location and memory through the lens of a woman who repeatedly returns to her family home, remembering the moment that the Bosnian War began. I Remember is an examination of the role experiences play in shaping a life.
CITY OF ELEPHANTS
(Stadt der Elefanten)
2015 | Marko Mijatović | 29 min
Vareš, a mining town in the mountains of Bosnia that prospered under the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and later under Tito, has fallen victim to poverty and unemployment in the decades since the Bosnian War. Jobs are difficult to find, and wages barely pay enough to survive. City of Elephants delves into the lives of Klara, Dino, and Likic, three of the town's inhabitants, as they discuss their hopes and dreams, finding commonality and even levity as they struggle for their livelihoods.
MAN WITH THE WILL OF STEEL
(Čovjek čelične volje)
2016 | Amar Spahić | 16 min
Nadir Hajro suffers from cerebral palsy but decides to defy his body in the most miraculous way of them all by becoming a professional bodybuilder. Every day and every workout is a new battle for him. Unable to get himself around the gym he begins the exercise with assistance and moves the boundaries of the impossible and with the willpower overcomes the shortcomings of his body.
2016 | Ivan Ramadan | 10 min
This animated short uses visually stunning CGI to illustrate the myths and legends of Bosnia through the journey of a dragon from ancient times through the fall of the Bosnian Kingdom. The Dragon was inspired by carvings found on the sides of large tombstones in Bosnia and the mysteries that lay within. The film was inspired by various Bosnian myths, including the legend of the dragon Aždaja, whose rest in the canyons of Bosnia was ended by a raucous party in a nearby town
DEATH IN SARAJEVO
(Smrt u Sarajevu)
2016 | Danis Tanović | 85 min
On the 100th anniversary of the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, chaos at an iconic Sarajevo hotel erupts just before the arrival of a visiting EU delegation, mirroring the promise and precariousness of modern Europe. Layered with history and social commentary, Death in Sarajevo’s biting satire raises thorny political questions and offers hope for a way forward.
NO SMOKING IN SARAJEVO
2016 | Gianluca Loffredo | 75 min
Rare archival footage fills out this retrospective on the iconic Sarajevo rock band Zabranjeno pušenje, No Smoking, and the unique period that ushered in the region’s comic and sharp-edged New Primitivs movement. The film brings together No Smoking’s frontmen, Bosnian Sejo Sexton and Serbian Nele Karajlić, decades after the band’s breakup, in a remarkable homage to one of the most famous bands in Bosnia and former Yugoslavia. Connected by music yet divided by conflict, the band’s story deeply reflects the region’s history over the last 30 years.