ABOUT 15th ANNUAL BOSNIAN-HERZEGOVINIAN FILM FESTIVAL - 2018
A total of 15 films screened Wednesday through Saturday, April 11 through April 14, 2018 at two Manhattan venues SVA Theatre and Anthology Film Archives.
The year's program—which featured five blockbuster features, six documentaries and four short films—was incredibly diverse and tackled a range of important social and cultural themes, including family dynamics in contemporary Bosnia, exploring one’s own identity, masculinity, and the ongoing efforts to come to terms with the legacies of the Bosnian War. The BHFF was proud to feature the work of seven women directors, and brought to New York City both innovative young filmmakers, as well as established regional names including renowned director and screenwriter Aida Begić, and legendary actor Emir Hadžihafizbegović.
We kicked things off with BH Film Forum program on Wednesday, April 11 at Anthology Film Archives, a longstanding BHFF partner that hosted our second and third annual BHFF editions back in 2005 and 2006. The evening featured a screening of three socially engaging documentaries. The first screening featured Srđan Šarenac’s Two Schools, about an ethnically segregated high school in Travnik, and Pilar Palermo’s Winter Sun, a short film about the life of an elderly Bosnian couple navigating a daunting healthcare system. The event was followed by a panel discussion about social challenges in Bosnia and in the United States featuring journalist and justice activist Refik Hodzić and cultural studies professor and BHFF 2018 juror Jasmina Husanović of the University of Tuzla, as well as BHFF programmers Dijana Jelača and Amir Husak.
A second April 11 screening at AFA, of Nejra Latić Hulusić and Sabrina Begović Ćorić’s Undercovered, followed. Undercovered probes the question of why some young Bosnian Muslim women decide to wear a headscarf.
Then, from Thursday, April 12 through Saturday, April 14, the action moved to SVA Theatre for a three-day marathon of screenings featuring the 2018 BHFF competition selections. BHFF was proud to bring some of the biggest names in Balkan cinema to New York City. To celebrate its fifteenth year, the BHFF also recorded a series of interviews with our guests in the “Conversations with BHFF” feature. Guests at the 15th annual BHFF included: Aida Begić, Alen Drljević, Elmir Jukić, Ademir Kenović, Aleksandra Odić, Emir Hadžihafizbegović, Eldin Herić.
BHFF 2018 PROGRAM
2017 | Pilar Palomero | 37 min
Nana, who is eighty years old, is in need of a surgery. To have it, she and her husband must leave their home in the small village of Hrsa. They move temporarily to Sarajevo, where they live with their daughter while awaiting surgery. Very soon, however, life itself becomes full of difficulty and emptiness there.
2017 | Ado Hasanović | 17 min
A well-to-do family in Bosnia welcomes back a beloved daughter from studying abroad, along with her new Italian boyfriend, in this laugh-out loud funny film about generational clashes. A joyous reunion commences--but after after the father notices a new tattoo on his daughter’s back, things start to get weird. Why can a father no longer look his daughter in the eye? What secrets is this seemingly happy family hiding?
NOTHING BUT THE WIND
(Ništa, samo vjetar)
2017 | Timur Makarević | 87 min
If home is where the heart is, Bosnian-born Swede Vedran is conflicted about both. Forced to revisit his hometown of Sarajevo 18 years after departing, he must, against his will, accept the changes this visit brings to him. In the end, it is not about becoming more Swedish or more Bosnian, but more himself.
MEN DON'T CRY
(Muškarci ne plaču)
2017 | Alen Drljević | 98 Minutes
Twenty years after the conclusion of the Bosnian War, a group of men meet to discuss their experiences and process the events that shaped their lives decades ago. Comprised of a diverse group ethnic backgrounds, including Bosnian, Croat, and Serbian descent. Men Don’t Cry embraces moral uncertainty and the effects of time on painful memories as it explores themes of ethnic conflict and the impact, both physical and emotional, that war leaves on its participants.
ŠTO TE NEMA - BOSTON
2018 | Rialda Zukić | 8 min
Što te nema is a short documentary about artist Aida Šehović’s public monument to the 8,372 victims of the Srebrenica genocide. Known as a “nomadic monument,” it is organized through an ongoing partnership between Šehović and Bosnian diaspora communities in a different city each year. Taking place every July 11th, Što te nema has traveled to 12 different US and European cities since 2006, and this new documentary reflects on the project’s recent production in Boston.
2017 | Srđan Šarenac | 43 min
The Travnik Gymnasium, following the war in Bosnia, has been divided into two separate schools that share the same building. The annual Christmas football tournament is the only time when children from both sides of the school get a chance to interact with one another.
2017 | Amir Karagić | 13 min
Mike, a middle aged chef from Amsterdam sits down to a game of chess with his estranged millennial son. A power battle ensues.
TO BE FAR
2017 | Samira Kameli, Sajra Subašić | 9 min
It is September 2017 and Samira has traveled to Sarajevo from Iran. She is there for the first time, intending to make a documentary. Attempting to connect with the country and its people, she seeks out others who have traveled great distances to be there. Locating a refugee center she hopes to find others who are in a similar situation, but all she finds are closed gates. Ultimately, Samira is allowed to film the center but not to speak to any of the people there.
2017 | Nejra Latić Hulusić,
Sabrina Begović Ćorić | 53 min
Undercovered deals with six young Bosnian women from different spheres of life who decide to wear the headscarf as expression of their religion and identity. While in the Western world the debate continues whether women should be allowed to wear the hijab, in Bosnia and Herzegovina some young women wear the headscarf out of their own volition and desire. The film uncovers the personal stories of these women and their religious convictions, and how they cope in the secular world.
GREAT WALL OF CHINA
2017 | Aleksandra Odić | 36 Minutes
The legacy of the conflicts of the 1990s lurks in the background of a family gathering in the Bosnian countryside, as experienced by a young girl named Maja. Events are upended by the arrival of Maja’s aunt Lilja, an impassioned young woman with artistic ambitions. The family wants Lilja to work in a shoe factory, but she dreams of exploring the world. Thoughts of China and its Great Wall symbolize the allure of distant lands, sparking fantasies and dreams of escapism for both Maja and Lilja.
NEVER LEAVE ME
2017 | Aida Begić | 97 min
Never Leave Me is the latest film by Aida Begić, who previously dealt with topics of orphaned children in her film Children of Sarajevo. In Never Leave Me, she moves from Balkan topography to deal with Syrian refugees in Turkey. The film focuses on three boys, 14-year old Isa, 11-year old Ahmad, and 10-year old Motaz, who live in orphanage together. Although the three boys are quite different from one another, their grievances over their lost parents and dreams of a better future unite them.
2017 | Eva Cvijanović | 10 min
An interpretation of Branko Ćopić’s story of the same name, this animated short focuses on a hedgehog who is both envied and respected by other animals. The hedgehog’s devotion to his home manages to annoy several other forest creatures, leading them to seek out the hedgehog’s home for a prickly standoff.
BIRDS LIKE US
(Ptice kao mi)
2017 | Faruk Šabanović, Amela Ćuhara | 84 min
Based on the 11th century Persian literary masterpiece The Conference of the Birds, a group of birds are unceremoniously evicted from their home tree of Birdabad after two birds, Hupu and her husband Hasan, try to disrupt Birdabad’s unique and unsettling social contract. The motley group--wracked by tensions between the carnivorous birds and the fruit-eaters--collectively befriends a mysterious bat with a bargain, and together they venture across the world in search of a new home.
2017 | Elmir Jukić | 78 Minutes
Zeko, a barber in Bosnia and veteran of the conflicts of the 1990s, finds himself prone to violent fits resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder. Zeko attempts to reassemble the pieces of his life by reaching out to his brother Braco, who has been struggling with his own addictions to gambling and alcohol. Along with their friend Švabo, Zeko and Braco attempt to spend the Muslim holiday of Eid in Zeko’s barber shop, thinking about old times and commiserating about their problems in hopes of finding a resolution.
SCREAM FOR ME SARAJEVO
2017 | Tarik Hodžić | 95 min
A look back at the 1994 concert in Sarajevo by heavy metal icon Bruce Dickinson, and what it took to make it happen as the city and its inhabitants were struggling through the three-year siege. Told by those involved from the initial planning to Dickinson’s call to “Scream for me, Sarajevo,” this documentary, in director Tarik Hodžić’s words, tells the story of musicians who risked their lives to play a gig, to people who risked their lives to live them. Alternatively gut wrenching and triumphant, Scream for Me Sarajevo offers a new and unique perspective on the siege of Sarajevo.