ABOUT 16th ANNUAL BOSNIAN-HERZEGOVINIAN FILM FESTIVAL - 2019
A total of 13 films screened Wednesday through Saturday, April 10 through April 13, 2019, at SVA Theatre, in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood.
The 2910 program was incredibly diverse and tackled a range of important social and cultural themes, including family and intergenerational dynamics in contemporary Bosnia, institutional dysfunction and corruption and its effects, and the experiences and perseverance of women. It showcased the work of several emerging filmmakers whose innovative works show an exciting range of aesthetic, thematic, and technical approaches. Additionally, BHFF was proud to present the 30th-anniversary screening of Ademir Kenović’s 1989 film Kuduz—one of the most legendary Bosnian films, and one of the last great movies made in Yugoslavia.
"This year's program reflects a rich range of themes and aesthetic approaches, which attest to Bosnian and regional cinema continuing to expand transnationally,” said BHFF programming co-directors Dijana Jelača and Amir Husak. “We are proud to feature such a diverse group of films, and as always, to support women filmmakers in particular.”
BHFF was proud to bring some of the biggest names in Balkan cinema to New York City, including Ademir Kenović and Snezana Bogdanović, as well as emerging directors Bojan Bodruzić, Damir Avdagić, and Marta Hernaiz Pidal. The 2019 BHFF jurors were Ademir Kenović, academic Aleksandar Bosković, and cinematographer Tatjana Krstevski, who presented the BHFF Golden Apple Audience Award and the Jury Awards.
Films honored by the festival in 2019 included Best Feature Narrative Bobo Jelčić’s All Alone, starring Rakan Rushaidat, who won the award for Best Acting Performance for his role as Marko; Bojan Bodružić’s The Museum of Forgotten Triumphs, which won Best Documentary; Ado Hasanović’s Nomophobia, which won Best Short Film, Marta Hernaiz Pidal’s The Chaotic Life of Nada Kadić, which won the Audience Award for Best Picture; and Zdenko Jurilj’s Sisters, which won the Jury Special Mention. Learn more about these films here.
Žana Arnautović, a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo (AFAS), has been selected as our 2019 Artist-in-Residence, and her design appeared on BHFF promotional materials.
BHFF 2019 PROGRAM
1989 | Ademir Kenović | 105 min
In this epic film of former Yugoslav and Bosnian cinema based on a real story, Badema, the local seductress, meets Bećir Kuduz shortly after his release from prison. The attraction is mutual and powerful. Their age difference and the fact that Badema has a daughter whose father is unknown doesn’t manage to keep them apart. Kuduz dreams of starting his own construction business, while Badema works at the lively local cafe. Badema is not meant to be a housewife, while Kuduz longs after such an arrangement and is constantly tortured by his past, jealousy, passion and love. The two of them argue, break up and make up, until the story takes a tragic turn.
(Mara Danušina )
2017 | Davor Borić | 31 min
Marica Filipović, known as Danuša’s Mara, is almost single-handedly preserving folk music in central Bosnia and Herzegovina by playing traditional instruments and teaching others about them. A self-taught phenomenon, this documentary explores her public persona invites others to interrogate the public role of women in Bosnian society and the value of musical traditions.
(Sam samcat )
2018 | Bobo Jelčić | 87 min
Divorced father Marko is hardly ever alone: he is surrounded by family, friends, co-workers and neighborhood fixers. Yet he is driven to the brink by limited contact with the one person he loves most – his daughter, who lives with her mother. When he starts the legal proceedings to get more time with his child, he enters the Kafkaesque world of a social-services system in meltdown. His fierce, paternal love for his child is both the source of his misery and his greatest joy.
THE CHAOTIC LIFE OF NADA KADIĆ
(Kaotični život Nade Kadić )
2018 | Marta Hernaiz Pidal | 85 min
Nada Kadić is a dedicated single mother, disaffected with her tumultuous domestic life yet unable to piece together a plan to change it. After Nada finds out her daughter is on the autistic spectrum, together they embark on a journey through the Balkans in search of peace with the past, and acceptance of new realities. On their long drive through the foggy, rainy countryside, and away from the chaos of home, perhaps they can form new bonds, and learn new ways to communicate with one another.
( Nomofobia )
2018 | Ado Hasanović | 14 min
Maria is about to finish cooking lunch when her daughter Jessica arrives home after school. Maria has just been to the parents-teachers meeting and feels totally disappointed by Jessica’s grades. Nevertheless, as soon as she tries to introduce the topic she ends up talking alone: the teenager is too busy texting with her best friend. Exasperated after the umpteenth try, the woman grabs her daughter’s phone and says she will not have it back until she will start studying in a serious way, prohibiting Facebook as well. Jessica, desperate, tries by any means necessary to take the phone back, in this realistic and spontaneous short film shot in a single take.
2018 | Nebojsa Slijepcević | 70 min
This documentary explores the implications of a historical event, the murder of Aleksandra Zec, a 12-year old Croatian Serb girl on the eve of the conflict in Croatia through a controversial play on the subject. As the actors prepare for the play, including a 13-year Croatian Serb girl playing the lead, lingering wounds and divisions along ethnic lines are revealed.
(Rooster/ Pivac )
On International Women’s Day, police inspector Danijel is ready to reveal his romantic feelings to his colleague Stella, while Anđa, a victim of domestic violence is ready to finally report her abuser to the police. While trying to help Anđa with her struggles, Danijel is missing a chance to carry out his plan. What are we willing to endure, just to stave off loneliness?
A GOOD DAY'S WORK
(Dobar dan za posao )
2018 | Martin Turk | 9 min
Armin has been unemployed for a while and he is in desperate need of a job to support his growing family. On the day that Armin needs to get to an interview for a promising school caretaker position, his car won’t start and he starts walking. After witnessing a hit-and-run accident in which a cyclist is injured, he takes the time to call an ambulance and the police. By the time he finally makes it to the school, the interviews are over. But, another work offer suddenly presents itself. His brother-in-law takes him to a slaughterhouse, but it soon becomes apparent that he can’t cut it as a butcher. Incidentally, his caretaker qualifications land him the position of the slaughterhouse security guard. Armin is thrilled that things are finally looking up. On his first day at the new job, he accidentally discovers that his coworkers are stealing from the owner. Once again, he decides to do the right thing and tell the truth, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
(Repriza/ Uzvracanje )
2018 | Damir Avdagić | 23 min
Four sixty-something-year-old people of Balkan origin read a transcript of a conversation between four twenty-something people also of Balkan origin who discuss the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and the various frictions they experience between their own and their parents’ generation relating to this history. The participants then react to the content by commenting on the guilt, shame, and legacy of communism in the wake of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia.
2018 | Nedim Karalić | 26 min
This film follows Armin, a forty-year-old man living a stable, but unfulfilling life as a married, employed man. To bring some excitement into his life, he often visits the betting shop, where his lover Selma works, and places long-shot bets. When he actually wins on one of those bets and stands to receive a large amount of money, everything gets far more unpredictable, starting with his loss of the winning ticket and nightlong search to find it.
Herzegovina was in the grips of an unusually harsh winter on a snowy morning in 1985 when teenage sisters Sima and Drazenka decided to walk to Mostar to help their mother clean the hallways of the building where she worked. In the blizzard, the sisters fell into a deep pit, where they lay for the next eight days before being found, barely alive. This black-and-white documentary explores their incredible story.
THE INVISIBLE HAND OF ADAM SMITH
(Nevidna roka Adama Smitha )
2017 | Slobodan Maksimović | 15 min
Somewhere in Europe a Greek owes to a French, who owes to a Slovenian and she owes to an Italian, who owes money to the Greek. A German owes no one, she just wants to get a good night’s sleep. The Brit is looking for an exit. The Invisible Hand of Adam Smith was made in one shot, with a cast and crew from more than ten countries. Each of them speaks their own language, yet all of them understand each other.
THE MUSEUM OF FORGOTTEN TRIUMPHS
2018 | Bojan Bodruzić | 87 min
After being evacuated as a child in 1992, Vancouver-based filmmaker Bojan Bodružić returned to Sarajevo in 2000 and began to film his grandparents. Over the following years, he recorded their extraordinary life stories. Charming and spirited, the elderly couple eagerly share their experiences (starting with WW II and ending with the Bosnian War), even insisting that their grandson finish the film as they fall ill in their twilight years. A first-hand account of the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, as well as a family portrait full of impressions of a country forever changed, the film collates an invaluable collection of memories—both personal and historical—into an affecting work.