PRESENTED BY:   

VOICE OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, INC.

  WITH SUPPORT BY:  

© 2017 Academy of Bosnia and Herzegovina Inc. | Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival

2018 program was incredibly diverse and tackled a number of important social and cultural themes, from economic precarity, international refugee crisis, gender discrimination, to the ongoing efforts to come to terms with the legacies of the war. We are delighted to have featured the work of innovative young filmmakers alongside established regional names such as directors Aida Begić and Alen Drljevic, or legendary actor Emir Hadžihafizbegović.

AFA THEATRE PRESENTATION 1

Winter Sun | Two Schools
 

PROGRAMMERS' NOTES:

This presentation features two socially engaged documentaries that address some of the most pressing issues facing contemporary Bosnia-Herzegovina. In Winter Sun, a hybrid documentary, we get a touching and intimate look at the life of an elderly couple facing a daunting healthcare system. In Two Schools, we encounter high school students in Travnik attending two different schools adjacent to one another, yet divided along ethnic lines.

Screening Time:

 Wednesday - April11, 2018   6:30 PM 

WINTER SUN

(Zimsko sunce)

2017 | Pilar Palomero | 37 min

Short Documentary
 INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE 

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.

TWO SCHOOLS

(Dvije škole)

2017 | Srđan Šarenac | 43 min

Documentary
U.S. PREMIERE 

 

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.

Followed by Panel Discussion

AFA THEATRE PRESENTATION 2

Undercovered 

Screening Time:

 Wednesday - April 11, 2018

 8:15 PM 

PROGRAMMERS' NOTES: 

This screening and panel discussion features a thought-provoking documentary Undercovered, made by Nejra Latić Hulusić and Sabrina Begović Ćorić, which probes the question of why some young Bosnian Muslim women decide to wear a headscarf. By giving them a platform to articulate their own motivations and opinions, the documentary challenges standard assumptions about Muslim women and their agency, and well as considers the possibility of the headscarf carrying an emancipatory potential. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion that will build on the themes addressed in the film.

UNDERCOVERED

2017 | Nejra Latić Hulusić,

Sabrina Begović Ćorić | 53 min

Documentary
U.S. PREMIERE 

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.

 Followed by Panel Discussion 

SVA THEATRE PRESENTATION 1

Pink Elephant | Stalemate | Great Wall of China

PROGRAMMERS' NOTES: 

This screening block features three short narrative films, each focusing on family issues in their own unique way. Pink Elephant offers a humorous take on one family’s struggle to really know one another, while Stalemate focuses on a game of chess between a father as soon, through which they negotiate their troubled relationship. Great Wall of China offers us a snippet of family life in contemporary Bosnia, where many young people are looking to leave the country in search of better opportunities elsewhere.

Screening Time:

 Thursday - April 12, 2018

 7:00 PM 

PINK ELEPHANT

2017 | Ado Hasanović | 17 min

Short Fiction

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?

STALEMATE

2017 | Amir Karagić | 13 min

Short Narrative

NYC PREMIERE 

Mike, a middle aged chef from Amsterdam sits down to a game of chess with his estranged millennial son. A power battle ensues.

GREAT WALL OF CHINA

(Kineski zid)

2017 | Aleksandra Odić | 36 Minutes

Short Narrative

U.S. PREMIERE 

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.

SVA THEATRE PRESENTATION 2

 Nothing but the Wind 

PROGRAMMERS' NOTES: 

Nothing but the Wind offers a touching and delicate look at the emotional journey of a Bosnian man orphaned during the war and living in Sweden, who returns to Bosnia to bury his parents’ remains after they are finally identified some twenty years after the war. This moving portrayal touches on the important themes of postwar healing, closure, memory, as well as exile from, and return to what used to be known as “home.”

Screening Time:

 Thursday - April 12, 2018

 8:45 PM 

NOTHING BUT THE WIND

(Ništa, samo vjetar)

2017 | Timur Makarević | 87 min

Narrative Feature

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.

SVA THEATRE PRESENTATION 3

 To be far | Never Leave Me 

PROGRAMMERS' NOTES: 

This presentation features films by two women filmmakers, one Bosnian, the other Iranian, which focus on the same issue--the Syrian refugee crisis. Aida Begić’s latest film, Never Leave Me, tackles the theme by following a group of young Syrian children as they try to overcome their war trauma and adjust to refugee life in Turkey. For this socially important, deeply moving and timely film, Begić worked with non-professional child actors displaced from Syria. The short documentary To Be Far, directed by Iran’s Samira Kameli, addresses the same crisis by visiting a refugee center in Bosnia.

Screening Time:

 Friday - April 13, 2018

 6:30 PM

TO BE FAR

(Biti daleko)

2017 | Samira Kameli, Sajra Subašić | 9 min

Short Documentary
 INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE 

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.

NEVER LEAVE ME

(Bırakma Beni)

2017 | Aida Begić | 97 min

Documentary

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.

 Followed by Q&A with: 

 director Aida Begić 

SVA THEATRE PRESENTATION 4

 Men Don't Cry 

PROGRAMMERS' NOTES: 

Alen Drljević’s feature narrative debut, Men Don’t Cry, offers an unflinching look at one of the most troubling consequences of the war: the long-term psychological trauma of war veterans, and the social stigma placed on their wounded masculinity. Based on the true story of former soldiers from all ethnic sides coming together to participate in drama workshops and share their war traumas with one another, the film assembles a stellar cast of regional actors who all give powerhouse performances.

Screening Time:

 Friday - April 13, 2018

 9:30 PM

MEN DON'T CRY

(Muškarci ne plaču)

2017 | Alen Drljević | 98 Minutes

Feature Narrative

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.

 Followed by Q&A with: 

 director Alen Drljević and actor Emir Hadžihafizbegović 

SVA THEATRE PRESENTATION 5

 Hedgehog's Home | Birds Like us 

PROGRAMMERS' NOTES: 

In this family-friendly presentation we feature two animated films. The short, Hedgehog’s Home, is based on one of the most beloved Bosnian children’s books, Ježeva kućica, written by Branko Ćopić. It uses inventive stop-motion to bring the story of the wise Hedgehog to life. As Bosnia’s first ever animated feature, Birds Like Us represents a significant milestone for local filmmaking. It features a moving narrative about a community of birds fighting against tyranny, a story that will resonate with both young and adult audiences.

Screening Time:

 Saturday - April 14, 2018

 3:30 PM 

HEDGEHOG'S HOME

(Ježeva kućica)

2017 | Eva Cvijanović | 10 min

Animated Short

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

Animated Feature

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. 

PROGRAMMERS' NOTES: 

The Frog offers an intensely emotional portrayal of an encounter between several men in a barber shop, where unresolved family issues and war wounds bubble up to the surface. Featuring a tour de force performance by Emir Hadžihafizbegović, The Frog is an insightful study of PTSD, masculinity, as well as the social hardships facing Bosnia’s present. The screening will be accompanied by a short documentary Što te nema -- Boston, which chronicles Aida Šehović’s nomadic memorial commemorating the victims of the Srebrenica genocide, as it is being staged in Boston.  

SVA THEATRE PRESENTATION 6

 Što te nema - Boston | The Frog 

Screening Time:

 Saturday - April 14, 2018

 6:00 PM

ŠTO TE NEMA - BOSTON

2018 | Rialda Zukić  | 8 min

Short Documentary

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.

THE FROG

(Žaba)

2017 | Elmir Jukić | 78 Minutes

Feature Narrative

U.S. PREMIERE 

 

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.

 Followed by Q&A with: 

 producer Ademir Kenović, Emir Hadžihafizbegović and director Elmir Jukić 

PROGRAMMERS' NOTES: 

For our final screening, we continue the tradition of closing BHFF with a “music documentary.” This year, Scream for Me Sarajevo offers a compelling recounting of Bruce Dickinson's (Iron Maiden) now legendary concert in Sarajevo under siege. First hand accounts from the concert organizers, concert goers, band members, as well as from Dickinson himself, provide an engaging oral history of the event, as well as give new insight into the life of Sarajevans during wartime.

SVA THEATRE PRESENTATION 7

 Scream for Me Sarajevo 

Screening Time:

 Saturday - April 14, 2018

 8:45 PM

SCREAM FOR ME SARAJEVO

2017 | Tarik Hodžić | 95 min

Documentary

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.

 Followed by

Festival Closing

Ceremony