ABOUT 6TH ANNUAL BOSNIAN-HERZEGOVINIAN FILM FESTIVAL - 2009
The sixth annual Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival (BHFF) took place May 15 and 16, 2009 at Tribeca Cinemas.
Thirteen films were screened, eight of which had their U.S. premieres at BHFF, including features "Tractor, Love and Rock'n'Roll" and "Nightguards," animation "Man Still Goes to the Moon," short films "Razor," "Agape" and "1/2," and documentaries "Believers" and "If You Are Watching This, Mum."
Amongst films screened were "It's Hard to Be Nice," Bosnia and Herzegovina's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film Category of the 80th Annual Academy Awards in 2008, and "Tolerantia," the first independent short film from Bosnia and Herzegovina made using 3D animation.
These films showcase the diversity of the Bosnian diaspora and its filmmakers, whose submissions explore different themes, and come from many corners of the world: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia, Switzerland, Australia and United States.
On May 15 the festival was opened by Ambassador Ivan Barbalic, the Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations. Trained in European integration issues, Mr. Barbalic previously served in a variety of positions in international organizations, educational institutions and government. He talked about the value of BHFF and Bosnian films and his own experiences in the United States.
In addition, the festival was attended by filmmakers Igor Borovac, whose film "Turn Back South" was screened on May 15, as well as Namik Kabil, director of two films shown at the sixth annual BHFF – "Believers" and "Nightguards." After the screening of "Nightguards," a film that reflects on post-war Sarajevo through the microcosm of two watchmen discussing their worries through the night, Namik participated in a Q&A session, where he discussed "Believers" and "Nightguards," his residency at Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, and his upcoming projects.
Eleven films were nominated and over 400 votes were cast for the BHFF audience awards. The Audience Award for the Best Short or Feature Film went to "AgapE" by Slobodan Maksimovic and the Audience Award for the Best Documentary Film went to "Diagnosis S.B.H." by Enes Zlatar. "AgapE" is a short film that tells the story of a nun whose life is transformed with the arrival of broadband internet into her convent. "Diagnosis S.B.H." features interviews with musicians from Bosnia and Herzegovina and explores the issues surrounding language and identity. The winners received the "Golden Apple" awards hand-crafted by a Bosnian-American artist, Aida Šehovic.
The festival ended with a party featuring DJ Tomo, who came all the way from Frankfurt. His energetic mix of ex-Yugo classics, Bosnian ethno and gypsy music contributed to joy and dancing among a very diverse crowd.
BHFF wishes to thank all the individals who contributed both their time and funds to the success of the sixth annual BHFF, as well as the sponsors -- Djerdan Burek and General Trucking, Inc. Among media partners, BHFF also wishes to thank Radio Voice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kulporter, Radio M, Sabah, Sarajevo-X and InfoBar.
General Trucking Inc.
BHFF 2009 PROGRAM
2008 | Ivan Ramadan | 6 min
After a long sleep at the end of the last ice age, the hero of this story awakens from the ice and starts building a pyramid. Tolerantia is the first independent short film from Bosnia and Herzegovina made using 3D animation. It explores conflict and intolerance as essential components of human nature. The film received accolades at Huesca Film Festival and Sarajevo Film Festival, and was also nominated for the best short film at European Film Academy and screened at numerous film festivals in Sweden, Croatia, Slovakia, Poland, South Africa, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Italy and Turkey.
2008 | Al Mehičević | 12 min
During the global financial crisis Richard Dick Stevenson is running his private detention center in Australia. His only prisoner, an Afghani asylum seeker Jusuf, becomes his best companion. A sudden government decision to cut the funding for the center ends this unusual, unfolding relationship. In their surreal world, Richard's dream becomes Jusuf's nightmare, until reality takes them apart. The film will be screened at Short Film Corner organized by Cannes Film Festival, as well as St. Kilda Film Festival.
TRACTOR, LOVE AND ROCK 'N' ROLL
(Traktor, ljubav i Rock 'n' Roll)
2008 | Branko Đurić | 105 min
Under pressure from her father, Sylvia leaves Switzerland to go back to her village in Slovenia, in order to find herself a husband. The only record player in the village, and probably the only electric guitar in rural Slovenia of the 1960's belongs to Breza. He persuades a local folk band to accompany him while playing rock 'n' roll for Sylvia, trying to win her heart. The film is the winner of awards Taormina Film Festival and Jecheon International Music and Film Festival.
TURN BACK SOUTH
2007 | Igor Borovac | 11 min
The film tells the stories of people from Mexico who are attempting to cross the border into the United States illegally and the border patrol agents whose task it is to stop them. It exposes the struggles and the humanity on both sides and includes an interview with Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels. This documentary won the Third Place Documentary Prize at the CSU Media Arts Festival and was also screened at the South East European Film Festival, International Latino Festival, New York City Short Film Festival and others.
I DON'T DREAM IN GERMAN
(Ne sanjam na njemačkom)
2008 | Ivana Lalović | 15 min
Seventeen year old Lejla works in a hotel restaurant in Sarajevo where she meets Miloš, a 43-year old businessman who spent his student years in Sarajevo before moving to Switzerland. At nightfall, they get closer to each other without anticipating what the next morning will bring. The film won awards at festivals in Macedonia, Australia and Switzerland and was also screened in Italy, Ukraine, Slovenia, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Belgium, Turkey, Russia, France, Indonesia, Serbia and the United States.
2007 | Slobodan Maksimović | 23 min
½ of a bathtub, ½ of a shutter, ½ of a balcony… this is where Nikša lives. Only a thin wall separates him from his neighbors. Clara's everyday life starts at 4:30 in the morning when she opens the shutter, turns the radio on and starts vacuuming the apartment. All this is driving Nikša out of his mind. The film won awards at film festivals in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has also been screened at festivals in France, Macedonia, Kosovo, Greece, Italy, Morroco, Croatia, Poland, Slovenia and Chile.
2007 | Slobodan Maksimović | 20 min
In a remote convent, nuns decide to install broadband Internet access. A young nun meets a somewhat clumsy Internet installer and forbidden love finds its way into their lives. In addition to winning awards at Mediterranean Short Film Festival of Tangier, International Film and Video Festival of Beijing Film Academy, AgapE was also screened at film festivals in Croatia, Slovenia, Portugal, Turkey, Czech Republic and Macedonia.
IT'S HARD TO BE NICE
(Teško je biti fin)
2007 | Srđan Vuletić | 102 min
Fudo is a forty year-old taxi driver who wants to be good. He just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time: contemporary Sarajevo. Though he has elaborate plans to rise above his petty-criminal past, Fudo's old friends have their own plans– to bring him back for one last job. Described by Variety as "an engaging, urban fairy tale," this feature was Bosnia and Herzegovina's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film Category of the Annual Academy Awards in 2008 and a winner of prizes at the Miami Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival and MedFilm Festival
2008 | Namik Kabil | 22 min
The story of multiethnic Sarajevo today sounds like an ironic and sad stereotype because it refers to the life in Sarajevo before the war, which is largely gone. Still, there are people who go against the flow, such as members of the "Pontanima" choir who gather in a Franciscan church in a suburb of Sarajevo. The film was screened at ZagrebDox.
IF YOU ARE WATCHING THIS, MUM
(Ako ovo gledaš, mama)
2008 | Mustafa Mustafić and Dario Novalić | 27 min
In 1992, in an agreement with the Italian government, 45 children from the "Ljubica Ivezić" orphanage left the besieged Sarajevo. The idea was to take them away from the war and return them home afterwards. Fifteen years later, five of them tell their stories and reveal that they never returned, that they no longer speak their mother tongue, that they feel nostalgic, have new friends and new families, and a new homeland. The film was screened at Sarajevo Film Festival, ZagrebDox and Global Investigative Journalism Conference.
2008 | Enes Zlatar | 42 min
On the backdrop of the contemporary music scene in Bosnia Herzegovina and interviews with musicians, Enes Zlatar asks: Which language is 'our language'? Do Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian really differ? Is language identity? He explores these issues, leaving us to contemplate the political legacy of nationalism. Among others, the film was screened at the Sarajevo Film Festival, ZagrebDox and South European Film Festival.
MEN STILL GO TO THE MOON
(Ljudi još uvijek idu na mjesec)
2008 | Dragan Rokvić | 12 min
A science fiction story about returning to Sarajevo after a war. It is 2096 and the War for the Moon has just ended. When a Moon Traveler returns to Sarajevo, ghosts of his friends killed in the war will be there to meet him. A wrong look at the wrong time will make the gap between those who stayed and those who left unbridgeable. The film was screened at the Sarajevo Film Festival.
2008 | Namik Kabil | 87 min
Full of dark humor, Kabil's first dramatic feature reflects on postwar Sarajevo through the microcosm of two watchmen discussing their worries as they work through the night. Geraldina and Mahir have been married for three years and they have no children. One night, Mahir becomes convinced that he is pregnant and starts throwing up. His best friend Brizla suspects something is wrong with Mahir. The resolution comes with the morning coffee. In addition to the Venice Film Festival and International Film Festival Bratislava, the film was screened at other film festivals in Sweden, Turkey, Macedonia and Serbia.