27th Sarajevo Film Festival: Dealing with the Past

From 13th to 20th of August, Sarajevo was the home of the 27th installment of Sarajevo Film Festival, one of the most significant cinematic and cultural experiences of the region. As a partner of the Festival, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Dialogue Southeast Europe supported a recurring part of the Festival's program titled Dealing with the Past.

Dealing with the Past program was founded within the SFF with the purpose of facilitating a dialogue through modern film screenings. The program is a focal point for all of the difficult, but important stories that can bring light to an encompassing and respectful perspective of past events, particularly having in mind the conflicts following the break-up of former Yugoslavia.

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung supports a responsible and thorough reconciliation process, that is necessary for the development of the region, which is why we encouraged and supported development of this year's Dealing with the Past event series. Within this framework, SFF and FES SOE hosted a panel discussion “Never ending past – Why remembering?” with Dr. Ralf Melzer, FES SOE Director, Lejla Gačanica, representative of the Sarajevo Film Festival, and Florence Hartmann, award-winning journalist, author, and honorary citizen of Sarajevo. This panel discussion was moderated by Thomas Darchinger, German movie and theater actor, who is also a contributor to several projects across Germany, committed to advancing the culture of remembrance, in the context of the Holocaust and World War II.

In addition to the panel discussion, Sarajevo Film Festival and FES SOE participated in the True Stories Market, a unique segment of the Festival, that connects filmmakers with organizations and individuals who document and research the 1990s armed conflicts in the region, and bring true stories to broader audiences. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dialogue Southeast Europe helped to identify testimonials/materials/stories written by individuals or organizations, that could be used for developing a (documentary) film script, later to be realized. During the Festival program, the submissions that were chosen by the True Stories Market panel of judges were presented to the participants and other interested Festival attendees.

The joint program was concluded by a screening of “Voice of Ahmed”, a movie that brings several different takes on relationships between Israelis and Palestinians in their everyday lives. The short episodes build on the original movie “My Name is Ahmed” (1966), which was the first ever Israeli film, that featured an Arab protagonist. 50 years later, the movie was revisited by top graduates of the Sam Spiegel Film School, who created the “Voice of Ahmed”. The screening was followed by a Q&A session with the creator of the movie, Renen Schorr, and Shadi Habib Allah, who directed one of the seven “Voice of Ahmad” episodes. The session was moderated by Thomas Darchinger.

It was an honor to be a part of such an important topic within Sarajevo Film Festival, and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dialogue Southeast Europe will continue securing a dialogue that facilitates reconciliation in the region with key partners throughout the region. FES SOE will also be the Festival’s partner for the upcoming November session of the Dealing with the Past program.

Dialogue Southeast Europe

Kupreška 20, 71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia and Herzegovina

+387 33 711 540
+387 33 711 541

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