18.08.2023

29th Sarajevo Film Festival: Dealing with the Past

With the end of the 29th edition of the Sarajevo Film Festival, another edition of the "Dealing with the Past" program was closed. This year, the program included screening eight films and additional workshops, tours, and educational talks for young people from the Western Balkans.

© FES SOE

© FES SOE

© FES SOE

© FES SOE

© FES SOE

© FES SOE

For the third year in a row, the Dealing with the Past program organizers are the Sarajevo Film Festival and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation - Dialogue for Southeast Europe, in cooperation with the USAID Pro-Future program and the Zivilerfriedensdienst Forum.

The program this year was attended by 20 young people from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia. The program's goal was to provide a safe space for young people to talk and question the narratives of the region's past and to strengthen their critical thinking and desire for mutual cooperation. Joint workshops of the Dealing with the Past and Human Rights Day programs were held for the first time.

Young people had a unique opportunity to talk with directors Aleksandar Reljić (Mamula), Tamara Milaš (Mamula), Vladimir Perišić (Lost Country), Milo Turajlić (Cine Guerrillas), Andrija Mardešić (Uncle), David Kapac (Uncle), and the screenwriter Elma Tataragić (The Happiest Man in the World). They also got acquainted with the Archipelago project, a platform of archival materials for public spaces in the post-Yugoslav area. It summarizes different collections of war documents in one place. This unique archive provides a multi-perspective view of recent events in the region.

Also, the young participants of the program visited the modern art exhibition Art War / Slaven Tolj about war and memory with curator Lejla Hodžić and attended the workshops "Why does the past matter?" with Nicolas Moll, the panel discussion "Is the future female?" and the workshop "Storytelling: new forms for new generations - nurturing curiosity and creativity". They also visited the Historical Museum in Sarajevo, had an educational conversation with Eli Tauber, president of the Jewish community, and participated in recording the regional show "Perspective".

Such a diverse and detailed program aims to provide new and innovative ways of informing about the past, discuss different forms of dealing with the past, and question the existing ways the region is currently (not) addressing these topics. All these goals are achieved through art as a way of improving dialogue in society, critical awareness, and awareness of the need for a culture of memory that will contribute to the permanent building of peace in the countries of the Western Balkans.

In addition to educational content, the Sarajevo Film Festival hosted the True Stories Market. This program feature is a space to present new ideas, or stories, about wars in the Western Balkans in the 1990s. The True Stories Market aims to provide a platform for filmmakers who will recognize the key emotional themes needed to contribute to true understanding and healing among the populations of these countries. Friedrich Ebert Foundation – Dialogue Southeast Europe supported the True Stories Market award fund of 10,000.00€ for the second time, which will be directed towards creating a film out of one of the story pitches at the True Stories Market. Last year's award winner, director Vesi Vuković, joined the promotion.

The Sarajevo Film Festival and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation - Dialogue for Southeast Europe have also announced the continuation of their collaboration on the Dealing with the Past program, with the hope that each subsequent edition will be more successful than the previous one. Already this weekend, they are traveling together to the Rab Film Festival, where they will be screening "The Happiest Man in the World".

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Dialogue Southeast Europe

Kupreška 20, 71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia and Herzegovina

+387 33 711 540
+387 33 711 541
info.soe(at)fes.de

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