Sarajevo Film Festival: Dealing with the Past / Present

From the 11th to the 17th of February, Sarajevo was home to the special edition of the Sarajevo Film Festival titled Dealing with the Past / Present. Together with Sarajevo Film Festival and partners Pro-Future (USAID Project), Catholic Relief Services, and Forum Ziviler Friedendienst, FES SOE co-hosted two programs for youngsters in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans.

Two film tickets being held in empty cinema in front of banner announcing an upcoming film.

Credits: FES SOE / Slobodan Blagovčanin

Panel discussion with three female panelists (L-R) Daniela Sepehri, Vesi Vuković, Hana Sokolović.

Panel discussion "Women, Art, Freedom" Credits: FES SOE

Dr. Ralf Melzer (FES SOE Director) in cinema, announcing movie program.

Credits: Sarajevo Film Festival

Panel discussion after film screening. Behind the speakers, film screen shows announcement for film "Where is Ana Frank?". The panel has two speakers Asja Krsmanović (L) and Igor Benacion Kožemjakin (R).

Guided conversation with Igor Benacion Kožemjakin, Hazan of the Jewish community in Sarajevo Credits: Sarajevo Film Festival

Giving away the True Stories Market 2022 Award in cinema, image shows Maša Marković (L), Vesi Vuković - award recipient (M) and Dr. Ralf Melzer (R).

True Stories Market Award Ceremony Credits: FES SOE

The first group of youngsters joined us for two days and came from Stolac. It was a group of high schoolers from "Stolac" high school, which is, unfortunately, a part of the "two schools under one roof" system, which strengthen divisions among youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, entirely against the divisive circumstances, the youngsters that joined us, and their supportive professors, eagerly participated in the Dealing with the Past / Present program that was created for them.

Their program included the movie "Where is Ana Frank?" (Ari Folman), that was followed by guided conversation with Igor Benacion Kožemjakin, hazan of the Jewish community in Sarajevo. In addition, the youngsters attended several guided tours.

Here is how they described their experience:

Participation in the project "Dealing with the Past / Present" was one of the nicer experiences we got to enjoy. Two-day activities included visits to the War Childhood Museum, a guided historical tour of Sarajevo, a screening of the movie "Where is Ana Frank, "and a visit to the Jewish Museum of B&H. We were particularly moved by the stories of war-time children kept in the War Childhood Museum. The city tour was also fascinating, thanks to the amazing guide we had. After that, in Meeting Point, we saw the movie screening and talked about the movie with Mr. Igor. Throughout the conversation, we learned a lot about the status of Jews throughout history and today. On the second day, we started with a visit to the Jewish Museum, and the rest of our free time we spent together. We are grateful to Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dialogue SOE for the opportunity to participate in this project and look forward to future activities." (Lamija Obradović and Emina Sidran, II G)

For the second part of the Dealing with the Past / Present program, we welcomed program alums from several previous editions that took place during the summer edition of the Sarajevo Film Festival, which is well-known worldwide. This part of the program featured movies “Nelly and Nadine”, "The new greatness case," "Born in Evin," "Turn your body to the Sun," "Holy Spider," and "The Wire," with inspirational online and in-person Q&As with directors like Tiha Gudac, Magnus Gertten, Anna Shishova, Aliona van der Horst and Maryam Zaree. The alums also got to participate in several workshops and cinema talks, to help them understand and learn the roles of different societal actors and cultural and religious beliefs in remembrance of and dealing with the Past / Present.

The program's leading event focused on a very salient topic, "Women, art and freedom," with reflections on the political situation and Iran with Daniela Sepehri and Vesi Vuković and moderated by Hana Sokolović. This event was also used as an opportunity to present Vesi Vuković with a 10 000€ award for True Stories Market 2022, which will help her film idea come to fruition on screen.

For us, the 29th edition of the Sarajevo Film Festival has already started, but there is so much more to look forward to in August this year – and we hope to see you then.

Dialogue Southeast Europe

Kupreška 20, 71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia and Herzegovina

+387 33 711 540
+387 33 711 541

Team & Contact

Subscribe to our mailing list and receive our publications as soon as they are available: send us your contact info via info.soe(at)fes.de