SFF: Dealing with the Past Program

From 19th to 25th of November, Sarajevo Film Festival and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dialogue Southeast Europe hosted the special edition of "Dealing with the Past“ program to continue the cooperation for the 27th edition of the renowned film festival traditionally held in August.

This stand-alone, unique program version is free of charge and was available for Sarajevo residents in Meeting Point Cinema and to the audiences region-wide via Cinema view-on-demand online platform. Sarajevo Film Festival founded the "Dealing with the Past” program in 2016 to initiate honest dialogue on the recent events from our region's past. That is a precondition for resolving the challenges emanating from the most recent wars of former Yugoslavia, which irreversibly affected all of our societies. In the last five years, this program has shown exceptionally painful yet inspiring stories from worldwide.

The Dealing with the Past program 2021 featured some of the most prominent documentary achievements from the world that deal with the past and its interpretation. Six movies were available for viewing online and in-person: "An X-Ray of a Family "(directress: Firouzeh Khosrovani, winner of the Best Movie Award at International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam), "The Voice of Ahmad "(direction: Ram Loevy, David Ofek, Shadi Habib Allah, Doron Djerassi, Noam Kaplan, Dan Geva, Mamdooh Afdile, Iddo Soskolne), "Reconciliation "(directress: Marija Zidar), "Landscapes of Resistance" (directress: Marta Popivoda, winner of the Heart of Sarajevo Award for Best Documentary Film at 27th Sarajevo Film Festival), "Town of Glory" (director: Dimitry Bogolyubov) and "Our mothers" (director: César Díaz and one movie was available only in Meeting Point Cinema, Jonas Poher Rasmussen's "Flee," which received an Oscar nomination.

In addition to these outstanding documentaries, the program featured live Q&A sessions with all the movie directors featured in the program, as well as two insightful panel discussions on the topics "What do memories say about our past?" and "What reconciliation means to me?". The first panel discussion, which also served as the official opening of the program, hosted inputs from Firouzeh Khosrovani (award-winning directress of the film "An X-Ray of a Family"), Dragan Markovina (historian), and Dr. Ralf Melzer (Director FES SEE). The program officially closed with the second panel discussion, following the screening of the movie Reconciliation, with Marija Zidar (directress of the film Reconciliation), Denis Haračić (visual artist), and Ajna Jusić (activist) as panelists. Both discussions were moderated by journalist and activist Hana Sokolović.

An integral part of the Dealing with the Past program is also the invitation to youngsters from all over the region to join the program's educational component, and this year was no exception. Young people from across the Western Balkans met in Sarajevo to exchange their opinions and experiences on dealing with the past and how it affects their present. They participated in lectures, visited landmarks and museums in Sarajevo, including the "War Childhood Museum," and joined the screenings and panel discussions open to all interested audiences. One of the participants of the program documented his experiences and shared them with us in this video: https://youtu.be/FOx2LVl_IYY (Video author: Gojko Dimić).


Each year, the Dealing with the Past program ensures a rich and insightful learning and sharing experience for all interested individuals. While addressing the difficulties of the past is no easy task, it is necessary for a peaceful present and better future. Therefore, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dialogue Southeast Europe continues to support Sarajevo Film Festival and the Dealing with the Past program, and we are looking forward to the 28th Festival edition in 2022.

Dialogue Southeast Europe

Kupreška 20, 71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia and Herzegovina

+387 33 711 540
+387 33 711 541

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