Monday, May 4, 2015

Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival Starts May 21

The Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival starts May 21 and runs through the 23rd and its great little festival.

I was turned on to the festival last year by friend of Unseen Films Joe Bendel. Joe absolutely loves the festival. He thinks it’s the best festival most people have never heard of. To him it’s a perfect balance of great films and great people (Joe loves the organizers and the attendees). Based on my brief contact with the festival last year I have to agree, it rocks.

As I write this tickets are on sale and you should buy a whole bunch. I’m trying to work out my plans for attending the festival with Joe.

To help you decide what to see I’ve put the press release for the festival below with all the details below.


Online Tickets Sales Are Now Open!

New York City, April 2015 – The Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival (BHFF) has announced the film lineup for its twelfth annual edition. A total of 14 films will screen Thursday through Saturday, May 21-23 at Tribeca Cinemas in New York City. They include four feature films, four short films, and six documentaries.

The selection covers a broad range of subjects and includes two feature comedy dramas, Love Island and A Quintet, a crime drama Racket and an omnibus feature tribute to city of Sarajevo, The Bridges of Sarajevo, featuring renowned European filmmakers. The documentary film selection will cover topics inspired by the hundreth anniversary of World War I in Sarajevo Assassination, homecomings in Bad Blood and Pretty Village, and an analytical dissection of the final years’ work of The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on the 20th anniversary of the Dayton Accords in Seeking Truth in the Balkans. Dear Lastan! is a documentary filled with nostalgias for the days of growing up in former Yugoslavia; it is juxtaposed by the vivid imagery of childhood in wartime, presented in the award-winning short fiction film The Chicken. On the Verge is an essayistic portrait of Sarajevo and shows the city as it undergoes several changes in early 2014. Other short fiction films also included this year will address issues of family values and problems in Toy Car and Mercy, while Redemption shows the power of forgiveness.

The festival received more than 40 film submissions this year from all over the world. The films selected into the BHFF’s final program represent a wide range of talents and themes from the following countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The complete PROGRAM and TICKETS are AVAILABLE NOW at Tickets for each film block are $15. They can be purchased NOW until Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 3 p.m. ET. All films have English subtitles.

Program at a Glance:

Thursday, May 21st, 2015:
Block 1: 7:00 p.m. The Chicken | Dear Lastan!
Block 2: 9:00 p.m. Toy Car | Love Island

Friday, May 22nd, 2015:
Block 3: 7:00 p.m. Bad Blood | Pretty Village
Block 4: 9:00 p.m. On the Verge | The Bridges of Sarajevo

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015:
Block 5: 4:00 p.m. Sarajevo Assassination
Block 6: 5:00 p.m. Seeking Truth in The Balkans
Block 7: 6:30 p.m. Mercy | A Quintet
Block 8: 8:30 p.m. Redemption | Racket

Films selected to screen at the 12th Annual BHFF are eligible to win a number of honors including the Golden Apple audience and jury awards.

In 2015, the BHFF Jury consists of award-winning filmmaker and media executive Pamela Hogan and award-winning journalist Almin Karamehmedović. The BHFF will announce the third jury member in the coming days.

The jury will award the following honors to the most outstanding films: BHFF 2015 Jury Award for Best Documentary Film; BHFF 2015 Jury Award for Best Short Film and BHFF 2015 Jury Award for Best Feature Film. Films eligible for the Jury Award are all those screened at the BHFF 2015 that were produced in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

As always, the audience will select one film in any of the categories to receive the BHFF 2015 Audience Award for the Best Picture. All those attending the screening will be able to vote for the favorite film of this year’s Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival. We hope to see you at the festival!

Detailed Program:

Thursday, May 21st, 2015
The Chicken - directed by Una Gunjak
The festival kicks off on Thursday with a screening of the award-winning short film The Chicken, directed by Sarajevo-born and London-based Una Gunjak. The film is set in Sarajevo in 1993. As a present for her sixth birthday, a young girl named Selma gets a live chicken. When she realizes the animal will be sacrificed to feed the family, she decides to save it and sets it free without considering the grave consequences of her actions.
Director Una Gunjak studied film at the University of Torino and editing at the National Film and TV School in UK, where she received her Master of Arts degree.

Dear Lastan! - directed by Irena Škorić
Dear Lastan! deals with universal themes of love, life, childhood and the pains of growing up.
The most popular schoolchildren's magazine in former Yugoslavia was called “Modra Lasta” (“Blue Swallow”). In 1969, it introduced readers to Lastan, an anonymous correspondent who answered letters from children and addressed their questions about secret crushes and friendship woes. For decades Lastan was a legend and the best kept secret in journalism. This film, for the first time after almost five decades, reveals his true identity.
Director Irena Škorić graduated film and TV directing at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb, Croatia. Her films have participated and won in numerous local and international festivals.

Toy Car - directed by Muamer Čelik
Toy Car is a story of the immigrant experience, specifically that of a family from Bosnia-Herzegovina who moves to Chicago. The film shows the struggles of a Bosnian immigrant family as the husband and wife drift apart, leaving their two young kids to pick up the pieces of a broken home.
Muamer Čelik is a Bosnian film director, currently residing in Chicago.

Love Island - directed by Jasmila Žbanić
The past comes back for a young couple vacationing at a popular Adriatic seaside resort. Grebo and his very pregnant wife Liliane are enjoying a holiday, but soon meet a young woman named Flora, who will put their young marriage to the test. Past secrets cannot stay hidden for long on Love Island.
Jasmila Žbanić is an acclaimed film director from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her previous work includes Grbavica (2006), which won a Golden Bear for Best Film at the 56th Berlin International Film Festival, as well as On The Path (2010) and For Those Who Can Tell No Tales (2013).
Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Bad Blood - directed by Rialda Zukić
Filmmaker Rialda Zukić returns to her birthplace of Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina to document what her life could have been had she stayed there after the war. While in Srebrenica, she discovers that younger generations of Serbs and Bosniaks are still entrenched in the hostilities of a war long past.
Bad Blood is Rialda Zukić’s first documentary. She was drawn to eastern Bosnia after fleeing the region during the war in 1992 as a young child. She has produced work for PBS NewsHour Weekend and the Bowling Green Daily News.

Pretty Village - directed by Dave Evans
Twenty years after the end of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, concentration camp survivor Kemal Pervanić returns to his northwestern Bosnian village to find a community still at war with itself.
Extending beyond the realm of one Bosnian village near Prijedor, Pretty Village tells the universal story of the consequences of conflict on communities and friendships caught in the middle.
Director Dave Evans is an experienced film and TV director who has also worked on stage.

On the Verge - directed by Fanny Hagmeier
On the Verge is an essayistic portrait of Sarajevo. It shows personal reflections of the profound effect the city has on the filmmaker, while the city is undergoing several changes in early 2014, from the historic protests, to the historic flooding.
Director Fanny Hagmeier is a German visual artist whose work revolves around rather extreme physical experiences. She approaches her topics in a documentarian way - as authenticity and connecting close to the people is essential for her. She is fascinated about how versatile the body appears in adapting to constantly changing environments.

Bridges of Sarajevo- directed by 13 European directors
Bridges of Sarajevo is an omnibus containing 13 short films by 13 directors sewn together into one. The 13 directors are: Aida Begić, Leonardo Di Costanza, Jean-Luc Godard, Kamen Kalev, Isild Le Besco, Sergei Loznitsa, Vincenzo Marra, Ursula Meier, Vladimir Perišić, Cristi Puiu, Marc Recha, Angela Schanelec and Teresa Villaverde.
The film contemplates Sarajevo’s present and past, including the 1914-18 period and the more recent war period 1992-95.
The filmmakers explore what the city has represented in European history over the past hundred years, and what Sarajevo stands for today in Europe.

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015
Sarajevo Assassination - directed by Nedim Lončarević
On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo by young Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip. And thus began the Great War…
Paul Gradvohl, a historian specializing in Eastern European studies, travels to Sarajevo to investigate the true motives behind the assassination. In his quest for answers, Gradvohl visits the crime scene, calls upon his colleagues in Sarajevo, Belgrade, Paris and Vienna, and scrutinizes numerous archives and private footage. To uncover the hidden truths of the assassination of the heir to the Austrian Empire, Gradvohl confronts various theories and leaves no rock unturned.
Director Nedim Lončarević is a documentary filmmaker and writer.

Seeking Truth in the Balkans - directed by June Vutrano, Erin Lovall, Ian Hoban and Steve Burgess
Seeking Truth in the Balkans comes on the 20th anniversary of the Dayton Accords, which ended the bloody war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the greater region, as well as on the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.
The film explores and analyzes where things stand today in the Balkans, and if the prosecution of war criminals in the Hague has contributed as much as once hoped to peace and reconciliation within the region.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and analysts.

Mercy - directed by Benjamin Dizdarević
Mercy is a story about what happens when we are denied the freedom to do what we truly love. Eventually, our spirit breaks down and we take drastic measures to get free.
Nina, a young adolescent woman is living under pressured conditions with her father after the recent death of her mother. She begins to suffocate under the pressure and decides to do something radical in order to take the independence into her own hands.
Director Benjamin Dizdarević was born in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992 during the war and moved to Sweden at the age of two. He moved back to Sarajevo in 2011 where he started his new life as a film director.

A Quintet - directed by Ariel Shaban, Sanela Salketić, Roberto Cuzzillo, Elie Lamah and Mauro Mueller
Five up-and-coming, award-winning filmmakers with different cultural backgrounds tell five stories of people in various countries and walks of life who meet and bring down the inner walls in their lives.
Bringing their stories to the screen, this film raises questions some of us have in understanding different perspectives and perhaps trying to break prejudices we have.
The five segments take place in different regions of the world - Germany, the United States, Italy, the Balkans and Turkey - and they are all, in a way, connected to the multicultural center of Berlin, where all the filmmakers met each other for the first time at the talent forum of the Berlin International Film Festival.

Redemption - directed by Mirna Dizdarević
Redemption is defined as the action of saving or being saved from sin, error or evil.As such, it requires the efforts of those who committed sin, error or evil and those who were victims of it.
Olga and Goran, the main characters of this short film by Mirna Dizdarević, are unknowingly linked by a tragic past. One afternoon changes their neighborly relationship forever as they uncover how their lives and destinies are intertwined. Each is forced to confront their fears and grapple with the promise of redemption.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” - Mahatma Gandhi
Director Mirna Dizdarević was born in Sarajevo in 1992, and studied film directing at the Sarajevo Film Academy.

Racket - directed by Almir Buljugić
Racket deals with life and corruption in today’s Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Amil Pašić comes back to Sarajevo for the first time in a year to visit his father Mufid. Amil finds that local authorities are not doing enough to protect his father from a local criminal, so he decides to take things into his own hands.
Director Admir Buljugić is a Sarajevo native. He studied film directing at Columbia College in Chicago, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Racket is his feature debut.
For more information, please visit the official BHFF website.

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