Report by Hana Slak (SCREENS)
Sarajevo Film Festival is one of the most interesting and inspiring festivals in Europe, because of it's history of cultural resistance during the siege of Sarajevo, and because of what the Festival still represents to the city of Sarajevo and its inhabitants today. It is something that each invited filmmaker or industry professional discovers upon the first visit to the Festival, and the reason why so many choose to return, making it one of the most prominent industry events in the summer (comfortably placed just after Locarno and before Venice).
The Documentary Film Competition features a handpicked selection of short and feature length documentaries which are either produced or co-produced in the region, or made by filmmakers or on subjects concerning the region (the region in this case stretching from Austria to Georgia, from Hungary to Greece). Our short documentary film SCREENS is a German – Bosnian co-production and we were thrilled to be invited to celebrate the world premiere in Sarajevo.
The organization was excellent, not only as far as accreditations, hotel and helping understand the many festival venues, but also a very precise and surprisingly rich PR schedule, with radio and TV interviews lined up, a sold-out screening and an additional Q&A event the day after the screening, which was also full. The posters we brought were hung by the organization and the flyers were distributed by them as well . The film was subsequently featured on Festival Scope just after the premiere and we have already received additional invitations to festivals.
There is a lot of opportunities to meet other filmmakers and decision makers or industry professionals in Sarajevo. Every day there are several meeting events for the guests of each program, as well as an evening happening for all the guests of the festival. The casual and democratic character of the Festival makes everyone very accessible: from representatives of HBO to Arte, as well as various regional or national Funds. The Festival also features a Co-Production market, a Documentary Rough Cut Boutique, and a Talent Campus.
Whatever the reason to attend the Sarajevo Film Festival, be it with a project or a finished film, and either for one of the competition programs or not, I absolutely recommend it.