SARAJEVO, August 13 (FENA) – Last year’s experience of the Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF), when the film festival took place online, was very valuable because we kept in touch with all film lovers, said SFF Director Mirsad Purivatra in an interview with FENA.
The online edition was significant, he notes, because part of that experience will be applied at this year’s Festival as a hybrid edition in which the organizers prepared to achieve the basic goal, and that is to return the audience to the cinema.
“We have done everything to make the number of films and number of locations at SFF at least as it was in 2019, yet this year films will be screened at even a larger number of locations. But all this will be organized in compliance with the epidemiological measures introduced due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Purivatra added.
This is exactly the reason why part of the Festival will be in an online form and it will be the one related to the film industry.
Due to the fact that guests will come to Sarajevo and that a large number of people will return to cinemas, Purivatra expects the return of the traditional festival atmosphere to the city, especially because everyone can’t wait to return to the cinema and the authors want to talk to the audience.
This year’s edition of SFF will bring several new programs, and one of them is TV Series for which the Heart of Sarajevo award will also be given in six categories: Best Drama Series, Best Comedy, Best Series Creator(s), Best Actress, Best Actor, and Rising Star.
Purivatra notes that a few years ago, SFF began to seriously engage in the presentation of TV production in the region through the Avant Premiere Program when new series were presented, i.e. two episodes of the series that are yet to be shown.
This year, the program will be realized for the first time, and about 400 people from the field of audio-visual production have been invited to vote for the best series shown in the past two years.
The Competition Program – Documentary will include 16 films this year, eight of which will have their world premiere in Sarajevo, one European, six regional premieres and one Bosnian and Herzegovinian premiere.
Purivatra expressed satisfaction because the Federal News Agency (FENA) is the media sponsor of this year’s Competition Program – Documentary Film, especially because this region has so many untold stories and it is a pity that they are no longer on the big screen.
“Film is a medium that presents these stories to a wider range of viewers and enables conversation about these topics, and this year the programmer Rada Šešić has prepared an excellent program within which films from the entire region dealing with various topics will be shown. This is one of the most important programs of the Festival for us,” says Purivatra.
That program, Purivatra notes, is partly related to the “Dealing with the Past” project, which also shows films about history and topics that need to be discussed.
The festival took on the role of presenting such stories about ten years ago, which is why it is extremely important, says Purivatra, to have a quality program and partners who will promote the program more widely, through the media to their consumers.
This 27th edition of SFF will be visited by many renowned filmmakers, and Purivatra singled out the director and one of the greatest names of film art Wim Wenders who was also the inspiration to organize the Festival and enter into film production projects.
Several of his films will be screened as part of the Festival and he is bringing a renewed digital copy of the film he worked with Bono Vox “Million Dollar Hotel” and will also hold a masterclass.
Festival Director Mirsad Purivatra also commented on the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on the BiH film industry, saying that they are not negligible, primarily because the budgets for the Sarajevo Film Fund of four million KM have been cut by more than 50 percent.
“Production was almost completely stopped during the pandemic, and only small attempts of short films were made. Danis Tanović’s film “Ten in a Half”, which will open this year’s Festival, was made on a professional level. It was done by a great team that was happy because they could reunite on the set,” says Purivatra.
He notes that in about 120 days, the film was shot, edited and post-produced, which is almost impossible, but the desire to open the Festival prevailed, Purivatra said.
However, he emphasizes that without a systemic solution to the problem through the Film Fund of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the adoption of incentives at the cantonal level, but also the systematic development of projects, including TV series, it is difficult to see the future of BiH cinematography and people’s determination to stay in business.
“It is difficult to be a film professional if you have one job during the year, but if you have the continuity of many people, young people will decide to enter that business and stay in BiH. The festival is trying to point this out and lobby in front of all levels of government because UNESCO has also recognized Sarajevo as a city of film. There is a lot of potential, but unfortunately I do not see that politics has recognized the potential of the creative industry and, above all, the film industry,” concluded SFF Director Mirsad Purivatra in an interview for FENA.