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28th Sarajevo Film Festival awards; Juraj Lerotić’s Safe Place wins big

On the heels of garnering great success at the 75th Locarno Film Festival, director Juraj Lerotić’s debut feature Safe Place triumphs at the 28th Sarajevo Film Festival, taking home the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Film in the Feature Film competition; director Juraj Lerotić also wins the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Actor, while the film scoops up the CICAE Award offered by the International Confederation of Arthouse Cinemas for Best Film in the Feature Film competition, as well as the Cineuropa Prize of the eponymous web portal devoted to European cinema and its creators. Other Croatian titles also win Heart of Sarajevo awards in documentary and student categories, as well as receiving special recognitions and prizes.

The awards in the Feature Film category were decided by a jury consisting of Austrian director and screenwriter Sebastian Meise, French director, screenwriter and producer Lucile Hadžihalilović, Croatian director and screenwriter Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović, Serbian actor Milan Marić and Israeli producer Katriel Schory. The jury explained their decision to award the Heart of Sarajevo to Safe Place with the following words, ‘Characters that break your heart. A story that is as simple as it is complex. It draws us in from the first frame, fills us with slowly growing and inevitable despair, and leaves us feeling confused. With stylistic precision and impeccable direction, this film depicts a society insensitive to other people’s pain.’

The Heart of Sarajevo for Best Actor went to Juraj Lerotić ‘for embodying the portrait of a warm and caring character in the touching and personal role of the brother’.

Safe Place also took home the CICAE Award and the Cineuropa portal prize. The film was produced by Pipser, directed and written by Juraj Lerotić, who also stars in the film, with Goran Marković and Snježana Sinovčić Šiškov in other leading roles. The producer of the film is Miljenka Čogelja.

The Heart of Sarajevo for Best Documentary went to Srđan Keča’s Museum of the Revolution, who was also the producer on the project for Uzrok, alongside Vanja Jambrović (Restart), in partnership with co-producers Lukás Kokes (Czech company Nutprodukce), Croatian Radiotelevision and Al Jazeera Documentary Channel (Qatar). The winner in the documentary competition was decided by a jury comprised of Hilal Baydarov (director, Azerbaijan), Salomé Jashi (director, Georgia) and Margje de Koning (artistic director of festival Movies that Matter, the Netherlands). 

The Heart of Sarajevo for Best Student Film was awarded to It’s Not Cold for Mosquitoes directed by Josip Lukić and Klara Šovagović (ADU), while a jury Special Mention for short documentary went to Babajanja directed by Ante Zlatko Stolica and produced by Tibor Keser and Vanja Jambrović (Restart).

Vedrana Pribačić and Mirta Puhlovski’s documentary feature Bigger Than Trauma took home the Human Rights Award. The film’s producer is Mirta Puhlovski for Metar60. The Human Rights Award is given to the best film in the Documentary competition that deals with the subject of human rights.

Earlier last week, the Hearts of Sarajevo were awarded in the TV Series competition. Creators Ankica Jurić Tilić and Dalibor Matanić’s The Last Socialist Artefact won the Heart of Sarajevo as the Best Drama Series in the region, while the show also garnered four other Heart of Sarajevo awards in the drama series category.

Croatian projects also took home prizes from the 20th CineLink Industry Days event. Mate Ugrin’s debut fiction feature project Petty Thieves, developed at the German production company Fünferfilm, with co-production partners from France (In The Cut) and Croatia (UO Kadromat), took away the ARTEKino International prize, while Dubravka Turić and Danijel Žeželj’s project Rumpus, a Kinorama production, received the Croatian Audiovisual Centre Drama Award for further project development. The full list of award-winning titles is available on this link, while more information about Sarajevo Film Festival may be found on the festival’s official website.

Cover photograph: Safe Place film crew

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