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Two Hearts of Sarajevo to Croatian Films!

Two out of three main awards of the 20th anniversary edition of Sarajevo Film festival went to Croatian entries: the best short fiction film is The Chicken by Una Gunjak, and the best documentary film is Naked Island by Tiha K. Gudac. A special mention in documentary competition went to Happily Ever After by Tatjana Božić, whereas industry programmes gave their awards to A Two Way Mirror by Katarina Zrinka Matijević Veličan and Our Everyday Life by Ines Tanović.

After the world premiere at the 67th Cannes Critics’ Week in May and the successful festival tour, The Chicken’s Heart of Sarajevo in the short competition marks a great beginning to the regional festival life by returning to Sarajevo – this film’s plot takes place precisely in Sarajevo, in the wartime 1990s. It was almost entirely filmed in Zagreb as a German-Croatian co-production. The film was written and directed by Una Gunjak, a Sarajevo-born London-based director. The Croatian co-producer is Siniša Juričić from Nukleus film and the film was co-funded by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.

Both awards in the international documentary competition went to the Croatian production company Factum. The Heart of Sarajevo for best film went to Tiha K. Gudac, a graduated producer from the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Art, for her feature debut Naked Island, in which she reveals her family’s political past and a jury’s special mention also went to another biopic, Tatjana Božić’s Happily Ever After, a Dutch-Croatian co-production which premiered in January in the official competition of the prestigious International Rotterdam Film Festival. Both films were subsidised by HAVC.

In parallel with the film programmes, SFF as usual organised a rich industry segment. Among its award-winners there are also Croatian titles. The Docu Rough Cut Boutique development programme presented the Croatian Television Award to the documentary project A Two Way Mirror by Katarina Zrinka Matijević Veličan – as this too is a Factum project, this company can boast three of Sarajevo’s awards this year. The (co-)producer of all three films is Nenad Puhovski. The programme CineLink Work In Progress gave its Restart Award to the Bosnian-Slovenian-Croatian project Our Everyday Life by Ines Tanović (Croatian co-producer is Zdenka Gold from Spiritus Movens).

The central feature fiction competition gave the Heart of Sarajevo to the Turkish-French-German film Song of My Mother by Erol Mintaş. The jury gave a special mention to the Georgian-French film Brides by Tinatin Kajrishvili, and the best actors awards went to these two films as well – Mari Kitia (Brides) and Feyyaz Duman (Song of My Mother). The same programme included the minority Croatian co-production Cure – The Life of Another by Andrea Štaka, which premiered last week in the competition of the 67th Locarno Film Festival. The anniversary edition of Sarajevo Film Festival showed a total of over 20 Croatian films, presented many projects in development, and the Talents Sarajevo educational programme included eight young Croatian filmmakers.

Detailed information on all the awards and films of the 20th Sarajevo are available on the official website. The Chicken press kit can be downloaded on this link, and the Naked Island and Happily Ever After press kits are available here.

Title photos: Naked Island; Tiha K. Gudac; Nenad Puhovski; The Chicken; Happily Ever After; the SFF closing ceremony (photo: SFF, HAVC)

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