Sarajevo FF: Dealing With the Past

The Dealing with the Past programme is an additional platform for testimonies and stories that can serve as a base for developing film scripts, projects and films. The aim of the program is to initiate dialogue in the countries formed from the disintegration of former Yugoslavia and to deal with problems arising as a result of the wars in the region. As part of the “Dealing with the Past” programme, the True Stories Market was launched, the purpose of which is the presentation of stories and collected materials (personal testimonies).

Two films in this year’s programme, MAMULA ALL INCLUSIVE by Aleksandar Reljić and WAR SOUVENIRS by Georg Zeller, will have their world premieres at the 29th Sarajevo Film Festival, and both are based on stories that were presented as part of the previous editions of True Stories Market.

The “Dealing with the Past” programme will also host 20 young people from the Western Balkans region as part of the “In Youth Eyes” section, which includes a series of panel discussions, closed conversations and debates on peace activism and reconciliation practices. That part of the programme was organized in cooperation with The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, The Civic Forum for Peace Service – ForumZFD and The PRO-future project of the US Agency for International Development.

The Dealing with the Past programme is supported by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES).


Serbia, France, Croatia, Montenegro, Qatar, 2022, 94 min.
Director: Mila Turajlić

CINÉ-GUERRILLAS: SCENES FROM THE LABUDOVIĆ REELS is a feature-length documentary that take us on an archival road trip through the birth of the Third World project, based on unseen 35mm materials filmed by Stevan Labudović, the cameraman of Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito. The film plunges us into the media battle that played out during the Algerian War of Independence, where cinema was mobilised as a weapon of political struggle against colonialism. Together with NON-ALIGNED, the film forms a documentary diptych.

Poland, Israel, Germany, 2023, Colour, 99 min.
Director: Asaf Saban
Cast: Yoav Bavly, Neomi Harari, Leib Lev Levin, Ezra Dagan, Alma Dishy

Three Israeli high-school friends take part in class trip visiting Holocaust sites in Poland – their last time together before going into the army. During the trip, shy Frisch, aspiring artist Nitzan, and class heartthrob Ido deal with issues of love, friendship, and politics against the backdrop of concentration camps and memorial sites. This journey will change them forever.

France, Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2023, 110 min.
Director: Jean-Gabriel Périot

The Siege of Sarajevo lasted from April 1992 to February 1996. Young men were called up to protect their city; a few of them took along their video cameras to face the violence they witnessed throughout those gruelling 1,425 days. Now, thirty years later, they show us their films and share their wartime filming experiences and thoughts on cinema as a means of survival and resistance.

Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, 58 min.
Director: Aleksandar Reljić

Ivo Marković, a surviving former inmate of the Mamula prison camp, opposed the decision of Montenegro’s government to build a luxury hotel at the location of a World War II prison camp where countless civilians suffered.

SOUVENIRS OF WAR – World Premiere
Italy, 2023, 75 min.
Director: Georg Zeller

When does a war come to its end? SOUVENIRS OF WAR takes us on a reflective trip around Bosnia and Herzegovina more than two decades after the country was the site of the first post-World War II armed conflict in Europe, where many sites of genuine sorrow have been turned into tourist attractions. A walk along the fine line between dark tourism and an empathetic culture of remembrance, where some enjoy playing war games on the battlefields of a real conflict, while others struggle with turning their very real traumatic legacy into an opportunity.

North Macedonia, Belgium, Slovenia, Denmark, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2022, 95 min.
Director: Teona Strugar Mitevska
Cast: Jelena Kordić, Adnan Omerović, Labina Mitevska, Ana Kostovska, Ksenija Marinković, Izudin Bajrović, Irma Alimanović, Vedrana Boinović, Mona Muratović, Nikolina Kujača, Siniša Vidović, Kemal Rizvanović

Asja, a forty-year-old single woman, lives in Sarajevo. In order to meet new people, she ends up spending her Saturday at a speed-dating event. She’s matched with Zoran, a forty-three-year-old banker. However, Zoran is looking not for love but for forgiveness.

Italy, 2022, 98 min.
Director: Mark Cousins
Cast: Alba Rohrwacher

Through little-seen archives and his characteristically cinematic analysis, Mark Cousins narrates the ascent of fascism in Italy and its fallout across 1930s Europe. At once essay film and historical document, the film contextualises history through the now, holding up a mirror to a political landscape of a creeping far right and manipulated media.

Croatia, Serbia, 2022, 104 min.
Director: Andrija Mardešić, David Kapac
Cast: Miki Manojlović, Ivana Roščić, Goran Bogdan, Roko Sikavica, Kaja Šišmanović

Yugoslavia, late 1980s. A family welcomes their beloved uncle, who is coming home for the holidays from Germany. The joyful Christmas lunch is interrupted by a smartphone ringing. It becomes clear it’s not the 1980s, it’s not Christmastime, and it is not just the festive turkey that can be cut with a knife, but the tension as well.

The 29th Sarajevo Film Festival will take place from 11th to 18th of August 2023.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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